Sunday, April 24, 2022


There's an ancient apple tree overhanging the sloping roof of the garden shed. It's like a hen that's too old to lay eggs. I was planning to climb onto the roof of the shed with the chainsaw and take it down, one piece at a time, before a storm takes it down for me. Today it's the first really warm day of spring and I'm out doing heavy work, so I figured, why not have a go at doing it from ground level? In my mind, it was of smaller diameter than it is in real life. I nearly changed my mind when I saw how thick it was and how many knots the trunk has. Knots are really tough to saw through. I sharpened the large chainsaw, oiled it up and started cutting.
I knew which way I wanted it to land. As I could see my cut widening, I knew the thickest part would land near the edge of the sloping roof. I was worried it might go right through the roof. What to do? What to do? In the shed there are some thick foam cushions for the big deck chairs. I positioned them on the roof right under the main pressure point. Then I got a twelve-foot aluminum ladder and lay it on the roof beside the cushions. I figured it would act as a giant snowshoe. Then I got a length of rope and tied the upper trunk off, tying the other end to a pine tree. I figured if it started to crack, I'd guide it in the right direction by pulling on the rope. Let me tell you, it worked like a charm.
The tree came gently down onto the roof and balanced on the foam cushions. I didn't even need the rope. I just stood behind the tree trunk and wished I had my iPad with me to film the descent. There I was, telling myself I'd chosen a poor angle to cut and wondering if I should start over with a brand new cut (never a good idea because multiple cuts greatly increase the unpredictability of the descent) but it was like that apple tree was skydiving. Apple wood is wonderful for burning in a wood stove. It's fragrant, burns hot, and - at least in this case - it's free. And now, if you will excuse me, I'll go and retrieve the ladder from the roof.

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