Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Tree Fellers

Apologies for the subject line - please feel free to insert you favourite cod-Oirish joke here and yes, there were only two of them. I have mentioned in previous posts that we had a plan to get the three big Black Spruce trees on our front lawn taken down; the three trees we fear most likely to fall on the house when some 'cousin' of Storm Desmond comes rattling through from the SW. I had warned you to listen out for shouts of "Timber!" A phone call last night confirmed that they would be here today and asked me to please take down the post and rail fence as agreed.

A fascinating machine to watch - a tracked
cherry-picker which deploys 4 'feet' hydraulically
That would have worked really well if my ancient and 'last legs' 14V Bosch electric screw driver had not chosen to die last night and refuse to take on any charge overnight. Huge thank you to K-Dub who lent me a very nice De-Walt version for the day worth, I hear, about €350. Gulp - look after it!

Three quarter tonne of diesel shredder/chipper which made
short work even of branches up to 4-5 inches thick
If readers were expecting these 'lumberjacks' to turn up in dungarees and check shirts, all beardy and 'pioneer'-ish, to cut a great wedge at the base of the tree and send 65 feet of tree crashing into the horizontal position amid heroic shouts, then they were in for a shock. These guys are very careful and professional tree surgeons clad in all the safety gear, kevlar trousers and mesh-visor hard hats. They work their way up the tree lopping off all the side branches, using a cherry picker to get about 2/3 of the way up but then putting on foot irons, full climbing harness and a loop of rope round the tree at waist-height to carry on up till the main trunk was sufficiently thin to be worth cutting through. Then they work their way back down cutting off 5 foot (ish) chunks of trunk till they get to cherry-picker height. At that stage cherry-picker man takes over again and works his way down slicing off 12" thick rounds (for me to split up with the axe later) till he gets to about 10 feet, which they refer to as the 'butt'. This bit alone gets the 'Timber!' treatment, getting dropped to horizontal before being sliced up.

Starting his 'walk' up the tree.
All the time, the lads are working a clear-as-you-go policy shredding all the branches with a huge diesel powered chipper which fires its output into their tipper lorry. You can have this for garden mulch and paths - they are more than happy to park the heap where ever they can get to.  Finally they do a huge clear up raking and shovelling up rubbish, barrowing it away to a position of your choice and even using a leaf-blower to turn your grass back to green and your drive back to gravel-grey. The 'logs' they stack where ever you want, within reason, obviously.

One of the lads is in the cherry picker here but
top left you can just see the walk-up harness guy
removing the last few branches on his tree
So there you had it. 2 lads 'removed' 3 huge fir trees in about 8 hours. Every thing is tidier than when they arrived (we don't leaf-blow our driveway in general!), nobody got hurt, no tree trunks fell on our house and the only casualty was my Bosch screwdriver. They are brilliant lads and charge a really fair price and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.

Finishing off the stumps. 
We no longer have the fear of those trees blowing down and we have a lovely, open, well lit aspect to the front of the house.It does not look all 'loomed over'. It has room to breathe. Tomorrow morning, from my pillow, I will be able to see sky instead of just ten feet or so of tree trunk. As we come in through the main gate in the car, we can now see the whole house, not just the right hand side of it. I need to re-instate the fence, but I will wait till I have replaced the dead screwdriver before I do that.

Job done and squared away - about 6pm in this picture so
getting dusky but you can see how open the view now is.
That task kept us all entertained all day; we even spent some of the day sitting outside on our front terrace in the garden-chairs just leaning back and watching the lads clambering about and dropping bits of tree. It was easier that way to look up, rather than stand with your neck all cricked, looking upwards. All done now, though. The guys had tea and accepted some of Liz's goo-ey chocolate cake leaving us to admire the new 'big sky' view of the house from the lane. We are very pleased.

Nanny Óg looking big. Here watched by Marta (lamb)
In other news, Charlotte is back from college for a bit of Easter Holidays (all be it having to nip back to Dublin each weekend for her paid job), so we have told Nanny Óg that she can now get on with the job of kidding. Nanny Óg does not seem at all interested though she did spend a lot of today lying down in the straw shelter looking huge.

Barbara (front) displays right back at Tom.
The turkeys took us by surprise today with a new (to us) behaviour. We have seen lots and lots of Tom displaying; he is quite obsessive about it. We have not had any eggs yet as far as we know, though Barbara may be hiding them. Today, though, she started doing a male-style display right back at Tom - tail erect and fanned, back-feathers all raised and wings pressed down hard to the ground. We have no explanation for this. The presence of the 'strangers' (our tree guys) and their big noisy shredder/chipper may have had something to do with it.

Anyway, enough for this one post. I will leave you with a nice shot of the geese splashing about in their bath (George the gander and one of the ladies here) in the sunshine.

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