Eric and I, along with various neighbors and friends who wandered in and out of the yard, cut down five trees in the backyard on Saturday.
My parents heated the house with a woodstove for a long time when I was a kid, and I’m no stranger to helping cut down trees, hauling logs and branches and stacking wood. But apparently, I’m out of practice. And out of shape.
The trees we cut down surrounded a small shed in our back yard behind the garage. We’re planning to knock down the shed in anticipation of possibly building a shop out back next summer. The trees needed to come down, Eric said.
Eric had the first two down in the morning, and I was on brush patrol. As he cut off branches and made little logs, I was piling the branches and stacking the small pieces of wood. I kept up fairly well, but after a couple hours … Egads.
We had most of it cleaned up, with only the main trunks still on the ground, when neighbors Tom and Pete stopped by to help pull down the next three. It took some planning, as the three were a bit intertangled and leaning in funny directions.
They hooked a chain to a tree, attached the chain to a rope, and attached the rope to the pickup. Being the helpful soul I am, I grabbed the video camera.
Eric got to work with the chainsaw, while Tom sat in the truck, ready to give the tree a good tug. Pete and I watched, cautiously taking steps back. Buzz, buzz, buzz went the chainsaw. Vroom, vroom went the truck. CRACK! went the tree.
And groan, laugh, swear word went the men as the tree came crashing down – right on the wood back stop for one of the horse shoe pits. No big loss, as we need to move those too.
Tom got out of the truck hollaring, "Did I get a ringer?"
They tackled the next tree, hooking up the chain, the rope, the truck. At one point I told Eric there should be Benny Hill music playing in the background. It would have fit into the situation perfectly.
That tree came down without a problem, but the last tree fought to the very last.
It was leaning in the opposite direction we needed it to drop, so everyone was holding their breath a bit, waiting to see what would happen. Tom ended up giving it a lot of help with the truck, but it finally came crashing down pretty close to where they wanted it.
Tom had to leave, but Pete helped haul brush for a bit. Then our friend Lonnie came over with his chainsaw, and pretty soon it was obvious there was no way I was going to keep up with the branches and brush. I kept at it until I had to leave to do a Today’s Farm interview, then jumped back into the fray when I got back.
The brush pile is about the size of our two-car garage. And I’m not finished yet. I had to stop to make supper. Tom came back to help, and he and Eric and Lonnie got everything cut up while I put some pork ribs on the grill.
Lonnie stayed for supper, and the three of us sat in the livingroom watching a movie and gnawing on ribs for a while.
You should have heard the groans! Every time one of us had to get up, moans of pain accompanied our actions. Backs, shoulders, arms … they all hurt. We were all moving rather slowly.
Teenager Matt came home at about 8 p.m., Lonnie headed out, and Eric and I just sat. Matt was giving us funny looks as we moved and shifted, groaning each time.
I don’t feel nearly as bad this morning as I expected to, but am not particularly anxious to get outside and finish moving branches and stacking wood.
I think it would have been easier to just burn the darn things down where they stood.