The lesson

Some kinds of gardening are more intensive than others. Yesterday our friend Larry came over and gave me a lesson on how to use a chainsaw. Conveniently, there were the remains of last winter’s tree damage to practice on: a dying willow and a fallen cedar.

Some things I learned:

  • Safety first—you don’t want a chainsaw to bite you. (This is something I was already quite convinced of; it’s the details of how to prevent a bite that were of high interest.)
  • Old chainsaws made of metal are HEAVY. My muscles started confirming this some hours later and are still doing so.
  • There is a lot of wood in a fallen 50ish-foot cedar.

So here’s the photo documentation of what was accomplished.

Larry did most of the awkward work that involved balancing on things or making tricky cuts. I did smaller stuff for the cedar and almost all of the willow.

fallen cedar trunk viewed from the side

This is the end of the part of the cedar we left in place, with gloves for scale. I measured the trunk here: the diameter is 13”. This is wide enough to walk on, albeit carefully; so we are leaving it here at least for now. We think it may make a decent bridge if we add handrails and perhaps some non-skid surfacing. (And a ladder—right now it’s a good metre off the ground.)

crushed bushes beyond cedar trunk

This is the section that we removed. It’s invisible! However, I would estimate that the swath of crushed bushes from this end of the remaining trunk is 20 to 30 feet long (maybe I’ll measure when I have more energy).

view along fallen cedar trunk

Here’s looking along the remaining trunk to the stump that it splintered off from. I’d estimate 20 feet—again, will measure. The upright bits have been left in place, at least for now, as handholds.

panorama of fallen debris

Here’s a cobbled together “panorama” showing just how wide the mess is. Quite a few big branches have been cut off but are still lying next to the trunk. Getting them out of here will be interesting, especially since there is water and bottomless mud under this section of tree.

piles of debris

Here are the piles of cedar branches that have been pulled out of the bush so far. (This is only the start—there’s a LOT more still be be extracted.)

pile of cedar branches

Closeup of one pile with gloves for scale.

broken willow trunk

We also took out a dying willow tree: this shows the typical kind of damage the snow did to many trees last year, splitting the trunks vertically.

willow debris

And this is the debris from the willow.

Obviously the cleanup will take a while. I got most of the willow (other than very small broken branches) cleaned up into a brushpile yesterday. I think the big cedar branches will be today’s task, before it really starts raining and things get slippery.

Oh—and while I was doing this, Peri was buying and sawing lumber to size to build a boardwalk over the part of our yard at the end of the pond that gets boggy in winter, as the old one was rotting away. We are both feeling very powerful and competent (and sweaty) as a result of all this activity—erm, and kinda sore.


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