As I write this, I hear the angry buzzing of a chainsaw and heavy thuds shake the house as huge chunks of tree trunk drop to the ground. A tall Ponderosa Pine growing inches from my house is being cut down to make room for a master bedroom extension that will add some square footage, as well as fix my horrible mystery roof leak.
I am so sad to see this tree go, although it is just one of probably a hundred tall Ponderosa Pines that surround my house. The decision was a difficult one for me, but I know that the even bigger, stronger trees nearby will ultimately benefit from this smaller tree’s removal. They will receive increased nutrients and water, especially important in these drought years. I must say that my views on forest management have changed since my close encounter with a wildfire nearly six years ago. Trees need some space to be healthy and strong.
Because of my mixed feelings, I had planned on being absent during the tree-cutting, but watching the men work on this windy day has actually been quite fascinating. One man climbed the tree and strapped himself to the top. He rocked back and forth precariously in the wind as he cut off all the branches. He clipped the branches to a rope that was held by a second man on the ground, then he sent the branches down the rope, like a zip-line, safely out of the way of the house.
Now he has finished removing all the branches and is slicing off heavy sections of trunk working from the top down. I hope he is careful as to what section he is cutting or he could end up having a one way flight down to the ground.
As you can see from my photos, this is not a job for those who have a mild fear of heights such as myself. Watching this man swaying back and forth in the wind a hundred feet above the ground makes my palms sweat! To give this next photo a sense of scale, that roof on the left is the top of my two story house. The man is hanging off that tree much, much higher than my house!
The tree will not go to waste. The men have brought a chipper and will chop it up into a big pile of wood chips that I will spread on the children’s backyard playground area to control the weeds and protect them from falls. So the tree will live on here in my yard after all, just in a different form.
Taken from my bedroom skylight:
And from the bedroom window: