A Tree, A Truck and a Good Hank Of Rope

Hey you fun lovin’ fresh air breathin’ cool water swimin’ cottagers! How ya doing? Personally I am doing great, loving this retirement gig, thanks for asking. This is the life. This is life…at least for me….but that is another story, or at least another blog post.

We’re just back from the camp. Been there since last Thursday, enjoying some good weather and some good friends, as well as squeezing as much as we can out of the cottage before the snow flies.

The week before last, Hurricane Earl gave us a little blast for a day or so, and left a legacy for me, a fairly big tree leaning badly over my neighbor’s shed…and outhouse…..Not a good thing. The tree was a poplar, heathy and strong, and pretty heavy, and it was at about 45 degrees, just waiting for the next big windstorm to come down, probably taking out the roof of the shed when it did.

Trust me when I tell you I worried about that quite a bit last week, so this weekend I decided it had to come down.

I enlisted the help of a couple of buddies, one of whom has a Mazda 4 wheel drive truck that he has been just itching to show what it can do….that plus me, equals a perfect opportunity.

I got out my longest rope, a big braided nylon affair that must be 150 feet long, thick and heavy. (I remember balking several years ago when Wendy brought it home from a yard sale, but that rope has come in handy on so many occasions, I could not be without it now.)

It took some wrangling, but I managed to get a smaller rope thrown up over the branch of the tree, about halfway up the trunk, and then tied the thicker rope to it, pulled it around and….well I got the big rope tied to the tree.
The other end of the rope I tied to the front tow hook on David’s Mazda truck. After some calculating and figuring, we started the truck, and backed up, pulling the tree back up into an upright position, and then almost over the other way, stopping just before, fearing we might make too much of a mess if we pulled it right out of the ground.

I was impressed with the ease with which the Mazda truck was able to pull the tree back, without straining a muscle, and without spinning a tire, well…maybe a little spinning, but not much. There is no doubt in my mind it would have pulled the tree right out of the ground, had we decided to go that route, but cutting it off was ultimately much neater.

As soon as we had it upright, and with the four wheel drive Mazda truck keeping a good strain on the rope, I started up the chain saw and cut it down, jumping out of the way as it fell with a satisfying crunch, and whomp! On my property, not my neighbor’s shed.

Some more cutting with the chain saw and we now have some wood to add to the firewood pile. A most happy day. I wanted that tree down, out of harm’s way and it is. Thanks to a Sachs Dolmar chainsaw, a good friend and his Mazda truck…and oh yeah, a good hank of rope !!

Tree Cutting Made Easy
Since writing this post I was thinking about the advantages of using a rope when cutting down a big tree. Tying a rope to a tree before cutting it allows you to control where the tree will fall, which adds a measure of safety to the process, particularly if it is a big tree and there are buildings or other structures nearby.

Had we not had the truck, I would still have tied the tree off with a rope to control the direction it fell when it was cut. I have used a rope to fall many big trees and so far, they have all been successful.

The hardest part is getting the rope situated on the tree. If you are unable to safely climb the tree, or don’t have a ladder that reaches, I use a lighter rope with a weight on the end which I throw up over some higher branches, then pull it around the tree trunk. Once that is done, it is easy to tie a larger rope to the end of the smaller rope, and pull it up, replacing the smaller rope….you get the picture.

I have also seen this done using a bow and arrow to shoot a rope over the higher part of the tree then pull a thicker rope up.

Long story short, if it’s a big tree and you want to be sure where it falls, put a rope on it and tie to something secure in the direction you want the tree to fall. You will be glad you did.

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