May 8th, 2020


Ashes to ashes

My number one job yesterday -- one that I had been fretting about -- was dropping the big, dead ash tree seen in the middle of this picture. It had a bit of a bend in it about 8' up, and its weight was over the road spur rather than my building site, but still, it was too close to take the matter of felling it nonchalantly.


Looming over the job site

My strategy was to clear the brush around it and place my platform ladder next to it, then saw down at an angle right above where the trunk started to bend. That way, the tree wouldn't bind my saw, and it would eventually drop of its own weight. It worked beautifully, though when something that big begins to crack and topple, there’s always a moment of fear that it might buck right back at you. But no, it went just as I had imagined it.

I was surprised that there wasn’t more to the thing. It looked bigger, I guess, than it was. I had all this cleaned up in short order. Total time from prepping the area to stacking the pieces and brush: one hour.

I now have several large stacks of big ash logs and sticks, seasoned or dead. Nobody wants them. I should start burning them, but I’m puzzled about where to do this. And keep in mind, I have enough downed wood for several all-night bonfires. I can start burning, but I can’t leave a fire until it’s out cold. Still, all this ash needs to be reduced to ash and gotten out of the way.

*Sigh* I had planned my dream home to stand in a grove of ash trees. And now, they’re all dead. I see some stumps putting up shoots, so maybe they’ll come back after the Emerald Ash Borer plague moves on. In the meantime, I must continue to play lumberjack now and then. I’ve got one humongous tree (not sure what kind) on my back property line that will need to come down some day, but it’s too big for me to tackle. It’ll take a bucket truck and some pros if that one ever needs to be removed.

Since felling the big tree only took an hour, I took a brief rest and then dug and moved dirt for the rest of my time there. Slowly, slowly, I'm getting there.