Report: What I Did On President’s Day or “The Long Arm of the Saw”

Our neighbor (the crazy one) has some trees that overhang our property.  A few big branches were unable to deal with a few hundred kilos of ice during the freeze and broke.  For the most part, they gently settled down against the roof of our house and stayed there.  Hoping they would Jesus themselves back into position, I waited the customary three days but the holy spirit was not with them so, you know, they stayed broken against the roof.  This period was pretty scary because at least one of the branches that was creaking and moaning every time the wind blew and sounded like a g-g-g-ghost pirate ship at sea.

We’ve got a two-story house so getting to the branches was tricky.  KayDee suggested I climb up onto the roof and back down the steep roof to the 20 foot dropoff and ineffectually kick at the branches hoping they’d spontaneously fall away until I myself fell off the house (these weren’t her words exactly, but basically what would have happened) but I had a better idea. I shopped for a while on before settling on some tools for the job.

I got a couple pieces of conduit from the local recycling place.  I drilled some holes, bolted the two pieces of metal pipe together, then used big hose-clamps to attach my electric chainsaw to the end of the newly constructed sawlongerer.  I taped the trigger permanently to ‘On’ then ran an extension cord from the saw.

I balanced this contraption near the offending branches, Marcus plugged it in then retreated to a safe place where he could disconnect the power without being in the DANGERRRRR ZOOOONE, and I began cutting.  Slice slice slice goes the saw, swish swish BAM go the branches.  One of them hit my face on the way down after bouncing off something else, but it probably only improved my looks.

Finally, we were down to one, the BIG one.  I sawed at it.  BZZZZ!  BZZZZ!  My little electric chainsaw bit and chewed and finally the large branch broke free and, through some series of ricochets, its 100+lb mass fell…  directly onto my brother-in-law’s quad that he had left parked behind the house this weekend.  Now, Tim doesn’t seem to use Facebook so there’s no real chance he’ll find out, but thankfully the branch came down on a footrest and didn’t do any damage.  It WAS, however, balanced there and I had to figure out a safe way to get it off the quad without causing damage but that’s a story for another day (that I’ll never tell, because honestly, it’s really not much of a story.  Mostly lifting things and swearing but just imagine it’s something good.)

Once it was off, I popped the quad into neutral and wheeled it to safety and tried to figure out how to fix this limb.  It was now standing straight up, was about 10 inches thick and maybe 12 feet tall and thick conifer branches were holding it up.  If I left it, some day it would fall over and smash my house, my BiL’s camping trailer, the Great Wall fence that keeps my crazy neighbor and her rampaging hordes out of my back yard, or possible even the hot tub (well not really, I just wanted to mention that I technically have a hot tub because hey, hot tub).

I ended up cutting a v-shaped wedge out of the middle until there was a tiny bit of wood holding it together.  Clearing out an escape route, I lined up, took stock of all of my martial arts experience (none), and executing a flawless (that’s a lie) karate kick against the branch.  It snapped and folded neatly in half, dropping down vertically like a finely designed demolition job and not doing any damage.  Honestly, if I had planned this, it would have been spectacular, but it was really mostly “I should probably do something with wedges, that’s what the pros do…”-level planning.  You know, like when an amateur who finds themselves caring for someone in labor asking for boiled water and towels.  What do they do when they get them?  They’re probably hoping a real doctor gets there before they need to deal with the facts that in addition to the ‘violently pregnant woman’, they also now have a ‘I’m responsible for a pot of boiling water and some towels’ problem.  Anyway, I lucked out.

Back yard now has a number of severed limbs (none human), a miraculously undamaged quad & house & camper, and the house should be quiet again tonight.

I’ve had to disassemble the Sawlongerer for now because some repairs are needed and also because having an electric chainsaw is a dangerous enough lure; having one that can cut things 20 feet away….  that’s a full blown crisis of temptation.  May these parts be ever stored separately lest they come together again when my will is weak.