Thursday, February 6, 2014


Most people that read my blog, know I'm pretty adventurous ... horses, downhill skiing, rock climbing ... but even I have my limit.  If you are the least bit squeamish about heights, you may not want to go any further.

The ranch is covered with eucalyptus trees, most over 100 feet tall.  We call them widow-makers.  In the winter, they usually hang in there pretty good, even with the wind and rain.  In the summer, however, it is a completely different story.  In high heat, the trees push all their sap to the top to keep cool, resulting in overweight falling branches that kill people ... hence the name widow-makers.  There was one that was a little too close to the house for comfort, and should it fall, would probably take out most of the garage.  Time to call the tree trimmer, Anderson Tree Service.  Admittedly, I wasn't too happy in the beginning ... with a late call-back and two months to schedule, to say nothing of the price.  Today I changed my mind!!  THIS is something I wouldn't want to do ... at least not at the height Ken Anderson was today.  Although even he was a little nervous towards the top, he is a master at this kind of work.
After using the boom to clear most of the leafy branches to make climbing easier, up he went, free climbing.  His chain saw hangs below him on a rope.  If it should get knocked out of his hand, it won't land on someone below.
Geared up in basically rock climbing equipment and telephone pole climbing spikes, he headed to the top of this 110+ tree.  Pretty much waving in the breeze here from the very flexible limbs, he topped this branch first in order to make a top rope that he could tie to, providing safety and stability.  Yup that's him, W A Y up there about 20 feet from the top.  I could probably get half way before freezing up and calling the helicopter to come get me!!  Hmmm might be fun to try!!!
Wedged between the branches and his ropes, he topped this branch second.

As the branch fell, the release of pressure made the branch he is tied to swing back and forth about 4 feet.  I was shaking and I wasn't even in the tree!!
Here's a shot of almost the entire tree ... I couldn't get back far enough to show it all.  He just moved from the top of the branch on the right, to the left hand branch.  Pretty crazy!!  He says he's not an adrenaline junky, making it even tougher to hang from the top.
Tied off to the right branch, he's going to cut the one he's clinging to.
His crew is on the end of the white rope, pulling hard.  This limb would have fallen on top of Ken had they not pulled it their direction.  The branch he's on snapped like a rubber band!!
He hung in there though and breathed a big sigh of relief that two of three big branches were done.  From here, he cuts off four foot sections, dropping them to the ground with a slam!!
All the small branches were chewed up and spit out by his chipper, while the crew stacked the four foot sections of wood by the fence.  I can probably sell this good firewood for a couple hundred dollars, making the $1000 tree removal a little more palatable.

Today it's raining, so the rest of the tree will be taken down next week.  Slightly taller than what you see here, it too will be a nail-biter!!   You've got to have nerves of steel to be in this business!!

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