Monday, November 24, 2014

Two years later, here's the rotten tree video

No kidding, this has been in my drafts since November 2012.
There's a lot of other stuff mouldering in there, and new stuff I haven't gotten around to posting.  Oh well, it's not like self-expression is high on the list these days  :-) 

I never did get the story from my drafts to go with it, so I'll just write it out again. 

Well, this tree was rotten, and had started leaning at a drunken angle.  I swear you could watch the thing sinking at a rate of a millimeter a minute.  A logger happened to be out and I showed him the leaner; he didn't have a chain saw on him, but said he bet if he kicked it, it would fall over.  He did and it didn't.  That's because it was fine up to about five feet, the rot started above that. 
He went away and I commenced worrying.
I worry about this stuff. Y'know, if a random tree happens to fall on a random day and smush one of my kids, that's not cool at all, but add the phrase "If only I had taken care of that tree when I noticed it!" and you have the stuff of horror. 
At that time Ed was digging a long trench from the pumphouse to the house, to bury a new waterline.  He had the boys working on that trench, right under that tree. 
So yeah, I'm gonna take care of that right now while I'm thinking of it.
To clarify, yes-- I mean "before dinner" and it was late afternoon, so let's hurry. 
I marched down there with my axe and got busy.  But I got tired really quickly.  It was the end of the day, as well as the beginning of the end (November 2012!) and I didn't have much energy.
Already most of the way through the tree I really got impatient and started to hate it for being sound at the base and not giving up any easier.  Then I had one of my bright ideas. The best logger in Shelton had just told me that tree was one good vibration away from collapsing under its own weight.  So, why not use gravity, and help it a little?  I flung a rope up as far as I could loop it and started pulling rhythmically.
You really can move a tree quite a lot by doing that.  It's a matter of rhythm. 
I got a good rhythm going.  Then, as usual, I realized at the wrong moment what was wrong with this proposition.
Um, the trench?  The one under the tree?
I had been totally positive I would miss the trench.  But the problem with a back and forth motion is that the tree might just decide to snap at the beginning of the "forth" motion-- which would drop it on, in, across and around that trench Ed's been working on for a week.  So, "wait a second, maybe I shouldn't--"
And of course it was heading right for the trench.  Luckily my feet were already braced really good on something, so I pulled on that rope like I've never pulled on anything before.  I had that added strength that comes from having just realized how stupid you are  :-)  
What I did not anticipate was how cool it was gonna feel!
There was the WHOLE WEIGHT OF A TREE in midair, and as I pulled for all I was worth, I could feel all that inertia moving towards me.  How cool is that??  My little hands on a piece of thin rope aren't really worth all that much, and yet the tree moved sideways towards me for the whole three seconds it took to fall.

I do have a humdrum little lifey, but every life has its moments  :-) 

I just love this video.  
Here's a link to the original file because Blogger's compression isn't the best. 
Pity about a bit of seasickness at the beginning when my cameraman couldn't decide which way is up, but if you watch it a couple times you can see the sway.
And the tree misses the trench by six inches.