Five old Saules… part four of the saga – 2008

Now finished
Making a start

Making a start... removing the small and dead branches.

The routine continued… but this year we had my wife with us, so Stuart and I were able to crack on much quicker, leaving Pauline to cook and clean up after us!
Well, not really, the third pair of hands actually meant that some of the more difficult tasks  were “three head, six hand” jobs.

Making a start... lopping the easy ones

Lopping the easy branches first to clear the view

And that was really useful… especially when we hit a big snag… the last trunk to fall.
It had a twist… and didn’t give any indication of a bias to fall any particular way.

Three to go

The last three branches... the last one is the furthest left..
with a great big double bend!

So whilst I stood and looked, and paced around the tree…..
and stood and looked, and paced around the tree…..
and stood and looked, and paced around the tree…..
Pauline kept me supplied with coffee and helped Stuart shift the timber from the first branches that we’d dropped.

Eventually I decided to rope guide the direction of fall. That meant getting a rope around the trunk as high as possible… higher than I could get with the ladder.
There was a group of three branches slightly lower than I’d have liked to position the rope, but they were reachable with a hammer throw.

A strong string attached to the hammer, it was hurled violently upward towards the first branch of the trio… and my aim was good. Yes, I hit the branch square on!!
Second try missed it perfectly and the string was over the first… and by sheer luck, the second.
Fate was sitting up there watching…. and having a good laugh…. I hit the third branch a glancing blow and the hammer fell…. back over the second branch!
Threw it back over the second branch on the third attempt…. and eventually the third!!
The rope  was then hauled over and round, a slip hitch tied and it was pulled tight to the tree.

Because I didn’t have a winch of any sort, the other end was anchored near the bief… a metal bar was then “looped” into place about halfway between the two anchor points.
We attached three long but-ends of the other branches to the rope, just above the metal bar…
as it took Stuart and I to raise the ends into position whilst Pauline tied them into place, I would estimate that we had the pulling power of about four people at that point…
but in the form of undamageable logs.

I was cutting from the back of the tree which meant that I was going to be higher up than the bole… this was alright by me…
it meant that I could cut straight through, with just a shallow sapwood cut lower down to stop the bark tearing.
Once felled, I tidied up by doing a second clean cut to finish off.

Now finished

A tidy, cleaned up bole and a stack of firewood.
The darker wood is a previous years harvest.

Job’s a goodun… all five trees pollarded [tetardé]

All trees pollarded

The view with all the trees pollarded.

Then, after the last bonfire….

Final bonfire

The smoke from the last bonfire drifts Eastwards across the meadow.

….it was back to tree planting… mainly extending the areas we had already worked on… and getting more young twigs into the tree nursery.

Tree nursery 1

The view of the nursery area from the kitchen window.

The row of trees nearest the bief are waiting to be lifted.
There are three trees in the green binbag, waiting to be planted out… some root loss was unavoidable, but we compensated by planting deeper.

Tree nursery 2

The duckboards over the already dug soil can be clearly seen in this shot from the bridge.

The duckboards allowed us to dig the trees out without us getting bogged down in the soft mud.

Once all the trees were out, new rods were planted behind where you see the duckboards, in virgin soil… this is to allow time and tide to refill the ‘used’ area.

Other small and specimen trees, including some Scarlet Willow and a spawn of the Headingly “Original Oak” were planted out in the verger.

Verger tree nursery

The nursery bed in the verger for the smaller and specimen trees.
The "Original Oaks" are in the blue-green pot.


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