Jeff Hutcheson

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I spent a lot of time looking out the windows these past ten weeks. From being in isolation, to self-quarantine, to crappy weather days, let’s face it, there’s been a lot of time to look out the window. And all that looking finally paid a dividend. I discovered six tree limbs, not branches, but limbs, that needed to be cut down.

Our house has trees on both sides and at the back, and the offending limbs were clustered in threes, one at the side, and one at the back. The side limbs were getting a bit too close to the house, and the back limbs hanging a bit too close to the deck. I determined the best way to cut these down was to get our ten foot extension ladder, nestle it against the tree, climb up, cut, all the while having Heather spot me at the bottom. It sounded simple.

So, a few weeks ago, out we went, and I set up the ladder against the first tree. I climbed up and started sawing and began thinking, ‘gee, these limbs are a lot bigger than they looked from the ground.’ It didn’t take long to make the cut, and just before the last of the saw strokes released the branch, I mentioned to Heather to be aware, the limb was about to fall. Or did I say that after I finished sawing? It remains a point of contention.

I don’t want to say the very first branch I cut fell and hit Heather. That wouldn’t be accurate. I would say it was more of a ‘glancing blow’ or better yet, it just ‘nicked’ her, a fifteen foot limb, falling from twelve feet in the air.

So, that was the end of my spotter.

I finished cutting the other two limbs in that cluster, and moved the ladder to the back yard and wedged it firmly into the tree. I tested its stability several times before heading up to start cutting again. You want to be sure you’re safe when your spotter is on the other side of the yard. I cut the next three offending limbs with no problem. I piled all of them in one spot where they would wait until I could get to the landfill site, which at the time was closed.

Just this past weekend, with the landfill now accepting yard debris, I decided I was going to load the truck and get rid of the limbs. First though, one last trip around the yard to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Apparently, I missed another twenty two limbs. These came in a variety of sizes. Since there were still no leaves on any of them, I was pretty sure I could jam everything, now 28 limbs, into the back of my truck.

I got out the chain saw, and cut a few limbs down to a workable size, and began loading. I use the ‘spring loaded’ method of tree removal. You pack as much as you can into the back of the truck. You bend, twist, scrunch, ram and jam the branches in there, until it seems like everything is about to burst at the seams. Then you pack in some more, and just to be safe, a little more. Upon arrival at the dump, you simply undo the tailgate, and just like a ‘jack-in-the-box’ the load of branches releases, and unloads itself. That was the theory anyway. It remains a theory.

In the end, I couldn’t get it all in one load, and upon returning to the house after the second trip, I parked, and headed into the house. That’s when it caught my eye. It was larger than life. Toying with my emotions. But limb 29 will have to wait for another day...and another spotter.

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