Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Tree Felling Story

Hubby told me last Tuesday, the he reserved a lift for Easter weekend. I was shocked.

This is my best friend this morning - coffee.  We've been sleeping pretty good, and will be for a week or two yet.  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage.  This is a rather long post.

I didn't post anything at the time, because the truck needed a new hitch. And of course I had my doubts.  The hitch broke while towing the camper last September.  It was not on the "hurry up" list all winter.

I didn't think any of this would happen. The hitch or the lift.

Hubby found a hitch as well.  You gotta have a hitch to haul a lift.  However, he didn't have time to take the old hitch off and put the new one one, so we traded trucks with his nephew.

Just in case it all happened, I picked up ham and some potatoes when I had a vehicle (still playing the car shuffle).  I boiled eggs and pre-made sweet potato salad.  I double checked veggie supply in the freezer too.   I knew the kids would want an Easter meal, but sometimes a holiday is the only time we can do large projects.

Just in case.
Oh, this job didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped. Hubby was after me to "go change clothes" so we could start felling the tree by the house Friday night.

When I got back outside this is what I found.  I have no idea what he was thinking (you can see the lift out in the pasture, which was hitched to the truck, on the other side of the garden and the tree that needed felled is next to the garage). I knew that area was a very wet spot after a rain and early spring.  And we dare didn't ask, and just helped, and tried not to laugh.

He thought he could drive around in a large circle, going around the garden and then drop the lift by the tree.  He should have driven straight through the garden, as he got way out in the pasture too far.  He sunk the truck.  His nephews truck.  We unlatched the lift, 

. . . got the truck out

Then he backed in over the garden, only to get stuck even worse.  He wasn't laughing, and two daughter's and myself were just shaking our heads.

It took another person with a diesel truck, and some McGiver-ing to push the 50 foot lift back enough to hook the truck back up.   Three or four hours later we were back in business.  

Hubby's nephew traded back his truck, and left with it absolutely covered in mud.  Top to bottom.  We gave him cash to run it through a car wash.  He wasn't even upset. 

The next morning it was breezy.  The wind was moving the lift basket back and forth as Hubby sawed off limbs.  Saw dust was flying everywhere.  We had to stop and clean up the area in which to move the lift, for the last two tallest limbs. 

Well, we didn't have the truck with the hitch.  We drove to the "big city" and traded once again.  Got back home and the hitch was not the same one.  Oh, the agony in Hubby's face (and mine).  We had no other vehicle at the house at the time either.  We scrambled around and found a hitch.  

Then hiccups continued in our path of completion.  The hitch was too low, and we couldn't get the lift wheel up to move it.  Wa-la, we used the jack.  Got the wheel up, and Hubby jumped back in the truck.

It wouldn't start.  It was just running a minute before that.  By this time, we both had major headaches.

We changed clothes, and left on a motorcycle ride (and treated ourselves to a steak) while we called for family and friends to see if someone could jump the truck.  We got the lift moved and resumed work Sunday morning.  Keep in mine we were going to fell another tree and put new roofing on one barn all over the weekend (before it had to be returned).  And by Sunday, we were still working on the tree from h-e-double hockey sticks.     
(That is Hubby in the lift, and you can see how tall the tree was and how close to the house it was.)

Well, even Sunday had hiccups.  After taking down one or two more lower limbs, it was quitting time once again.  Too windy.  We had to wait all day until the wind slowed down.

While we waited, we planted a peach tree, plum tree, and one grape plant.  We weeded 3/4ths of the herb garden, and mowed a bit. 

Easter "dinner" on the front porch - ham and cheese grilled, sweet potato salad, organic chips and fruit. 
Several hours later we got tired of working and waiting.  We couldn't jump the dead truck - no jumper cables even when we got another driver.  However, that driver (another family member) drove Hubby to the part store and bought a battery for his nephew's truck.  

Lesson learned.  Buy jumper cables to keep in the garage.  This is the 3rd time we've needed them, and all of our vehicles with jumper cables in them, were not home.

So, back to the tree at 6pm Sunday evening.  The rope was tied on, but Hubby came back down.  Help, from a family friend who cuts trees (or used to) was coming to help.  

More waiting.  Hubby was not comfortable with the wind even at 6pm.   Thank goodness we have porch furniture out. 

While everyone waited, I quick baked up a pan of roasted chili-lime peanuts.  Another new recipe I've wanted to try.  So far, one kiddo does not like the lime in it.

Back to the trees.....
Guess what got done?!  

It's down.  We left a portion up for my "clothesline pole."  They even felled the tree by the barn enough that we could manage the rest another day (ran out of time).  I'm thrilled, and we now know that we can call someone Hubby knows, and pay him less than what we paid for the lift, if we ever have to fell trees again.

One HUGE project off the to-do list this year. Could this be our year to get stuff done?

I have waited 2 years for this job to be done.  When you have no helpers, only the two of you, and one has a full-time job with overtime, things get pushed way off the to-do list.

The hard work of cutting up what's been dropped now starts, but we are now re-filling our next winter's firewood, and campfire wood too.  

There was a celebratory drink at the end of the evening.  A well deserved drink.

Yeah, we didn't get the barn roof on, nor the big barn torn down, but we succeeded with the trees.  It feels good to wake up and look out to see them down.  Especially the one by the house.  I could hear that thing creak, and now I can till and start planting the vegetable garden. 

I have a serious case of laryngitis this morning.  I better go gargle with salt water or down some apple cider vinegar and honey.  I have a lot of work to do.  I think a cup of java on the porch will be the best way to start this amazing day.


Mama Pea said...

Weekends like you just had (and work like you had to do) are ones that can drive a person straight to the loony bin! What else could have gone wrong? (Well, I can think of a thing or two, but we won't even go there.) Considering all you had to deal with I'd call it a success and enjoy not seeing those trees anymore! Good grief! Such a time!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Mama Pea, Hubby said he wants to buy a new truck now, ha ha! I don't blame him. All weekend I was thinking "how worse could it get" but took restraint in saying it. Oye.

Susan said...

Oh, boy. Murphy's Law at its finest. Sort of... No wonder you have laryngitis! All that wind and stress. That was one humongo tree!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Susan, we took down the one by the barn too - both ash trees (heavy stuff too). Oh it was one thing after another. Glad that part is done.

Sam I Am...... said...

Congratulations!!!! Persistence won out even though you had one trial after another. I'm so glad a tree person came over to help as it is dangerous work if you don't know what you're doing. Your dinner looked amazing and I am very interested in sweet potato salad....I'll have to go look on all recipes.

Rain said...

Wow Kristina, I was shaking my head along with you as I read all that!!! And your lawn looks like my driveway lol...I'm so glad you guys got the work done, I'm sure you feel awesome knocking that off your list, and you definitely deserved a drink after! Your Easter dinner looks so awesome and colourful, it's very appealing! Lovely!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Sam I Am, if you google "creamy sweet potato salad" with BHG, you will find it online. I originally found it in their magazine. We love it. We have put a few trees down in the past, but nothing of this size. The wind was crazy over the weekend, and that basket on the lift would just swing.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Thank you Rain. We fill in the ruts...well most of them lol!

RB said...

It seems like a comedy-of-errors, but our brother worked for a certified arborist and took down trees for a living. It's VERY dangerous work because trees often don't grow straight the way they look on the outside. Sometime the inside is twisted and it doesn't fall the way it should
Am glad no one got hurt. When someone inexperienced tries to take down trees, they often do or someone around them does.
God bless.