Tag Archives: greasy underfoot

Any fool can cut a tree down, how many try to stick it back up again?


Earlier this year it got windy, seriously windy. So windy that a big old Sycamore tree in a neighbour’s garden was blown over into our field.

There was nothing in the field at the time, and the tree managed to block the potential gap it had created, so there wasn’t a livestock issue. Anyway our neighbour was a bit apologetic, but what were they supposed to have done, dashed out in the middle of the night and fitted guy ropes?
Anyway I said it wasn’t a problem, as I’d just cut it up for firewood.

A week or so after the gales the weather improved and I made a start on the tree. I treated myself to a new blade for the chainsaw and made a start. I started with the branches, just cutting off the lighter stuff and then working my way down the branches cutting them off in six to nine inch lengths, just a nice length for the fire in the living room. Basically I would just work until the chainsaw ran out of petrol. Then I’d load up what I’d got and take it home and stack it to dry out ready for next winter. I haven’t time to just give a couple of days to the job, but doing it like this means I do eventually get the job done.

When you’re working like this, you initially make a mark. People look at what you’ve done and it really looks as if you’re cracking on. The problem is, when cutting up a tree from the ‘outside’, there’s a ‘lot of empty space’. The branches seem to take up a lot of room but they don’t use much wood whilst they’re doing it.

Then you get to the thick stuff and suddenly the chainsaw is having to work and after half an hour’s cutting there isn’t really a lot to show for it. Another problem is that as the tree fell, it drove some of its branches a couple of feet into the ground. I’ve logged the bits I can get at, but I’m going to have to pull the rest of the branch out with a tractor!

Anyway after a short dry spell it got wet again. Frankly I didn’t fancy cutting up the tree in the rain and wind. Not only that but I dislike using a chainsaw in conditions where things are a bit slippery underfoot. But now the weather has improved again and we’ve got a pleasant settled spell. So this time I had a look at the trunk. Especially the bit closer to the roots. I came to the conclusion I’d logged so many of the branches that when the trunk was cut, the rest of the tree would just stay there rather than rolling. So having sharpened the blade again I made a start on cutting the trunk three or four feet from the original ground level.
Surprisingly it went quite well. I cut a couple of big wedges out of the top side and then worked my way down the sides. One issue was that the tree is thicker than my chainsaw blade is long. So I did one side then had to walk round to the other side to have a go at that. Slowly and a little cautiously I cut down the remaining side. Finally I was through. The trunk didn’t move a full half inch, and not only that, thanks to the way I’d cut it, it didn’t trap the blade.

Somewhat chuffed by this I had somebody fetch the tractor with a fore-end loader on it.  We popped that under the bit of trunk still attached to the roots, and lifted it gently. Slowly it allowed us to right it, and then it dropped back into place. We nudged it a bit with the loader just to make sure it was properly settled. New shoots have been coming up from around the trunk in the last few years anyway and who knows, the trunk itself might put out a few shoots as well. Either way, the tree is back in place. Spring is here, it’s producing buds, and hopefully is going to be a feature for another century or so.


Fills the gap beautifully doesn’t it?


Anyway, if you’re interested, I’ve a new novella out


As a reviewer commented, “Tallis Steelyard entertains the reader with more snippets about Port Naain and it’s diverse characters. Including, but not limited to, a Dead man who rows boats, a demon bearing flowers and an organ playing butcher…”