Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Lumberjacks at Dawn

The lumberjacks were too jovial for eight o'clock in the morning.  There were four of them, three men and a woman.  "He's Ben and he's Ken," the leader of the pack introduced his team.  "And you can call me Jen,"said the lady.  "And I'm Zen," said Nigel.  The humour was almost too much to take at that time of day.  "We'll have four cups of tea, white, one sugar.  That's not how we take our tea but it makes it easier."

They were here to despatch the Leylandii.  A difficult decision, as I have said before.  They shielded us and absorbed the traffic noise, providing homes for wildlife and a widdling post for Sprocket.  But they were dead and raggedy on the inside.  The arboriculturalist didn't like them and nor did the lumberjacks.  We'd plucked up our courage and given the word: off with their heads.

We were out a folk festival that day.  Yes, we're that kind of people.  But before we left we were sat in a row in the breakfast room watching the spectacle through the window.  Who needs 'Tumble' when you can have lumberjacks at dawn?  (BBC programme about gymnastics.  No, I didn't watch it either!) Ben dangled from the thinnest branches, hauling his entire body weight up by his arms.  The trees weren't easy.  Not a single trunk but numbers of trunks, like a very complicated candelabra.  They strimmed the trees of twigs first.  Then began cutting back the trunks until we were left with a cactus-like structure made of wood.  They left it standing, to be 'timbered' later and started on the second tree, but it all took longer than expected so they had to leave the job half done to return another day.

In the meantime, Ben had a virus which caused vertigo.  Not great for a lumberjack.  So it was a couple of weeks before they came back.  Again, I was out so didn't get to watch.  But I came back to piles and piles of logs, massive rounds of wood and so much space and light.  As it turned out, both trees were dangerous with branches rubbing against one another and wearing away so that a gale force wind was highly likely to bring one down and, along with it, the current kitchen.

With the trees gone, we have a large space for a kitchen garden and, of course, more fruit trees.  We have two damsons-in-waiting, ready to be planted.  But a lot of work to do first.  S is going to cut the logs into usable, storable sections.  Then we have to find somewhere to store them.  And move the stones that we piled there following the wall saga.  Then we can start work on the soil, trying to replenish it ready for planting.  And dig up the concrete under the gravel to give a straight line across to the 'orchard'.  The loss of the trees is a step forward in terms of creating the garden in my head but there is still so much work to do.

Preparing for Action
Did I Leave a Lumberjack up that Tree?
Strimming the Tree Down to Basics
Revealing all the Trunks
A Closer View
The Bare Bones Revealed
Starting on the Second Tree
Both Trees Strimmed
The Cactus Tree
And More Logs
A Half Cut Tree
Can You Guess?
About 35 Years Old
Hard to Grasp the Size - About Three Feet in Diameter!
Add caption
The Cactus Tree with a Pigeon on Top

And Logs

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