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In which I fall out of a tree

I have been terribly lazy about gardening this year, not least because our next-door neighbours, who had been making increasingly desperate attempts to sell their house for the last 6 years or so, finally sold it, making me feel that I no longer needed to feel guilty about the fact that our garden is wild, woolly (and apparently now infested with bunnies...)

Unfortunately it now turns out that the neighbours on the other side are starting to have difficulty getting past our hedge to their house, so action was required.  Never buy a house with a huge expanse of hazel hedging, oh gentle reader.  For hazel is a bounder and will begin as a a neat little thing, not much more than a living fence, and swiftly and with a single bound it will become a vast house-encircling tree.   Although, actually, the hazel is more tolerable than other trees in some respects : it saws very easily when green, and has no prickles.  Holly does not grow so fast, and occurs less often in the hedge, but it is a pain in the arse to cut, being prickly and made of a much more solid wood than hazel.  I personally find the hawthorn, with its long woody spikes, more annoying, but there's not very much of that.  Pp has formed a great loathing for holly,.

There are a couple of sycamores, one of which is so badly positioned, fast growing and impossible to get at to trim that I may break my usual rule and  employ the nuclear option, the small box of stump and root killer which, embarrassingly, lives on a shelf in the utility room for those rare occasions when I have to admit that there is no feasibly organic approach short of explosives... (Are explosives organic?  Maybe they aren't.  I get the impression many gardeners never have to ask themselves this question. )

Usually, my favorite of the hedging trees is the ash, which is easy to cut and burns well green.  "Ash burned wet or ash burned dry is a fire for a king to warm himself by".  (I thought that was from Kipling but the internet seems to think it's from a poem by Celia Congreve. I suspect there are many versions of it).

However, this time around, the ash had got a bit out of hand.  Well, a lot out of hand.  There was this one ash tree which was hard to get at, being at the top of a bank on a wall,  leaning over the lane, and because it was hard to get at, I hadn't touched it for years.  So it had developed from a pointy 'must take the loppers to that' tuft of shoots into quite a big tree.  The moral of this story is: tackle the hard bits first because they just get harder...  We got a rope on it, and I sawed and Pp pulled to get it to come around and fall into the garden without bringing down the phone lines which had become much entwined with its upper twigs.

On the plus side, when it came down, it did not (Almost! But not quite!  Not Quite is important! ) bring the telephone lines with it.  But I came with it, and I fell off the tree and tumbled down the bank. And it fell into the hedge and squished our fence a bit.  It's a good thing I have an amply-padded backside.  Today I have a sore left arm and am covered in scratches.

There is more hedge to do, but we did remove a hell of a lot of it and I think we got almost all the big trees, so once my arm is better and we have dealt death to the badly-placed sycamore, it should be more of a matter of clipping away at things with secateurs than lots of sawing.   We burned all the wood we took off too, which made the entire experience feel rather like a 7-hour attempt to live roleplay Orcs at Isengard.   Oh, and Pp tells me he checked the fire at 3pm today and it's still burning, which means it has burned for about 29 hours...

On various occasions we have looked into trying to pay someone to do this stuff.  Unfortunately because of the telephone wires, which are very close to the top of the hedge, its not really possible to get one of the big farming hedge trimmer gadgets onto the job.  We have occasionally managed to get someone to come once to attack the hedges, but they tend to appear once and then mysteriously prove hard to get hold of, so it's back to the trusty bowsaws for us.  (This sounds like I am asking if anyone can recommend a supply of serviceable orcs :-D )   I think maybe we should have tried to hire a tree surgeon for that one ashtree though.

  I must buy a new bowsaw blade.  The little curved saw that we got with the vouchers sent to us by Wickes as an apology for the mysteriously appearing doors has proved very nifty though. It's not quite as good as the big bowsaw for powering through tree, but it's ideal for odd branches that you can't quite reach properly and need to hook the saw over for maximum cuttingness.

I should have taken a before and after photo!  Oh well.    The apple tree that is just to the North of where the big ash loomed will be very pleased to be getting more light, I think.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
31st Jul, 2016 17:20 (UTC)
That's quite a daunting story. I am glad you didn't break anything falling out of the tree. People get tickets around Brooklyn for letting trees interfere with phone lines or similar things. Not my problem! That's part of what I pay my landlord for!
31st Jul, 2016 20:15 (UTC)
Now I have this image of people getting a licence to keep a tree :-)
31st Jul, 2016 20:24 (UTC)
Not precisely! But they are fined for messy or obstreperous trees.
31st Jul, 2016 20:26 (UTC)
I sometimes feel that 99% of my trees are messy or obstrepherous or (mostly) both. Fortunately that's normal for Cornwall :-D
31st Jul, 2016 17:28 (UTC)
Ouch! I hope the bruising isn't too bad.

Ashes do that. You suddenly look around and find out that the tiny sapling you have been meaning to deal with is an enormous tree with elves living in it...

31st Jul, 2016 21:37 (UTC)
I have a huge bruise on my right arm, but that doesnt' hurt at all! The left arm hurts but of course there is no external sign of it at all. But it's improving, I expect it will be fine in a couple of days.

Hmm. I wonder if the elves threw me off the bank (although frankly I think I am capable of doing that for myself without the help of elves)
1st Aug, 2016 09:25 (UTC)
I realy, realy do hope you'll get better soon, but... (helpless giggle) "7-hour attempt to live roleplay Orcs at Isengard", " I wonder if the elves threw me off the bank" )))
Congrats on winning this battle.
2nd Aug, 2016 21:04 (UTC)
Well, we haven't won yet. The trees will get a rematch at the weekend! I just hope that any elves joining them in battle will have dwindled a LOT.
3rd Aug, 2016 08:15 (UTC)
Oh, no - you've won the battle! Just... not the war, right? :)
31st Jul, 2016 18:03 (UTC)
Are explosives organic?

I will be pondering this for quite some time.

Congrats on removing the tree without serious injury.
31st Jul, 2016 21:41 (UTC)
Maybe it depends what the explosives are made from. I am disinclined to experiment though, as the roots of the sycamore are a bit near the house for creating a crater.
1st Aug, 2016 02:01 (UTC)
Many are. Many aren't. Just check the compound used. . . .

Of course, I'm the sort who will assure you that if it's food, and neither water nor salt, it's organic.
1st Aug, 2016 03:22 (UTC)
1st Aug, 2016 14:31 (UTC)
If it has a carbon, a hydrogen, and an oxygen, it's organic. ;-)
2nd Aug, 2016 21:06 (UTC)
A reasonable distinction for the eater, but the more finicky food labelling approaches not based on chemistry so much as vaguer philosophical principles do seem to make quite a big difference to the eatee.

My main concern mostly though is 'is it good for bees'. I am very pro-bee.
31st Jul, 2016 23:07 (UTC)
Well done on the tree job, it sounds like it was very complicated; hope you heal quickly too. But Ashes o love to zoom up.
2nd Aug, 2016 21:07 (UTC)
Mostly it was not so much complicated as bloody hard work, but I think we should have hired someone to do the complicated bit. Easy to say that in retrospect, of course.
1st Aug, 2016 14:36 (UTC)
We have a mature elm which is threatening to fall on the power and telephone lines that run from the pole to the house. Unfortunately it's the sort of thing for which professional tree people are required.
1st Aug, 2016 23:14 (UTC)
Are explosives organic?

That is indeed the question.
4th Aug, 2016 19:53 (UTC)
I hope you aren't too sore.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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