Yesterday was our Friday morning work party. One of two, the other being Tuesday morningS. ‘Twas the day when Dan was determined to get those branches down off that sassafras tree that took a beating during that amazingly stormy rainy night a few weeks ago, likely due to heavy mass of vines that had colonized it.
He’d already done some work on the project, but yesterday was the day he was utterly determined to finish the job. Keep in mind that Dan has no insurance and was working with a 30-foot long saw furnished by neighbor Devin, who said that it would probably take 100 to 150 saws back and forth to get that one branch down.
Armed with that information, Dan went with the rest of us into the garden. And while the rest of us were bucolically weeding . . .
— he began, as each of us would surreptitiously stop to glance nervously at him, shout unwelcome advice, shoo the dogs away from below, etc.
Yep. that branch took at least 150 cuts, with Dan’s shoulders taking the brunt of the pain.
And when it did fall, it just narrowly missed him.
Okay, one more branch. It just has to go. Sweating. Take off shirt first. Okay, here goes. The first of how many cuts would this one take?
New strategy: go on outside of fence, place long ladder on side of tree. Put tee shirt on again before climbing the ladder, with helpers Marita and Joseph securing the ladder..
Me: “Is the tree itself moving?” “NO.” (Whew!)
Andreas (whose head is below, looking up) —
— called to me: go check out Schulte! He’s curled up in a basket! Good idea. Distract me for a second or two . . .
How many saws later? How many in total? 750? Unbelievably hard work, and still that second branch refused to sever itself from the suffering tree. Okay. New strategy, get a rope.
I was not there for the end, damn it! But what happened is that Dan took a break, before resuming, and instead, young Ethyl grabbed that rope, ran 20 feet east, and began to strongly swing with her arms, back and forth, back and forth. And YES! That drat branch cracked and gave way.
Ethyl, the victorious, riding on the back of Dan’s excruciatingly hard work.
P.S. Dan, 29, is in his Saturn Return, very much a time when one needs to learn how to bring to bear all one’s determination and focus for an extended period of painful labor.
Ethyl, 21, has this travail to look forward to.
Now we’ll have to cut up all the logs and decide what to do with the result. Another hugelkulture bed somewhere?