Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mike and the Genie

October 8, 2017

I'm amazed I can move a muscle this morning. Yesterday, we had a small tree cutting party. Assembled were my cousin John, my honey's sister, nephew, husband, and a friend of the brother-in-law we didn't know. This man, Jake, must be one of the "strangers" mentioned in the Bible. We're cautioned that some people we meet are angels in disguise and Jake fit the bill. We'd never met and yet he came to my home and put in a hard day's work with only a couple of hamburgers and a Pepsi for his pay. 

The tree that needed to come down was a huge oak, about eighty feet tall. Its twin had been felled during Hurricane Isabel back in 2003 so we knew what we were up against. At least this one didn't have all its leaves. We rented a very expensive "cherry picker" and my brother-in-law fearlessly ascended. The boom on this piece of equipment extended eighty feet and he still couldn't reach the very top. 

Mike is a very logical and safe worker. Piece by piece the old oak hit the ground. The ground crew stood safely back, taking pictures while he worked. Our part would begin after he'd completed his task. 

When only the trunk remained, which a local sawmill will get for the lumber, we cleared the ground. Pieces were cut to length to fit into the bucket of the John Deere, operated by my honey, and taken to the corner of the property where we split and stack firewood. We're putting the word out through the family that we have good oak free for the taking. 

That's free as in YOU have to finish cutting, splitting, and hauling it. If we get to where we need it, then we'll need to split it ourselves.  

It was a good day. The job was completed and the worst thing that happened was during one lift, Mike's hat blew off. No one got hurt. The Genie worked without a glitch - the right tool for the job. 

We lost the tops out of a couple of maples, but Mike trimmed the breaks. Those trees will branch back out, but the space left by the old oak will remain open. We plan to throw out a little grass seed and see if it grows. 

It looks a little different with the oak gone. Based on its girth, about ten feet, it was in the range of 100 to 125 years old. It was just a sapling when my family acquired this property. I'm sorry to have lost such a majestic tree, but we move on. Do I worry the tree was a victim of oak wilt, a fungal disease? Yes, I do. There are other equally large oaks on my property. I'll be watching them. This disease kills quickly and as of this writing, I have no idea if it can be prevented. 

This morning it's raining. For us, this is perfect. We have two large brush piles to burn and burning is safest during rainfall. We'll fix our travel mugs, grab our cellphones and treats for Deuce, and hop in the pickup. I'll light the fire and then retire to the truck with my guys. We'll sit in dry comfort and watch the fire. The goal is to let the center burn down and then use the John Deere to push in around the edges. Once that can be done, we'll move to the second brush pile and repeat. 

It might take all afternoon, but I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy day. We tend to have philosophical conversations while sitting in the pickup watching a fire. Even Deuce has his say. After all, what's more important than dog treats? 

Yesterday reminded me of the importance of family, and of doing for each other. My partner's health and mobility issues limit us. Yet with two phone calls we had willing help - and the right help for the job. I'm beyond grateful and I'll continue to give thanks for those good folks. I hope if they need help they'll call on us to go to them and do whatever we're able to do, even if it's to prepare the food for the workers. 

That's the way it works out here on the mountain. 

KC Kendricks
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