Friday Firesmith – Chainsaw

It’s not a question if you’re afraid of a chainsaw, the real question being are you afraid enough? Saturday morning one of my oldest friends asked me to help her cut up a couple of trees that had fallen, and one of them was a giant limb from a Tung Oil tree. Tung Oil was what they put in paints to create a more beautiful finish on wood before the whole world turned into one massive petroleum product market. There are still relics of groves of these trees, and I’ve always thought they were beautiful. But to be perfectly honest, I think all trees are beautiful.

It’s a nightmarish situation, for someone trying to use a chainsaw. The limb is bent and grew twisted, with one sub-branch curving up and away from the main trunk of the limb. Worse, infinitely worse, the whole area is thick with vines, old vines, new vines, wild grape vines, wisteria vines, skinny vines, and one as thick as my wrist just out of reach. It is wrapped into the crown of the branch and we have no idea which way the pressure lies.
We start cutting small pieces off the ends. It will reduce weight and therefore release pressure. The big limb had fallen on a small tree, and we cut until the tree can come back upright, but it doesn’t.

Hmmm, there was no pressure there at all. That’s cool. We cut the big vine with a pole saw. It falls without consequence. Gosh, this turned out to be easier than we thought. We trim a branch here and there, and there doesn’t seem to be any hidden points of pressure anywhere else.

It’s hot, very hot, and there’s a never-ending cloud of gnats. There are yellow flies, the aggressive and evil type, that land and bite, testing a person’s reflexes. We finally talk about taking the sub-branch out, to see what will happen. We make the cut, but the branch is suspended in midair because of the vines.

At this point, with that branch removed from the main branch, the worries are over; there’s nothing left to fear.

Yet it’s never a question if you are lucky enough to be good, the real question is this one, and if you cut with a chainsaw, ask yourself this: Are you good enough to be lucky? I’m trying to pull the smaller limb down from the vines, and everything is going well. My friend is cutting the vines with the pole saw. I reposition. I move closer to the end of the branch and put a smaller tree in between the branch and myself. There really is no reason to do this, because the pressure is off, but I like the idea of being…
The branch separates from the butt end falls six inches, and the whole damn thing rolls faster than I can type it. The end where we had just cut the sub-branch hits the tree I’m behind and both of us stop and stare.
“How the &^% did that happen?” We both say this at the same time.

We still don’t know. We both thought it was on the ground. It looked like it was. If I had stayed where I was, this would have been a much more interesting story.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

11 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Chainsaw”

  1. I remember you used a ax on trees that’s too much work for me I am kinda good with a chainsaw

  2. Trees you can trust, chainsaws are just tools, but vines are lurking, coiled, watching, waiting for a moment of inattention to unleash their pent up rage. They’ll trip you, crush you, and choke the life from your entangled corpse.

  3. When we tore down our old fence it was engulfed in vines as are the trees in my neighbors (junk)yard. They all encroached on my fence and yard. I’m constantly cutting them down (and up) just to keep them outta my yard. I’ve mostly used clippers but some are so big I use a reciprocating saw, or sawzall, on them.

      • I have no idea, Mike. I don’t know weeds from flowers unless I see a bloom. I’ve been known to mow down my wife’s plants. If it doesn’t have rocks or a border of some kind it’s fair game for my mower.

  4. We have those big vines between the fence in the lot behind me. When I first moved in here 3 years ago it had been unattended for so long it looked like an unfinished game of Jumanji back there. The neighbors to the left of me finally bought the land and turned it into a garden, there were vines back there as big as my calves. It’s literally what was holding up parts of the fence. They’ve turned it into a beautiful place to go sit and have a conversation, and look at the garden growing. Plus, her sister is going to live on the other side so that’s convenient, there’s a path between their houses now, with a big garden in between.

    • Chick, when I first moved here the back acre was overrun with vines. I put up a fence for the dogs, and the Southwest corner was one massive vine tangle. I rolled them up in a huge ball and pushed the entire mess into a fire. That was impressive as hell, actually.

  5. If you can arrange it a vine fire is quite impressive, they all seem to be extremely flammable, and juicy for the snap, crackle, and pop.


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