Feature Stories

Cuttin’ Wood

In March, we awoke to see our beloved, 60-foot fir tree lying across half of the backyard. As good in death as life, it missed the house and harmed only the two crabapple trees we planted last summer. What I should have done after finishing breakfast was call Mike, our tree guy. What I did instead was go downstairs and inspect my saws and lopper before going out to examine the situation.

It was a bright, sunny day in the low teens with a gusting wind so, I bundled up and made my way to the tree. It didn’t look so big from the middle of the branches, which probably boosted my confidence.

The first thing to do was to clear things off the crabapple trees. I sawed, while Kelly, my wife, pruned and pulled things out of my way. We started out with a bow saw, loppers, and pruner. This went pretty well for an hour and a half. Then my wife started pretending she wasn’t exhausted. Well, I called a halt so we could go in and warm up with a cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and never blame her for being ten years younger than me. It’s just that the decade difference provides me with greater discretion. You’d never see me working until she can’t keep up; it wouldn’t be considerate. It is just such thoughtfulness that inspired me to take a nap instead of going right back at that tree. This spared her making some excuse about not being tired.

The next day, we went back out, but this time I brought the big cross-cut saw with one-inch teeth. “She’s sharp,” I told my wife just before asking her to get me a band-aid. Very impressive for a saw I hadn’t used since the Clinton Administration. Anyway, we’d taken off enough limbs that it was time to cut into the trunk where it was about a foot thick. I’ve got to confess I was disappointed in that saw — it didn’t cut nearly as fast as I remember it doing.

By the third day, we’d taken off about 10 feet from the tip. We’d piled up the branches according to size and I was nearly done with that first cut with my big saw. Only several more inches to go, so I decided we should break after about half an hour’s work to rest up for a really hard day’s work tomorrow.

Somehow a week slipped by, and then another without our getting back to the tree. Too bad, as I’m feeling much better now and would like to get at it, but rain is in the forecast. I don’t want to get my saw wet, and March started to slip by much faster than expected. Anyway, Mike, the tree guy, has been by and he said nearly taking off that 10 feet should save us a few dollars, so I’ll probably just let him do the rest. I don’t want to take a chance on the missus getting hurt.

Scott Funk lives, works, and writes (and gardens) in Vermont.  His Boomer Funk columns are available at VermontFunk.com, as are his blogs and archived Aging in Place columns.

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