Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plant problems

My husband went out of town yesterday. I didn't go with him. It would have been nice, but I'm probably stuck here until further notice, because of the plants.

This week (and probably some of next week too) in particular I am stuck here because I'm waiting on another package of live plants. I worry even about going to the grocery store, that I'm going to be gone too long and I'll miss the package, and that extra time being in a box without enough water will damage or kill the plants. Being gone for two or three days is obviously out of the question.

And it's not like I really needed to go out of town, but originally it was just for the one day, and it would have been nice, just to get away for a bit.

And then some really annoying things happened.

He'd thought that he was going to a suburb of Oklahoma City. Suburbs of Oklahoma City were hit by tornadoes, so we wondered if the job would be cancelled. Turns out that the job wasn't where he thought it was, and he had to leave the day before. So we went to lunch, and he left right after that.

Turns out that we'd been to this place before, but I don't remember it. After a while, you forget a lot of places. But I guess when we were there before, we'd noticed a few things that we wanted to do if we were ever in the area again and had more time. Like, now would have been a good time, if I weren't stuck at home, mostly because of waiting on this package.

Well, he probably won't want to do any of that stuff without me, so he'll be coming home tomorrow.

And now about the battles with tree limbs.

Well, it would have been nice to finish up with the garden and such for the year. It just gets too hot, and I don't like to work on it much after April, and so I had planned to stop all of the major work the first week of May. And then the weather changed, so that it seemed very cool again, even though it wasn't raining as much as I had expected. So, I thought, as long as the weather permits, I should do more work.

After having tried a couple of times to cut down two trees growing too close to the back fence, the trees grew back at odd angles, and some branches grew through the fence and did some minor damage. That is one of the reasons I bought a reciprocating saw last year, so that I could cut the limbs that start growing too close to the fence. So I had some work to do just for that, and a few weeks ago I decided to get started on it.
I had tried the saw last year, but I didn't really use it much. It's not bad. I just have trouble with physical work in general, and after using tools I need a rest. My hands ache. I have to shake it off, literally. So after sawing off the small limbs that would have caused us trouble later, I gave the saw and myself a rest.

After going back into the house and putting the saw away, I noticed that my right hand was swelling up. I did not quite look like young Captain Kirk having an allergic reaction to a vaccination, but one hand was noticeably larger than the other for a bit. Odd. I don't remember having that reaction using the saw last year, but I didn't use it much last year.

Anyway, the problem went away, and I decided to try it again the next day. Again my hands and arms hurt, but more what I had expected, and I didn't notice that much swelling.

After getting done with what absolutely had to be done I cut down some dead branches. And after that went well, I decided to keep going and just cut down the whole tree. I was planning on doing that at some point anyway, so I might as well get started now. And then at a certain point, it does seem like a lot of work, but it's better to keep going that to stop and have half a tree.

So I've cut all the branches off of the first tree, leaving the main trunk, which is really going to be a lot of work with my little saw. But, it will have to be my little saw, or combination of the saw and a small axe, because I'm afraid of chain saws. Or else, I will just have to leave it the way it is, checking once in a while to remove new growth.

I tied up some of the smaller pieces for trash removal, and then I went on to cut down the second tree. This mostly went well, until the last of the main branches, which was too big to get in one cut, and also slightly leaning in the wrong direction, and would possibly get caught in power lines or phone lines or whatever they are.

It took a while, but I got a lot of the second tree cut down, until there was just the main branch left. And it was leaning slightly in the direction of a power line, or a phone line, or cable or something. Anyway, instead of making a straight cut, I made this sort of V cut pointing away from the direction I would rather the branch fell, thinking that if that works with trunks that are straight, maybe a really big V cut would still work on this branch that wasn't quite straight.
But after a lot of work making cuts on the branch, I figure out that my plan isn't going to work. So I'm thinking if I make an even bigger V and get some rope or something and pull in the direction I want the thing to fall, maybe that would work. I've cut almost halfway through, but it doesn't want to budge, so I go back in the house to look for the some rope and get my husband to help. He says he's about to take a shower and will help right after that.

I hear a noise.

I go back outside, and that branch that would budge earlier is now starting to lean over, and not in a good direction.

I yell for my husband to skip the shower.

My husband comes out and looks at the branch which is breaking and now leaning on the line of whatever it is. Other branches I cut did the same thing, but they were much smaller and came loose without too much trouble. This branch is heavy, even though I cut it far away from the rest of the tree, about level with my head. My husband climbs a bit of the tree to get a better look, and tells me to cut where the branch splits off into smaller branches.

Like, if I could have reached that high, I would have done that to start with.

So he's telling me to hand him the saw and he'll do it.

He's never used this saw at all, and just doesn't get how that's a bad idea. The thing shakes a lot, even with both your feet planted firmly on the ground. You can't use the thing at an odd angle while you're trying to balance on a tree.
If I had to do this over again, I would get the step ladder and stand on top of that while I had someone holding onto my legs and I would cut the smaller branches first. But at the time that looked like a silly thing to do and it would have taken a long time.

So I tell him to get off of the tree, and I'll just keep cutting the branch the way it is. Maybe he can stand under it and push it away as it falls?

So that's what we do, and it sort of works the way I pictured it in my head. Only when the branch comes loose it just seems to fall really fast, and I'm thinking, that was dumb, I just told my husband to stand under a falling tree. But he says he isn't hurt, and the branch is free and we get it off of the line pretty quick.

So I didn't quite get that last one right, and into the lines it went, but nothing broke, and I can't tell that anything is wrong because of it. I don't know what the line is for, but the power is still on, the phone still works, and the Internet still works. After getting the branches off of the lines, that one line hangs very low. It might cause me problems later.

Working on another outdoor project now. Since I don't have money for a storage shed, but I do have this cement slab where one used to be, I built this thing to hold up an 8x4 piece of plastic lattice. To one side of that is a fence that used to have plants that blocked view, behind it is the original wall of the house, and to the other side a bit farther away is a wall to the added on room of the house. So the junk on the slab used to mostly be blocked from view, because of the vines on the fence, which aren't thick enough now for that. So I'm building another thing to which I will add lattice next week when I get more money. So that's what I was building today. Forgot about the low line, didn't see it, and while hammering some boards together got caught on it. Again, didn't seem to do any damage to anything, and the power is still on, phone still works, etc....

Anyway, when I get that done, the junk will be mostly blocked from view except on one side, and you can only see that from a certain angle if you are in my yard or my next door neighbor's yard, or in the alley just behind them. In other words, after I put the lattice up and put all the junk back on the cement slab, most people won't see the majority of the junk unless they are out looking for it.

And I suppose that I could spend another thirty or forty dollars and build a third wall. But that is not planned for now.

Anyway, the backyard is full of branches, as I have now cut down most of two trees. My hands hurt from using the saw, so I am mostly resting now. But I will have to cut the branches into smaller pieces, and then I will put them out a little at a time for the trash collection. I would rather do something else, as it seems a waste, but I haven't had any better ideas. I would think that some people who do ren faires would maybe like walking sticks or wizard staffs, but I don't have any way of getting the branches to them, and I can't have an open invitation for them to come here either. So I think that it will be a month or so of slowly getting rid of these branches by putting a few at a time out for regular trash collection.

Glad most of the hard part is over.

Still can't do anything interesting. I'm still waiting on that package of live plants.

1 comment:

Ananda girl said...

I dislike waiting for things like that. It really does get in the way.

My hands and feet will both swell if I do anything they are not used to doing. Like the first few times I wear flip flops my big and second toe swell, then they get used to it and things are great. Weird how that happens.

We just had our cherry trees trimmed away from the wires. My father-in-law was using his electric tree saw... which is like a weed whacker with a small, far less frightening version of a chain saw on an extended handle that keeps you a safe distance from your cuts. Its an idea anyway. Fairly light and easy to handle too.

Unfortunately, he could not get high enough in the tree to get them. We ended up hiring a tree guy to finish it. It did cost us 200, but the guy also used a chipper to make bark chips that we were able to use in the yard. And it gave us firewood once it is seasoned. Not a bad deal when you consider how much the bark chips and firewood would cost and we do use both.