My eventful day
This was kind of a big weekend. Two big trees got taken down from beside my cabin, and then I got stuck in a cherry picker 25 feet in the air.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Tree #1 was a maple, about 60 feet high and 6 feet around at the base. It was starting to drop limbs (maples are called “The Widowmaker” for this reason) and it was only about 10 feet away from my cabin and the neighbor’s front porch.
The maple was cut down on Sunday. First, the logging guys used the cherry picker to take off all the limbs. Then they hooked up a line from the bare trunk to their pickup truck and used this as a guideline. One guy pulled on it using the truck, while the other guy cut the base with a chainsaw. Here’s video of the maple going down.
Here’s the cut base. It is 17″ across. Pretty decent size.
Once it was down, the reason for its problems became obvious. It’s like a bad tooth, rotten at the core. Inside is black, damp, crumbly stuff.
Interestingly enough, this stuff is entirely odorless. Wouldn’t you expect it to either smell bad like sickness, or humus-y like compost? But no.
While the guys worked on cutting up the maple, the neighbor/landlord used the cherry picker to work on the siding of her house.
I begged off this job, because I am not great with heights. See how high the roof is? Remember that roof line.
Today, the guys came back to take down the redwood. This is a tree about 80 feet tall which had grown until it was rubbing against the siding of my cabin. Here’s video of the redwood coming down.
Sorry, tree. It’s not your fault, but you had to go.
The assistant had to go run an errand for several hours. But the neighbor/landlord wanted to get max usage out of the cherry picker, because it costs $250/day to rent. The clock was ticking. So I agreed to go up in the basket and help her.
That’s the edge of the roof, below my feet.
I was not doing very well with this. Being up in the basket is a lot like being on a ferris wheel, except the basket can move on four axes (in/out, up/down, left/right, swivel), and you are standing up, and it is being manipulated by someone who has had a brief 30-second walk-through on the controls and is not super great at remembering which one goes in which direction and how fast.
It is also – strangely – claustrophobic. The basket is only about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, and there are two of you in there, and there is no way down.
Then it got stuck.
It ran out of gas and got stuck.
Up there above the roof, with birds swooping by below, swaying slightly in the breeze (because the boom arm was at full extension). The assistant had returned by then, so he called the rental agency and was informed that the rental guy would be here “soon” with more diesel, but that it could take “several hours” for the engine to restart.
I could feel the panic, building up like a bubble at the base of my throat. PUT ME DOWN.
Luckily I had brought my iPhone with me, so I was able to keep distracted by posting things on Twitter and checking email and fiddling with my Instagram settings. If you ever find yourself stuck 25 feet in the air in a cramped metal basket, I highly recommend having one on hand.
The rental guy showed up, and the machine started right away. But he was a total dick and did a rough job of maneuvering the basket down to the ground just to make a point. I kept my mouth shut and played it cool, because I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction.
I chatted with everyone for a few minutes then casually strolled back to my cabin and cried for a while and now here I am and I AM NEVER LEAVING THE GROUND AGAIN.