Not always apparent at first glance, but yes, I’m a treehugger. Axes, saws, splitting mauls, chisels and the permanence of wood dust in home, vehicle and clothing belie my reverence for trees, shrubs and all woody materials. It’s anyone’s guess which was the first tool our distant ancestors picked up, a stick or a stone, but as it was possibly edible, I’ll go with the stick.
In the side yard of a friends place a 70 foot tall Port Orford Cedar had succumbed to a root fungus that is spreading throughout the coastal mountains of California and Oregon, killing many of this specie. Having now become a potential hazard to structures and property, I agreed to take it down. With no clear avenue to drop intact it was necessary to climb, limb, top and cut the trunk section by section till it was safely on the ground. In the following shot my friend dutifully clears below as I cut my way upward, leaving a foot or so of branch still attached to the trunk for hand and footholds. What might first appear to be the trunk sweeping down is actually a branch; there were only so many details I could focus on in the moment and odd perspectives in the viewfinder were way down the totem pole.
Able to drop the last 14 feet of trunk in one piece, yesterday I finished up work on the project. By specially sharpening a chainsaw it is possible to rip tree trunks lengthwise and from that last section several broad planks roughly 2 to 3 inches thick were produced, along with numerous bags of highly aromatic shavings and a months worth of gourmet kindling.
I’d like to thank Tony and Carson; two tree toppers working on a Marbled Murrelet habitat improvement project for the U.S.Forest Service who put me to work marking trees for them my first winter here in the coastal mountains of Oregon. Watching as they scampered up 100 and 150 foot giants to create nesting sites for the endangered and threatened murrelets gave me some ideas…