Busy day yesterday, which you might well of suspected from the lead in. It often is on the Vernal Equinox, regardless of which hemisphere in which one lives. There are a number of chores I'd planned on doing during the winter around here, which didn't get done due to one cause: cold. We've not experienced this cold a winter in quite some time. There are nice things about that, too; likely this put a dent into the population of mosquitoes and fleas, even if we won't think so later on. Keeping outdoor plumbing from freezing, replacing portions of it when it did anyway, and making sure that the (kids primarily) goats stayed snug and out of the wind occupies time.
So cleaning up old dead branch falls, picking up sticks as it were, got postponed until now. Between the Big House and the well there are several young trees growing which are in positions that could threaten either or both the wellhead itself or the power lines leading to the main breaker pole which provides energy to the pump. A mimosa grew big enough that branch tips were beginning to push between the twisted power cables and the bare aluminum suspension which doubles as a ground line. That would be 'earth' for my friends and readers who live places where the power companies use 220 rather than 120.
We like our electric co-operative. The service they provide is regular, the rates no worse than any other power vendor. When weather disrupts service, the outages are generally no more than a couple hours, often better measured in minutes. Even in the hurricane season of '04 the longest stretch of power loss for us went to seven days following Frances. And hey, considering that Frances sat on us for three days over the Labor Day Weekend and truly chewed up this part of North Central Baja Jorja, not bad. Friends in the next county north went nearly a fortnight waiting for Progress Energy to get them back up and running.
However, CFEC does display some quirks occasionally. For example, keeping branches and limbs away from the power lines. They are responsible (they say) only for the portion of the line leading to the pole with the transformer on it, not the line branches off that to the stub pole where it also branches to Big House and Well. Despite the fact that they own those wires also, that they hung them and maintain the stub pole (we're responsible for the two 'power poles' with meters and breaker boxes on them), they do not trim either branches or trees past the transformer pole.
So yeterday, with some caution (Sez I to Myself, Myself we could be doing a Bubba here...) I mapped out the process, cuts to achieve said process, and then cut down that mimosa and three young oaks that were now tall enough that they could fall across either the lines, or onto the wellhead, or worse, onto the House. Only one did not fall in the direction I'd indicated it should, though it did co-operate and not fall onto the House. Whew.
Now, we might of tried transplanting at least the oaks, except they were also growing right alongside the route that the water line takes from wellhead to House and the rest of the Ranch. Trying to get a sufficient root ball up for transplantation would involve that water line. Oh well, oaks. There are three more which must come down as well, which I postponed simply because these are still small, not much taller than myself.
Bringing them down, while elevating anxiety levels enough to make significant effort keeping them off or either those two vital structures, is the 'easy' part of the process. Once a tree is down, it is still alive and all the branches now resting on the ground possess the ability to convert the new growth into roots. They can't be left alone, and require reduction to component parts. Not all of it is large enough to provide firewood. Some of that went to the goats, happy to receive branchlets with oak leaves. Mmmm, candy, om nom nom.
The rest becomes firewood, not being big enough to look for a local sawyer who would convert it to lumber.
In the evening, with this all done, Herself and I cleaned ourselves up and rewarded ourselves with a trip to town, dinner at Chipolte's, and a brief sojourn through Lowe's. Herself made notes for price comparison on seeds for her garden. We purchased some 'stump accelerator' which helps speed up the process of decomposition for those fresh stumps out there. I picked up some replacement blades for the 'sawsall', the style of reciprocating saw I used to bring down the trees yesterday.
Used that saw because it's the biggest functional saw on the Ranch. I'd of preferred the chain saw, even with it being a small one (12" / 30cm blade). It's a Honda electric that I inherited when my Dad died 15 years ago. And, well, now It's Dead, Jim. Which is a shame, because it's a handy saw and would of made getting through those oaks a bit shorter a task.
That's when Herself surprised me. See, for her Vernal Equinox gift I'd picked up a new egg incubator & rocker set. So she got me a 14" electric chainsaw.
Which may not be so surprising, considering there is another three-quarter dozen oaks which put down roots since Frances in Herself's garden out there. Pity those trees.