Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cutting Down the Trees...

About a month ago we FINALLY took out our awful trees! These suckers were huge! We estimated they were about 80 feet tall. We'd finally had it with them. It was a constant worry with heavy snow warnings and high wind storms. Not to mention, they were so messy. I don't know why someone would plant Chinese elms, but as of today, we are rid of them!! 
First we had to start with tearing down our log fence. It broke my heart watching that come down. Jared built that about 8 years ago with pine logs we got from my great uncle for $2 dollars each! We, along with everyone else, loved our fence. That's how everyone knew it was our house.

Jim's track hoe made it easy to move the fence.

We all had to watch them unload the 40 foot lift we rented to take these trees down. Yes folks, we took them down ourselves. So much cheaper!

My brother Jim isn't fond of heights as is Jared and me, but Jim did start on the lower part of the trees Friday night.

Aren't they just the cutest! Cody and Hunter didn't want any branches falling on their heads so they put on their 4-wheelin' helmets.

T.J.'s last time climbing the tree out front.

My cute dad taking the power down to our house. The power company has told us for 2 years now that when we take our trees down, to call them and they'd come take the line down. So Jared calls them and they say they don't work on Saturdays so to come out, take it down, and then come back out, we were looking at $560 dollars! Talk about trying to help us out (can you hear the sarcasm!) So my dad, who does a lot in electrical, said it was no big deal to take it down himself. Said the line was insulated and he also wore insulated gloves so he jumped up there and took it down. I must say I was extremely nervous during this!!
The phone company was stupid, too. They were going to charge us $25 dollars for every 15 minutes they were there to take the line down from our house and put it back up. Plus they didn't take down the main line out front that sat right underneath all the trees. But the worker who came showed Jared how to unhook it from our house saying to just let a branch hit it, rip it off the house, and then they'd have to come out and hook it up again for free. Jared ended up taking it down and putting it up again all by himself.
Our Internet company on the other hand was so nice. They came and took our line down and scheduled it themselves to come back out that Sunday to put it back up. At least there's still some decent people who want to help.
Jared holding the hot power line as they took it down. Ya, nerves were running very high!

Cody and Hunter had fun finding little "Forts" in the big branches that had fallen as we trimmed some of the trees on the south side of our house. These branches covered our driveway pretty good. Now we actually have sun in our driveway.

Jim and my Dad. Look how huge these trees are!
Cherie's dad Willie came by to check it out. He and her mom Renee live just down the street from us and are our boys other "Grandparents".

My dad gave this vest to T.J. to wear. Too cute!

The boys couldn't wait to go up in the lift. We had a few extras as well, my nephew Teegan and their friend Brodie. They didn't take the boys up as high as it could go (of course). They just went about 15 feet at first. Scared Cody to death. Poor kids afraid of heights like Jared and I. But what's funny, Cody's the one that always wanted to go again.

Friday night before they finished for the day, they cut down a huge branch that hung across the driveway. This one scared me to death. There was a good chance it would hit the house. They tied a rope to it and that's Jared trying to pull it over. I had to walk away. I was almost out to the tack room by the horses with my ears plugged and I could STILL hear it crack and hit the ground. Jared's mom Carrie and Cherie, my sister in law, were watching. They said it was a good thing I didn't watch that one. It was pretty close to hitting the house. Aaah!

This picture doesn't do it justice as to how big this branch was! We cleaned that all up and called it a day.

Jim's track how made the clean-up so easy. He used the bucket and the "Thumbnail" to pick up almost everything.
Hooking the power line back up. Can you see Jared poking his head in the picture? My dad was freezing! It had started to snow on us a couple of times but luckily didn't last long.

Saturday morning we told everyone to come at 8. We woke up that morning to SNOW! Our luck, of course! Luckily the couple of inches we got through the night melted pretty fast and they got started. Jared, Jim and Jared's brother Trevor all began working. We did it this weekend on purpose because Trevor isn't afraid of heights and was willing to get up as high as he could to cut them down. We had to wait until he was done with fireman school and before he gets married, so April 30th was perfect.
Jared's brother Trevor. I think he looks like a fireman already being up there in that harness.

Trevor's fiance Jaimi

Looks different already.

Willie came over that morning to help. He spent the rest of the day controlling that lift while Trevor or Chris Kent used the chainsaw. Willie helped a lot. Said he loves doing this kind of stuff. Heights don't bother him either. Wish I could say that.
My poor arch. One of the big trunks that Trevor cut landed right on this. Not much we could have done to save it though.

A view from the side of our yard. Helps put into perspective just how big these trees really were.

The kids all watching the trees come down. My job that day was to make sure all the kids were out of the way of falling branches and the skid steer and track hoe. Watching 7 kids with all this going on was not easy. I was supposed to go to a shower for Jaimi that afternoon, but there was no way I could leave these kids.

Taking a break for lunch. We got a bunch of pizzas.

The boys being their creative selves. Out working with the posts from the fence we took down and Cody whittling away on a little stick.

Chris loaded up his skid steer with stumps. We made a pile of these in the back yard. Most of it will be fire wood. We are going to make some fun big pumpkins with these, too.

I let the boys tear up our driveway to keep them busy. Whoever lived here before layed a thin layer of asphalt over the cement. It was always breaking apart and making a mess every time we swept or shoveled the driveway. So we put the boys to work getting rid of it. They had a blast.
Watching from across the street. That's Jared's brother Justin and Cody holding his cousin Kai.
They loaded the big heavy tree trunks onto Chris's trailer and in the dump truck and hauled them to the dump.

This thing was huge. Made a lovely hole in the grass as it hit the ground.

Look at Chris. I think he's crazy. It made me so nervous watching him do this without a harness on. But he said he felt a lot safer in the lift then when he has to climb the trees to take them down.

Of course the boys had to climb the pile of branches while they weren't adding to it for a bit.

Me, Cody and Kai. Cody wasn't too happy to have his picture taken.

Jared's uncle Dave came to help that afternoon. He did a lot in the 2 hours he could help.

When that huge stump fell it made a huge hole in the grass. Could see a big root, probably about 6 inches around, from this tree. This was the biggest tree. My father-in-law, Clare, said he counted 98 rings when we took out the lower part of the stump. Crazy how old this was. No wonder they were starting to break apart and drip sap everywhere.
When part of this big tree came down, it crashed right on a small pine tree we had. We blame that on Chris. He's the one who cut it. But the good thing was we didn't loose any of the 3 quakies we have growing out front. We thought for sure we'd loose the one out front. At least we'll have some shade from those in a few years. We also got about 6 more to plant out front but those will take about 4 or 5 years to feel good shade from. Once they tap into that ditch, it won't take too long.
See... there's the hole. This was one of the biggest ones then they went down in size. We also had a bunch of sticks that were in bedded in the grass. Dave pulled most of those out but warned us not to walk barefoot for a while.

Sunday was a day to play on the lift. It wasn't scheduled to be picked up until Monday morning. The boys went up about 5 more times with Jim and Jared.

And.... I even went up! 3 times!! With Jared and Jim. I only went as far as 20 feet and then I felt like I was going to freak out. I could barely look down. I held on so tight and didn't let go. I was so close to screaming, but I did it!
The view of our yard out back from the lift. Jared had to take this picture for me.

Look at them. They are so brave! Puts their mom to shame. Cody did really good by Sunday. He wasn't hyper ventilating like he was Saturday. He was so cute. He woke up extra early Monday morning to get a couple rides in before school.

Jim took Cody and T.J. up on the roof. Their first time up there.

Cleaning up the yard. These boys worked hard.

Jim was awesome. He came over for 3 days straight to help get it cleaned up. Jared and the boys were out there with him. And Cherie even came one day, too.

We left the main part of the stump until we had some time to take them out after all the work with the lift was done. So one afternoon Jim, my Dad, & Jared took the 4 big stumps out. Took about 2 and a half hours.

This was the worst stump. By far the biggest. Jared had the chainsaw cut all the way around and it wouldn't budge. So they chipped out a section and took the chainsaw to it again. Jared had to get below the stump to do a lot of the cutting. Made me very nervous thinking about that stump falling. But Jim's track hoe held it up.

Look how wide it is with the boys standing next to it. This is the one Clare counted 98 rings on.

Hunter helping the guys.

Isn't this pretty wood for being a crappy tree?!

Instead of chopping up the stumps, we are drilling holes in them and filling it with root killer. These tree roots are wrapped around the cement pipes that the ditch water runs through so we have to take it easy as not to break them all up. Cody and T.J. helped Jared drill the holes.

I filled the holes with the poison. Then you add water and it does it's thing. By the next day it was already looking lighter in color.

The kids loved the sawdust. They collected a ton of it. Called it their "pixy dust".

We did a dinner for all those who came to help. We smoked pork butts and did pulled pork sandwiches with homemade BBQ sauce, pasta salad, dutch oven baked beans, chips, and cookies. So yummy!

Cody and Hunter set up a stand to "sell" drinks to everyone.

We even had a princess come. Jaimi won 2nd attendant last year and was passing off the crown after dinner.

The kids love the huge wood pile we have left and loved to play on it. Clare had some Tongans haul all the small stuff away so now we're stuck with everything else for a while. Lots of firewood!

Dave even found a "club" in the wood pile to play golf.

The boys new playground. When the pipe stays still it's a nice little slide for them.

I know this post is forever long (took me 4 days to write it!), but this was a huge thing for us. A big experience taking out 3 big trees and one smaller one. We are so thankful to everyone to helped us. And we are happy to report that the house and everyone was safe!! The sidewalk out front got broke up a bit, but it's not bad. Now to fix the neighbors mailbox that got hit and the pipe around our water meter that got smashed. But the good news... my Dad's chainsaw survived being crushed.  :) Not sure how that happened, but it did.

It's crazy how much it's changed around here now. Our yard and driveway stays much cleaner. We don't have to go out and pick up sticks after every little bit of wind that comes through here, and knowing Bluffdale, we get a lot. Plus, with no shade now, our house really heats up with that big window out front. We got our swamp cooler working that next week after the trees came out. But the good thing is we might just get some flowers to bloom now. Before there was almost constant shade. This is a new experience here, but a good one.

No comments:

Post a Comment