Please bear with me while I try a few blog themes. I’m looking for one with a font that can render the unusual characters I sometimes use, nice highlights to make thing obvious and a reasonable reading and photo-viewing experience.
Who could forget the tragic but heart-warming story of my tree that couldn’t stay up and of the nice SES personnel in their highly-visible clothing and filthy boots who made it all better.
The aftermath was a pile of branches that were too big to be munched by my chipper, arranged neatly over my back fence. I had every intention of moving it to the nearby green waste site where the carbon would have been most welcome. However, this was looking like several trips as neither of my cars had a tow bar. Oddly I couldn’t think of anyone I knew who had a ute. My station wagon might be OK, but the longer branches would be a challenge.
Until one day I returned from work to find the lot was gone. All that was left was a single, small branch and the leaves that had fallen from them.
That tree brought a lot of shade and privacy to the back of the house. The footpath behind isn’t used much but enough to discourage naturalistic tendencies with the curtains drawn. The other huge change is in the temperature. The back yard was often 10C° cooler than the front on a hot day and since I had managed to prune the branches high enough for me to walk under, it was a nice space.
Today’s jobs started with chipping the branches that were small enough to fit through my trusty Ryobi. Amazing to see a pile of branches the size of a small car reduce to the size of 2 pillows just by slicing it thinly enough. Already starting to warm up in the hot sun the pile was the perfect carbon to balance the nitrogen in my Aerobin® compost solution.
DISCLOSURE: The Aerobin produces more CO2 than other compost methods but none of the methane.
Next job was the fence. The fence posts are rotten at the bottom so there’s little support. I was astonished that the fence hadn’t given way but had actually slowed the tree’s fall and prevented any real damage. I had tied the fence post to the tree to hold the fence up, not the other way around.
One of the panels had pulled out from the top of the fence post leaving a gap. Closing the gap wasn’t so easy as I had to first make the gap wider, remove some very stubborn nails and somehow make it all better. The fence is a good 7 foot with overlapping palings and three rungs.
At the hardware store I found what is now my favourite tool; the Irwin Quick Grip XP600 One Handed Bar Clamp / Spreader. This thing can deliver 270kg of force with one hand. I also bought a crow bar, some huge galvanised nails and a rain gauge. (I figured that with the tree out of the way I could actually measure rain now.)
Last night the branches were thrown over my fence into a handy space in the shrubbery. Today I had to make it look presentable to 1. get to the fence and 2. to appear like I was just about to take it to the green waste dump in Mitchell.
Realising that the fence post was no longer attached to the ground I decided to repair adequately and prepare for a tradesman’s opinion, tools and skill to do it properly.
Gutter was an easy fix. One of the brackets had pulled out and it was straightforward to see how it fitted. Clip, squeeze, clamp and it was done. Pulled the last of the logs out of the gutter and it was done.
Just one job left…
Summer has been wetter and cooler than normal. I had the roof fixed yesterday to replace inadequate valleys that let in water even during light rain. Despite several heavy showers since the repair the roof showed no sign of water.
Then it really started bucketing down with hail from the Northeast. I checked the garage under the new roofing and saw a small leak, a few drops; nothing like the torrent I would have faced before. The roofer promised 98% chance of no leaks and he was right.
Moving to the back door to check the work at the rear of the house, I wondered why the yard seemed so bright. Where was the tree?
Resting against the fence and the roof, is where.
This was going to be tricky. First, call the experts. Told the SES (State Emergency Services) about tree and lack of apparent damage so that I wouldn’t get priority over some poor sod with an unexpected and unwelcome skylight.
Using my meagre hand saw and hedge shears I started to remove the “non-structural” branches to reduce weight on the rest. Texted a friend to borrow his chainsaw and for him to use his chainsaw since I had no idea how to us it.
Did I mention that we had friends over for a dinner party at the time? Sat down for dessert and coffee
So about 1 hour after my call no less than 6 SES arrived (and their supervisor later to check) dressed in orange and 3M tape with tools of destruction. The pipe saw was the most useful, an extendable whipper snipper with chainsaw head. Nice.
Quite a lot of fine trimming to lessen the weight before they were ready to risk dropping the rest. Gentle landing. A few more slices to reduce the trunk to bite-size bits and the job’s a good’un. Apart from the matter of clearing the green waste. Good thing I still have the station wagon.
I’ve given up on Yahoo for blogging. Yahoo 360 was OK, but it was closed down last year. Apparently I was given the opportunity of migrating the content before the cut-off, but I can’t seem to find the email notifying me of its impending demise. So all of that brilliant work and incisive social comment is now gone. Few read it and now no one else can. You would have loved my thinkpieces on public baths in Japan, my series on cars and discussion (one-sided) on the Japanese Tribal Mind (with references to Gregory Clark’s thinkpiece http://gregoryclark.net/tribeq.html ).
To be honest, I just need somewhere reliable to post my travelblog for the next few weeks. I’ll be Japan in February. I much prefer a blog to myface as I am more wordy than can be read in those tiny spaces on a wall.
Now that I look a realise that my wife has been blogging almost every day since January 2006. Mostly posts and photos about the food we are eating, the new outfits for our dogs or me sleeping with two dogs licking my face. Of course her face is obscured in photos, whereas my body in all of its candid glory can be seen regularly. Funny how she can use Paint to hide herself but she never thinks to use it to help me lose a few kilos.