Tree Monkey, 2011 Tree Removal
As a consequence of global warming, the biomass is changing with the more evolved species dying first. This includes hardwood trees. In 2003, my property had ten hardwood trees, half were removed at a cost of about $7500 in recent years--see ??. One removal was crisis emergency as my wife was bed-ridden from bungled heart surgery in 2003 when Hurricane Isabella came ripping through leaving one tree leaning precariously at a 20% list toward our bedroom.
After 2011 Hurricane Irene, I counted a dozen trees with two blocks that had fallen, big oak trees. Noticeable were the small root balls which indicated how the severe drought/deluge cycles of recent years had come home to roost in the roots: The trees are dying from the bottom up at faster rates. While my 2006 conclusion of most oak trees being dead by 2012 may be off by a few years, the oak trees are dying along with other hardwood and hardgrain species.
Besides fallen trees, I noticed the two tallest trees, an 80-foot oak and an 80-foot pine were leaning. The oak was leaning toward my northerly neighbor while the pine was leaning toward the south. While insurance would take care of the damage, the insurance would not prevent loss of life and limb. In the case of my northerly neighbor, this would be the second oak removed to prevent harm to her house and the kids in her daycare.
I was shocked but not surprised at the bids for removing the trees: $5000 for the oak. Surprise? No, with a corresponding increase in tree crews to the increase in falling trees, it is a sellers' market wherein the tree cutters keep raising their prices when their backlog is longer than two weeks.
Well, for many reasons, this old fart in his seventh decade and BMI of over 35 decided on a new hobby, that is, become a tree monkey to both save money and to evaluate how tree management could be a community service whereby citizens could earn lifehours for community-based healthcare. As many starry-eyed social work college graduates learn about working with their subjects, it is easier learning about tree management than it is to do tree management.
After several approaches, I concluded the best, simplest and cheapest way was to buy tree climbing equipment on eBay. The cost was about $400 for belt, harness, spikes, rope graps, ropes and ancillary items. Nice thing about buying the items is that most can be re-sold on eBay--or kept to help one's neighbors. I think my new hobby is tree climbing and cutting.
As you read the following, two things will stand out:
Neighbors probably laughed at me as I went developed an alphabet of failed solutions. When A did not work, I went to plan B ... and so on.
By the time the trees were down, I had spent more time and money than I expected. However, I had added to my acupuncture morality. I saved money from paying the $5000 for the oak and the estimated $3000 for the pine.
Timeline: Remember, I am a person who is afraid of heights. This slowed down the process as I had, at times, so many safety lines that I was more at risk of strangling myself rather than falling to my death.
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