Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is That Sweat Dripping Down My Face Or A Spider?

Don't you hate that?  You are working in the hot sun on a steep hill in high humidity.  You feel a drop of sweat rolling down your cheek.  Your hands are full of branches and your footing is insecure, so you can't wipe it.  Is it a bug...maybe a spider?  Or even worse, a tick?  Clearing brush is so much fun.

We hadn't planned on clearing brush.  Four guys showed up at our house Friday morning and explained that they were hired by the electric utility to clear under the power lines.  I understand about keeping the lines free and do not want to be without power if an untrimmed tree knocks the lines down.


After they left, this is what we found.  A 20 or 30 feet wide and it must be 250 feet long path of destruction.  Thee are trees that are cut and just left where they fell.  The stumps are about 6 to 10 inches high so we will have to dull our chains saws to get them ground level.  Granted, clearing the existing trees exposed old tree trucks that fell years ago.  Those I will take responsibility for.  But there is at least 3 dumpsters worth of brush just left on our hillside.

Thee were so many vines mixed in with the debris that it was hard to bring up even a handful of branches.  The vines would be mixed in with whatever you grabbed and then you have to put everything back down and cut the vines at the ground level.  Pick up the pile and ANOTHER vine holds it down. 


Lee went to get the tractor.  The plan was to chop up one path and then work from the middle.  He hoped to avoid the stumps, but some of them were buried and he didn't know they were there until the bush hog made a huge, angry noise and stopped, if he couldn't lift it fast enough..  We gave up on the tractor.

Lee got our chain saw and cut some of the trees into more manageable hunks.  I used the loppers to cut vines and branches off so we could drag them to the top of the hill.  The idea was to make piles and then get the truck to haul the piles to where we burn brush.


We can't haul the debris to the burn pile yet, because we have to wait for the hay to be cut.  We grow hay up to the burn pile and I don't want to ruin the hay with the debris or set it on fire and burn the place down!  Plus the burn pile is currently full of the logs and branches form the last huge rain we had that piled them all against our bridge.  We are waiting for the hay to be cut to burn those first.

We worked for two hours cutting and dragging and piling up. Amazingly,  it is not even a  drop in the bucket in terms of the whole hillside worth of debris.  You can't just leave dead brush on a hill near your home.  Granted this is Virginia and not California where Fire Season is an actual season.  This includes Earthquake Season and Mudslide Season.  I'm sure there is a fourth, but I can't remember it.  It must not be as dramatic as the other three.                                             

So I am sweating and trudging and hoping the OFF! I sprayed on me is working when Lee asked, "Any snakes?"  Oh, great.  I hadn't even THOUGHT about snakes.  I decided to proceed on the assumption that all the chainsaw and hill tromping would have caused them so go elsewhere.


Now I know that when utilities trim on streets, they use a chipper and haul the debris away.  Did they leave these because we have such a big place they assumed we didn't mind?  We do mind.  I wanted to call the power company and ask them to return and clean up.  Then Lee mentioned that maybe they will come back on Monday and finish the job.

That was good enough for me.  Tools down.  Let's go get cleaned up.  And if they don't come back, I will call them and ask them to come back.  If they clear it, we will keep it cleared by bush hogging and they won't have to come back.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

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