By Late August Tyrone and I had worked out a complete house plan, our building permits were in place, and the garage had filled with salvaged windows and doors, in addition to the way-too-early tub from Film Biz Recycling. We were ready to break ground, and then Irene came to visit.
The hurricane dropped a massive pine tree through the roof of our rental house. Our property was untouched (hard to damage a house that has already burned down) but the damage to our rental was so severe we decided to clear a couple trees which would lean over the planned new house.
Falling a large tree is a very powerful experience. I worked as a wildland firefighter for many years and I’ve dropped a lot of trees, but i was attached to these trees. I consider myself the guardian of everything that grows on our property, so falling these two shade giving giants was a little rough.
A large tree falls very slowly. Its stages are marked by sound. First is the long whine of the chainsaw, you will cut through 90% of a tree before it begins to move at all. The motion is usually lead by a low groaning, the trunk flexing. As the leaves take motion and the whole body begins to swing, there is snapping, splintering deep in the tree’s core. Finally comes the sound of the tree hitting, a great thunderous crash, an explosion of a thousand twigs mixed with a single great boom–10 tons of trunk embedding in the earth. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, the forest still hears it, and shakes.
After dropping the trees we still couldn’t start building. The machinery needed to excavate was trapped across a road that had washed away in the flood. It took almost a month before the ground was dry enough to begin digging. Because of the delay I missed the first stages of building. I had to leave for Around the World in 80 Plates. When I returned the foundation was complete and framing had begun.
The first photo below is of Tyrone our builder, limbing up one of the trees. I’ve never built a house before, he had never fallen a tree–A good opportunity to learn from one another.
Tomorrow I’ll post my most recent photos.