One thing we learnt through the whole bee saga was that hive beetles thrive in cold shady hives. So, we had a challenge on our hands…
The cyprus trees which Dreamland’s previous owner planted all along the mutual fence line have grown to ginormous proportions and they were throwing shade on the bee hives for basically the whole day’s light in winter. In summer it doesn’t matter as the sun is higher and the hives get some morning and afternoon sun, but in winter, because the son’s arc is so much lower, it is a big issue, especially considering we have a lot of wet cloudy days throughout winter too; and we still have the odd beetle lurking around.
For quite a few Saturdays as well as many days for the one hour of daylight after work, I donned my work clothes, wheeled out the wheelbarrow loaded with the necessary tools, started up our little Husqvarna chainsaw and performed my best arborist impersonation. It was quite uncanny, as we were in the middle of a similar exercise a few years ago when our old el-cheapo chainsaw gave up on life and I rushed out and invested in a good quality chainsaw. After the job at that time, I was wondering whether buying the Husky wasn’t an impulsive overkill as it looked like we wouldn’t need to saw anything substantial any time soon. Little did I recon with the growing speed of these trees! They grow so quick and so large so quickly.
The only feasible approach was to tackle the elephant one bite at a time. I started on one end and literally trimmed what I could as far as the ladder reached, then did the cheesecake slice and felling trick, sometimes with the help of a young gentlemen pulling for dear life on a rope to guide the tree or huge branch to fall in the limited space we had between the shed and the fence. (I’m sure tree people have a better name for the technique!) Once on the ground I trimmed it further and processed the off-cuts through the mulcher. My approach was to not build up a huge backlog of processing but to rather steadily process the trees and branches as they were cut.
Right about the same time, the certain young gentlemen had begun building a shelter in the forest near us. I’m sure he saw opportunity with all the raw materials being processed all around him. So that’s how the “shelter” project came to life. We used the same approach to build “walls” as we did in the forest park, but at home we had the luxury of some previously used 2.4m star pickets lying around. We hammered them really strongly into the ground and then stacked the logs and long enough branches in between them.
I must say, this side project is helping me a lot too. For one, we don’t have to travel to the forest and search for fallen branches and useable materials without damaging the environment. Secondly, we can freely use tools like chainsaws and axes at home. Having a secondary purpose also makes it a lot more exciting to process the branches and trees as we saw them down. It also is a relief that I don’t have too thick pieces left over which cannot be processed by our mulcher. (If I couldn’t mulch them, I may have had to re-do the path edgings at Dreamland – forbid all that work!) The third benefit is I get some unsolicited and unpaid-for assistance in doing this massive project.
So, excuse me until next time. I’ve got an elephant to eat…