Here's what it looked like in late afternoon. You can see one of the rolling carts in the foreground with the bow saw and clippers. Yes, there's a whole lot of brush on the ground, and that's after I had already hauled three cartloads of branches earlier.
Around 1 PM, we stopped for a break, and then went away from the apple tree for a while to cut branches overhanging the gravel access road to Lisa's father's house. The branches had grown so low that they would have prevented him from taking out his RV or for Lisa to get the Big Orange Van out, so we walked down the road and Lisa plied the pole-axe on the branches. The neighbor whose trees are producing this overhead hazard gave us the hairy eyeball but decided to not question why we were cutting his trees. The filled up the hand-cart again, so after dumping it, we returned to the apple tree.
This is Lisa holding Kuma Bear after we finished trimming all of the branches from the tree. We'll have photos of Bear's attempts to help in travelswithkuma's journal later.
Lisa was understandably a little shaky after all of the hours spent standing in the tree, particularly the last and largest piece, which proved difficult to dislodge but finally came crashing down to earth. She says that this is the first major trim this tree has had in about ten years; she did that one, under her mother's direction.
We stopped around 4 PM having not had lunch, but instead we had Second Breakfast, as Lisa used up the last of the eggs and buffalo sausage we had in stock. (Since we're off to Portland for a week starting tomorrow, we needed to use it up anyway.) Then it was back outside to try and clear some of the brush away.
My job with the clipper was to cut the smaller branches. Anything too big for the clipper was potential firewood, and I hauled it over to where Lisa used the electric chainsaw to slice it down to burnable sized pieces. She also used the chainsaw to cut off one of the tree's over-extended burls, and I'm glad we did that, as we discovered that particular branch had a considerable case of rot inside it. Lisa cut off the rotten part and we hope that will strengthen the tree.
Besides more brush, we ended up with a full cartload of small-but-usable burnable wood, so we hauled all of that away and raked up the remaining brush around the apple tree as best we could.
Although the tree is now properly trimmed, we ran out of time and energy before we could clear all of the brush, and we won't have time to work on it tomorrow, so I'm afraid much of it is going to have to sit until I have time to come up and help again. Lisa may also be able to do some work on it now that it's safely on the ground. Chopping away at the brush pile with a pair of clippers isn't the most exciting work one can do, but it's relatively easy and safe enough, unlike climbing around in a rickety old apple tree with a very sharp saw.