The cry of ‘Timber’ rang through the old front yard

Emmitt B. Feldner • forThe Review

He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK, he sleeps all night and he works all day...

I think that’s as far as I’ll go with that – I don’t think Alex wants the full Monty Python treatment.

That’s even though he did play lumberjack at our house Saturday.

But I can honestly say I’ve never seen him wear suspenders and a bra, and I’m pretty sure he’s never wished he was a girlie, so I’ll stop the Monty Python bit right where I did.

Not only that, but his dear papa has never been a girlie – but I digress.

Alex and one of his friends came down Saturday to do some firewood harvesting in our yard.

Of particular interest was a large tree in our front yard that has been barely hanging on by a thread since we first moved into the house more than two decades ago.

I don’t want to say it’s in bad shape, but for years it’s probably had more dead branches than live ones – and that’s not counting the dead branches that have fallen off in wind storms over the years.

As it’s taller than the house, getting rid of it would be a major undertaking – and one that Alex and his friend weren’t quite ready to tackle.

But they were willing to take several of the larger, deader branches and limbs – especially those that were hanging over our front porch and the neighbor’s driveway, where they like to park one of their cars.

To make it worth his while, Alex also dug the old wood stove — inherited from Terry’s parents when they moved out of their home 15 years or so ago — out of the basement to take home with him.

We’d never had room to set it up anywhere in our house, even though we somehow ended up with it, but Alex has figured out how he can get it in his new house, so he was welcome to it.

He and his friend did come fully equipped – with several chain saws, ropes, metal stakes for climbing the tree and the rest – and they had done this kind of thing before, so they were ready.

The only thing they were missing was the plaid shirts and suspenders, but then it was too hot a day for that kind of outfit.

Alex did assure us there would be no danger in them taking down the limbs, but he did suggest that we ask the neighbors to move their car out of the driveway before they started cutting, just in case.

I might have started worrying at that point, but I figured better safe than sorry always works best.

Nevertheless, I did have the claims number for our home insurance carrier handy, just in case.

We’ve yet to make a claim on our insurance in over two decades – knock on wood – but I really didn’t want to start with a claim for a new car for the neighbors or a new porch roof for us.

Within no time, Alex was scrambling up the branches of the tree, hauling a rope with the chain saw attached so he could pull it up when he was ready to start cutting.

I have known Alex long enough that I thought it prudent to remind him to cut in front of where he was sitting, not behind him – I have no idea how good his health insurance is and he’s no longer on ours.

His partner was kind enough to point out to Alex that it’s not the fall that’s terrible, it’s the landing.

I’m happy to report that, with Alex cutting and his friend and I holding the ropes to guide the branches to the ground, we managed to bring them all down without doing any kind of property damage.

All right, there are a few bushes along the property line between us and our neighbors that got flattened a little bit, but I know they’ll grow back fine – between myself and the neighbors, they’ve been whacked down by lawnmowers more than a few times over the years and survived just fine.

We were left with a still mostly-dead tree that now is a lot less wide than it used to be – and no longer has any branches or limbs hanging over the neighbor’s property or porch.

That means Terry and I can relax just a little bit more any time there’s a severe wind storm.

Alex and his friend were soon busy cutting up the bigger limbs and branches into logs they loaded into the trailer and truck they brought, while I was sawing up the smaller branches to take to the city’s yard waste collection site.

While we had the two lumberjacks on the property, we also had them take down a couple of small – by comparison – trees growing along one side of the house.

As a result, we can now actually see the east side of our house – except the parts still covered by several rose bushes and vine we’ve been cutting back regularly ever since we moved in.

The master gardener in the house overruled the two lumberjacks on cutting any of that down.

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