i left my place around noontime to drop off some more gardening supplies at the cafe (still haven't found time to plant those seeds) before going to belmont. i went to the town post office to mail off my taxes and was surprised to see the long line. only a handful of people were there for tax reasons, while everyone else was there for regular post office services.
i was in belmont to help my father in our continuing quest to chop down the large norwegian maple tree growing in the backyard. i'm normally against cutting down trees of any kind, but my father had done some amateur pruning work on it in years past without my supervision, and the tree was reduced to a misshapen and diseased vestige of its former self. an additional reason to chop it down is over the years it's grown too big, and it now shades most of the backyard, including the formerly sunny garden areas. it's sad to see the maple go though, it used to a good climbing tree for my sister and i when we were kids. once the tree is completely gone, we plan on planting a few more new trees in its place, like some nice flowering fruit trees. almost exactly a year ago today we'd already started the task of removing the maple, cutting off the branches we could reach. we stopped abruptly halfway into the job when my father almost died sawing off a very large vertical branch while balancing on top of a ladder with a chainsaw.
this year we got a new piece of equipment to make our job easier: a small chainsaw mounted on the end of a long extendable pole. while my father was up on a ladder balanced against the tree working the chainsaw, i was down below removing the branches as they came down. the hard part was a lot of these branches were overhanging into the neighbor's yard, and we broke a few of their shrub branches. several large branches also smashed onto the plastic tot lot jungle gym they built close by the maple tree (no damages though), and we were lucky they weren't home, because they would've freaked out knowing that a supposedly safe area where their children played was actually the site of a rain of deadly branches. every time my father lopped off a branch was a tense moment because we quite knew where exactly the branch would land. some branches were small (a few feet) while others were heavy enough it took two people to carry it away. every once in a while a branch would also break with a sickening cracking sound before we finished cutting.
we started at around 2pm and finally stopped by 6pm, spending the last hour cutting the fallen branches into smaller sizes and sorting them into recyclable piles. by then we had scratches on our face and hands and sawdust all over our clothes. there's still a few large branches left, and other than one particularly difficult vertical branch, the rest are all easy to chop down and they're all on our side of the yard too. the maple tree needs one more pruning session to reduce it to a bare tree trunk with amputated branches. from then on we'll start removing the trunk itself.