Every year men with chainsaws and big bits of gear come and trim the trees near the power lines.
This year Ellie thought she was up for a job on their crew, happy to be showered with leaves and light stuff. They called her their new field hand and gave her some of their sandwiches.
The trees and power lines are monitored from a helicopter. They fly low and wave to us if we are outdoors and they scatter the alpacas. Their equipment can tell exactly how far the trees are from the power lines. They grade the distance, grade 1 to grade 4, with grade 1 being a distance of 50 cm and requiring immediate attention. Four of my trees were grade 1. They were actually touching the wires. Not good.
They used to always ask if they could just chop down my trees, this red gum near the shed and four cottonwoods near the creek. I always said no but it was irritating to have to defend them, and the shade they give my animals, over and over. Now my ‘no’ is recorded in their computer system so the whole exercise is less stressful for us all. So just a good trim it is and we are all happy.
This year for the first time, I ended up with a nice pile of mulch. The cutting and the chipping used to be done by two different contractors. The chippers used to keep the mulch to sell, which always seemed unfair, adding insult to injury.
A tree lopping crew recently made an awful mess half way between Gundy and Scone. They killed a lot of trees seemingly needlessly and they did this:
I didn’t find it funny to kill a tree then disrespect it like this. It gave me a bad dream, a nightmare really, in which I asked my husband to bring me the shotgun when I saw the tree lopping crew arriving at my place! In my dream, I said,” Get me the shotgun, you know where the key to the gun safe is, and the shells are on the top shelf. You lot, stay where you are, you’re not welcome on my land, I’m not kidding…” And in my dream I wasn’t!
But I know it’s very important work that minimises bushfire risk. A three metre clearance around the wires could save lives, possibly my own and those of the humans and animals I love.
The crew on Tuesday was made up of fine young men who did a great job. They were lovely. They trim a tree in Branxton every six months because it has a cubby house in its branches. Lovely. One wants to have a worm farm and make it lots of fun for kids. Lovely boys all. I can’t imagine them ever doing this. It must have been a different crew…but I hope they go back and fix it up.