“The Good Sense God Gave a Goat”

When I as a kid, I spent  lot of time living with my grandparents. My great grand mother was also part of this extended family and she was quite the character.

All of her male siblings were New Orleans jazz musicians during the early 1900’s. As a teenager she spent a lot of time in the Storyville area of the French Quarter going to the dances and speakeasy’s where her brothers were preforming. Growing up in this environment, she picked up quite a few colorful sayings. Many of which I still remember.

“The good sense God gave a goat” is one of them. Every time I did some bone-headed thing,  she would say “You don’t have the good sense God gave a goat!” It was usually preceeded with “Whats wrong with you!” and followed by “Stop That or I’ll shove this cane up your…!” Well, never mind. You get the idea.  I don’t think she would have, but I usually stopped without testing her further.

Why do I bring this up? I just did something dumb.

See, there was this tree.

The Tree

That’s the tree. Right, smack, dab in front of the side door to the barn and it has to come down!!

During construction, I was hesitant to cut larger trees. Now almost a year later, there’s a building in the direction of the tree’s lean, bee hives to the right, a wall a of trees to the left and a young garden in front. Quite the conundrum.

So here’s where my lack of sense comes in. It involves the tree, a chainsaw and a 25′ extension ladder on the barn roof.


Fishing with No Pond

So, I started by tying a few weights on a fishing pole (thanks P). I then cast the line through the tree top and use this to pull a larger rope into the tree top. I made a loop on one end of the rope and pulled the other end through. The rope then allows me to pull the tree in the direction I want.

Looping the Rope

My plan was to cut the tree as high as possible on the side opposite of the direction I intend to pull the rope. I only cut into the tree about half way. This way the tree still stands, but is weakened enough that pulling opposite the cut causes  the tree to lean. Gravity does the rest.  I assumed that the falling canopy would not free fall because of the remaining wood in the cut. The remaining wood resists as the fibers split, Thus, slowing it down.

The Cut and the Pull

After making the initial cut, I pulled on the rope to test the depth of cut. If the resistance was to great, I’d cut a little deeper. It took two attempts before I felt the cut was just right.

I have intentionally not included any pictures of me cutting on the Ladder. Its stupid and I do not want any photographic record of me having done this. I will say, I did strap the ladder to the tree before I ever climbed it with the chain saw.

…………..And with one good tug it was done!

You can see from the photograph that I should have cut the tree 2 feet higher. The canopy was taller than I assumed and the base of it just hit the overhang of the barn. However, the resistance created by the splitting wood slowed the fall just enough. The massive top barely dented the fascia. Once the canopy was removed we dropped the lower 40′ in the traditional manner

Almost Gone!


I am thankful it went off without a hitch,but there was nothing smart or safe about this. I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN!! Having said that, perhaps My great grandmother was only half right. Maybe, I do have the sense of a goat.

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