Tag Archives: Port Elizabeth

Tree felling 101

As mentioned in the last post, I don’t have loads of cash to throw at removing these trees. So, I do it myself. What I have had to build and experiment with is Tree Climbing spikes. These little buggers help you to climb stupidly high in order to get to the tops of the trees for cutting. They are effectively just a long spike protruding from the inside curve of your boot, which you kick into the tree to give you grip. Put a rope around the tree to hold on to and go.

Obviously, climbing harness, carabiners, safety ropes and such must accompany you!

DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Up a tree to secure a cable
Up a tree to secure a cable
Cable secured
Cable secured
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!

On most of the trees that I have recently felled, I was allowed enough space to let the tree fall where I wanted it to. To do this I climbed the said trees and secured a long strong cable at about two thirds of the way up. I then fastened the other end to the Jeep ( normally snaking around the base of a tree in the direction I wanted it to fall) I loaded the Jeep with bricks and rocks to weight it down for more traction, put it into Low Range and pulled the tree as tight as possible. I then fired up the chainsaw and cut out the ‘V’ near the base of the tree in the direction I wanted it to fall. I I then cut around the sides and back of tree until I heard the tree shift and start to lightly click as the heartwood fibres took strain. I then sprinted my ass off to the Jeep, started it up and pulled.
Some times I’d have to repeat the last 2 steps a few times before the tree gave way. (Better safe and tired than sorry) The tree would begin to shift under the torque of the vehicle and start coming down. I would keep the tension on the cable for as long as possible to ensure that the tree fell exactly where I wanted it. Even on the badly leaning trees I was able to land them near on perfect.

20140504_11103620140504_11100620140504_120802inthetreescobhouse.wordpress.com tree removal

Cob house Inthetreescobhouse grass roof

MY NEMESIS:

The last tree on the menu on Sunday had been giving me a worried finger for a long time. I
It had been shaped by the prevailing South Westerly wind to curve from it’s base to midway and then straighten up but keep all of it’s weight and foliage on the wrong side.
Cutting it at the base meant dropping it possibly on the house and definitely on the neighbor’s fence and chicken coop.
No vehicle in my reach would be able to pull it over against it’s strength and weight.

So, suck it in, climb and cut..

Mr Nemesis
Mr Nemesis
Rather high,  Mr Vertigo.
Rather high, Mr Vertigo.
And the wind started picking up!
And the wind started picking up!

It took me about an hour before I started to cut up there with the chainsaw. Life at that height is a different world.
I even phoned my wife to come and give me moral support!
I managed to cut all the weight off the tree to then cable it and cut/pull with the Jeep.
Done. Yay!

My girls coming to give me moral support! I was trying to pretend I was on a ship's mast by singing a sailor's songs!
My girls coming to give me moral support!
I was trying to pretend I was on a ship’s mast by singing a sailor’s songs!
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“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…” So here’s the plan…..

IMG-20121230-0107818th Jan 2014
After a few years and a lot of life, we (dad, mom and the 3 little people) have decided to build a cob house.

We were originally going to buy a standard house in the suburbs and become what we didn’t really like. Suburbians.

-Nothing wrong with that, but my wife and I have never been conventional. She is an inspired artist and I am something of an artistic soul too.
(Altough we are both rather disgruntled artists as kids, bills, work, building, money and life like to bubble the pot!)

So. We looked at conventional houses in the suburbs. My wife ran away screaming to the hills. I followed her.

We found a beautiful wooded plot just out of town that a friend of ours was wanting to sell off. Perfect!

We jumped at it!

Well, it has not been smooth sailing by any stretch, having to clear trees, fence, build, wait, pay, wait, change plans, correct title deeds, wait, pay…. all another story!
But, seeing our house take shape is really exciting now.

This blog is about how we are building our little house out of natural and recycled materials to be free of grid electricity and most importantly:
To be free of a mortgage.
We are trying to do everything without taking loans, so progress is slow.

It is quite funny how our new home has morphed and warped from where it was just going to be a little workshop for me (dad) growing into a fully fledged offgrid, living grass roof, skylighted, 3 bedroom home capable our keeping us 5 cozy and happy!

We had no training or experience in building alternatively before starting here, everything was learnt by studying the internet, watching YouTube videos, looking at pics and mostly:l lots of trial and error.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to all the wonderful people of the world who have posted their findings and ideas and shared their knowledge on the net.
It is a wonderful brotherhood of barefoot builders that helped us shape our ideas and we’d like to give back to those who also want share in the joy of the Hand Built home.

Well, here is our lovechild…