Archive for June, 2013

the Downed Tree

A fierce thunderstorm blew through our neighborhood this past Sunday and broke apart a tall tree right next too our house.  It was a decent size branch that broke from the main trunk and landed on the roof.  I’ve had to deal with this sort of thing before so I knew I was up to the challenge to safely remove this from the house.

NOTE: Whenever you’re dealing with tree maintenance, safety is the most important factor to consider.  Trees are HEAVY!  This branch at the base where it broke from the tree might have been about six to eight inches in diameter and possibly twenty feet to the tip of the top branches, but I bet it’s weight was easily over a thousand pounds.  Fresh cut wood is referred to as “green” wood.  And green wood has a huge percentage of its weight in water.  Unless you know what your doing, I strongly recommend hiring a professional (like Treeo Tree Service) to do this type of project.

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Branch on the roof!

To remove this safely I needed a tall 24 foot extension ladder, (electric) chain saw and my rock climbing gear (I’m thinking very few people have rock climbing gear and if you don’t, hire this job out).

I placed the ladder on the opposite side from where the tree split.  After donning my climbing harness and using gathered climbing gear, I climbed up the ladder and used what’s called a climbing runner and/or daisy chain to tie the ladder to the tree – this will prevent the ladder from moving .  I then set up another runner around the tree and through the ladder’s top rug.  The ladder was now secure to the tree and the second runner was ready for me to attach my hardness into.  I then examined my plan of attack on the limb.  This limb was still attached to the main trunk, that would need to be cut away.  In order to control this as much as possible, I used some old retired PMI rock climbing rope to tie off the end of the broken branch just above the split and then run that rope up and over a higher branch on the tree.  The other end of that rope is tied off to a ground level trunk of a large tree nearby.  You make this rope as tight as possible so when you cut through the broken branch, the now free branch doesn’t go flying who nos where!  I didn’t want the branch  just dropping from where it was hung up on the roof because the air conditioner was near where it would have fallen and I’m taking no chances in crushing my A/C.

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the Maven up in the tree developing his plan of attack.

In the next trip up the ladder I ‘ll be taking my chain saw.  Being a small 16 inch electric, it’s compact and easy to handle.  You’ve got the extension cord to deal with but that beats a running gas engine or one to start up on a ladder.  The saw cut through the branch in a about 5 seconds and then the branch only dropped about 3 inches before the climbing rope went to full tension and prevented the free branch from falling.  Just as planned!

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Here the limb is hanging by the rope that’s up and over a taller branch and tied off a larger nearby tree.

I return to the ground and carefully loosened the tied off rope and slowly lowered the limb to the ground before cutting it up into firewood and such.  I’ve done this exact thing on another tree on the opposite side of the house, so I had some experience at this.  It took about 2 hours but don’t rush this sort of project, take your time and plan for safety.  If your not 100 percent sure what will happen after each of your moves, then as I said.  Hire a pro and let them take the risk.

the Tomato Box

We had a couple of extra tomato potted plants this year.  With nowhere specific to put the pots, they were just sitting on the deck.  That is until a slight wind came along and then they were sitting on their side, dirt everywhere and more importantly, damaged tomatoes.

We’ll I had some left over pieces of Trex decking that I had used on my Deck 2010 project.   I thought that material would make a nice, simple holder to keep the plants from toppling over.  And match the deck to boot!

Plants without a home!

Plants without a home!

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Scraps?

After taking a few measurements of the two pots, spaced far enough apart to allow for growth and sunlight,  I cut two 36 inch and four 10 inch pieces of the scrap decking.  The four short boards were used to create a separate pot “box” at each end.

IMG_1145I drilled pilot holes at each of the screw locations.  Pilot holes are not required when setting screws in Trex but it does make the driving of the decking screws much easier.  Top and bottom holes at each connection point.   And I again used my Makita impact driver to set the screws.  The square drive screws were also left over from the Trex deck project.  So after only about 20 minutes worth of effort and $0, we have a nice boxed stand to keep the pots from blowing over.

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the Extension Cord

I’ve had this old extension cord light fixture sitting on a shelve in my garage that I’m pretty sure has gone unused in over 10 years.  I can’t really image using it any time soon so I decided to convert it to a simple extension cord.  Now that will get used, likely later today!

The first step was to purchase a replacement three prong female plug end at the hardware store.  It was about $5.  I then cut off the old light assembly leaving just the cord end.  You then need to strip the orange plastic covering back a bit and then strip about a quarter inch of each wire’s plastic coating.

Wiring the plug is pretty straight forward.  Green wire to green screw, white wire to silver screw and black wire to gold screw.  I was able to confirm the correct wiring using a gadget given to me eons ago.

You simply plug it in the new outlet and if the “O” and the “K” light up, then your wiring is OK, get it!  There is a chart on the side of the tester to tell you what the wiring issue is depending on which lamps light up.  Very easy to use.  You can buy a similar type of tester for under $15 dollars.

For about 30 minutes work, I now have an additional usable extension cord.  Now back to the deck project.Image

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