The day was glorious. We had no agenda. Chores could be ignored. And the dogs wanted to go. So we did.
We hiked across the dam, peering into the overflow drain to confirm that my fence stay fix was still in place (it was), and continuing up the north-facing slope to our southern property line. We try to hike the perimeter of our 80+ acres each year, usually in February when the bugs and scrub are on vacation, so it wasn’t time to do that, but I thought we could venture over to our southeast corner since it’s the one we visit the least.
When we got there, we found what you see above. A huge limb from an even huge-er oak had fallen across the fence, pulling the strands down. (They go from upper left to lower right in the photo.)
We really have no direct use for the fence that goes around about two-thirds of our property. We have no livestock to keep in (Queequeg is especially disdainful of the fence and passes underneath it as his whims command). Only our neighbor to the east has cattle to contain, so he maintains that bit of fence. This southeast corner is part of his concern, so I knew he wouldn’t want the fence fallen. (His cattle have gotten into our land a few times. It’s not a big deal to us, but I don’t suppose he likes them getting out.)
So I got the foolish notion into my foolish head that I could clear this huge fallen limb from the fence. It turned out to be a dead limb, so it was brittle enuf for me to break many of the smaller branches (on the left in the photo above, but you can’t see them because — I broke them off). Then, I foolishly thought, I could lift the remainder of the huge limb from the fence and roll it onto the neighbor’s property.
I was able to snap off most of the smaller branches on my side of the fence. But when I tried to lift and roll the remaining limb, I couldn’t. There was still all of the huge limb on my neighbor’s side of the fence, and it was weighty. There was no way I, with my puny upper body strength (the legs are dandy, though), was going to move that huge limb off the fence. I would have to cut it beyond the fence so that the part on my side no longer rested on the strands.
Alas, we had ventured from the cabin without my daypack full of handsaws and other quite useful tools. I did have the loppers, but they were no good against the huge limb.
So instead of resolving the problem, we continued on our hike, stumbling along the eastern fence line and clearing what we could as we went. (There were no fallen trees or limbs here.) Eventually our feet steered us back to the cabin where we found the comfy chairs awaiting us, and we fell into them with satisfaction.
A short time passed and we began to think about having lunch (cold cut sandwiches, a fruit cup each, and a cookie). But the huge limb on the fence was nagging at the back of my little brain, and I proposed that we return to the southeast corner with saws this time to address the problem, at least on our side of the fence.
And that’s what we did.
But we were not alone.
As he hiked up the north-facing slope a second time, we heard the sounds of heavy machinery and the munching of trees off to the west. It sounded as though my neighbor to the south (and east) was using some serious equipment to clean up the open avenue he keeps just beyond our southern (and eastern) fence. We hiked to the east to get to our southeastern corner, but the sounds of his equipment came to us from the west, and came to us closer as the time passed. He was eating up the fallen forest from what we could tell, and if he continued, he would reach the huge limb and munch on that as well, saving us the trouble.
Well, that was no good.
I want to be a conscientious neighbor. I do what I can with hand tools and main force to keep my encroachments on my neighbor’s property clear. I cut the limbs from my trees that grow across the fence, and I try to be very obvious about it so my neighbor can see that I’m doing what I can and paying attention to our mutual property line.
Thus I was presented with this great opportunity to show my neighbor that I was being conscientious, paying attention, and had some hand tools. I could cut the limb free of its fence encroachment only moments before he would arrive on the scene to do the very same thing. Why, he could get there and see the work already done, with the cut still warm from my saw!
And that’s what we did. Libby and I took turns with the hand saw, reaching across the fence in an awkward way to cut it far enuf that it could fall free of the fence. All the while his tree-munching machinery was getting closer to us. We cut. The limb sagged so that our saw pinched. We lifted. We continued. We sawed. We used colorful language. And then the limb snapped, as you can see below.
Free of the fence. I tossed the cut part of the limb onto the pile of the smaller branches I had snapped off on our first visit. Then I packed the daypack and hoisted it onto my shoulders before we made our hasty retreat into the forest lest we have to meet our fast approaching neighbor and make small talk about this and that, which neither Libby nor I is good at.
We escaped successfully and got ourselves back to the cabin to have our lunch. We listened as our neighbor and whatever his tree-munching machine was progress along the southern fence line and then up the eastern fence line. We talked in a general and non-comital way about returning to the southeastern corner to see what our neighbor had done, but there was no enthusiasm for that kind of foolishness, and when our post-lunch (post-lunch-stupor) feet started moving again, we hiked to the north.
Also, GO ROYALS!