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Clearing Trees for Solar Power

by Tyler

With the roof of our solar shed nearly complete, it's very easy to see which trees are going to block sunlight for the solar panels we want to install on it. Unfortunately, the biggest offenders are right next to our wellhead and camper, two things I would really prefer not to crush. I've done all of the tree work on our land thus far, but for this job, it it's time to call in some professionals.

Tyler Affixing Tar Paper to Roof Tyler Affixing Tar Paper to Roof

This summer, while we were pouring foundations and retaining walls, we met a really nice guy by the name of Chris—he was apprenticing with a local mason who we'd hired. Though he was new to the trade (our cottage slab was his first foundation), we learned that he had been running chainsaws since he was ten years old. His family has been in the tree business for generations, so it seemed natural to call him first.

Pete & Chris Assembling Concrete Wall Forms Chris and Incoming Concrete

Chris was excited to hear from us—as it turns out, work is pretty slow in the wintertime. Not two hours after talking, he arrived on our land with his step-dad, Bob, to survey the project. In a matter of minutes they'd decided which trees would be trouble, and which would be easy. Their expert eyes spotted all sorts of things we hadn't. For example, a crack in one of the trees that ran the whole length of the trunk.

At the end of the evaluation, we settled on a price, and set a flexible date for the job—whenever it wouldn't interfere with Chris' masonry work. His next available day turned out to be today. This afternoon, Chris, Bob, and Chris' wife, Casey rolled up our driveway and got to work sharpening chains and setting up a block and tackle system so they could rig up the trees to fall where they wanted them.

Chris Sharpening Chainsaw Chris Running Ropes for Tree Felling

Then, Bob donned his climbing gear and clawed his way to the top of the first tree.

Bob Running Ropes to Cut Down Tree

It was awesome.

Bob Climbing Tree

Thus began a two-hour tree-felling marathon, followed by another hour of brush clean-up. We now have seven huge trees to split for firewood (or possibly take to the local sawyer to be cut into boards). This weekend, Chris and Bob are coming to do one more: a huge multi-trunked mess of a tree that has seen better days. I'll take more pictures of our newly opened clearing and post them soon!

Bob Cutting Box in Tree Bob Cutting Down Tree Bob Cutting Down Tree Next to Camper Bob Making Back Cut On Tree Tree Felling Next to Camper Tree Felling Next to Camper
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Hey guys, been following you for a while. Love the blog. Just wanted to mention the possibility of hiring someone with a mobile bandsaw mill come to your land and saw your timber. The results are very nice and prevents you having to move the trees twice. Anyhow, I'm very much looking forward to watching the progress at your homestead!
Posted by Dave V. in Saratoga County on February 13th, 2014 at 5:30 AM
That's a fantastic idea Dave! I'll definitely keep that in mind during the cleanup operations.
Posted by Tyler on February 13th, 2014 at 9:03 AM
That hardwood does look nice and straight, and the bottom at least seems to be without branches=>knots. So, looks like at least some 8' lumber might be possible. And I totally second seeing if there is someone with a mobile bandsaw.
Posted by Julia H. on March 15th, 2014 at 9:45 PM