We have done some more work in the wood.

Managing the woodland allows in light to benefit the trees which remain. And opens up the view. It was before I sprained my ankle, thankfully, for sprained it most certainly is: reducing now from twice the size of the other one but still sporting every colour of the rainbow from mid-calf down. Our early experience of tree felling (here) has led to a honing of technique. Mike ties a winch cable to the tree to help control, theoretically, the direction of fall. Yours truly has been appointed ‘winch person in chief’.

If you live in the UK you may have heard of Fred Dibnah. He was a steeplejack whose particular claim to fame lay in his approach to demolishing the towering but long since redundant factory chimneys in and around his home town of Bolton, in the North West of England. Fred would knock out the brickwork on the bottom of one side of the chimney and replace it with wooden props. And then set a huge fire underneath. As the wood succumbed to the fire the chimney would topple, falling to the same side as the hole in the brickwork beneath. Something of a showman, Fred would watch the fire closely until seconds before the collapse and then leg it at speed with huge sections of chimney crashing to the ground in his wake.

And the reason for this digression? The role of the winch person in tree felling can feel much like Fred Dibnah.

Mike climbs the tree to the highest point he can reach and attaches the winch.

My job is to tighten on the cable as he starts to cut. Apart from the fact that working the lever is pretty hard graft, you’ll have already spotted the situation I now find myself in. The winch, and its operator, stand in direct line of fall. It’s a case of pumping like mad, until the very last second, and then running like a woman possessed.


View Wm


It was a good day’s work.

It’s a shame about the wooden arch at the bottom of the 84 steps. But I suppose the path does look better without it..


2017-11-11T22:12:42+00:00May 7th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Jill Chandler May 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Its a miracle you only damaged the one leg.

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      It’s ironic indeed to survive the tree felling, only to succumb to injury planting peas.

  2. Countryside Tales May 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    That is a very pretty view. The NT are currently opening up “butterfly paths” through woods near us, the aim being to link the tracks with paths through other local woods thus making it easier for the butterflies to move about. So you might find you get more butterflies in your woods as a result of the tree-cutting.

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      There are certainly plenty of butterflies in the garden now. To have them in the woods as well would be wonderful!

  3. Denise May 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I am tres jealous of your countryside views, Jessica….tres, tres jealous….having a bit of a sigh now a la wishful thinking….

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately the views are only from the top of the hill. You can just see the end of the house roof in the photo. From there all we can see is trees, and yet more trees!

  4. snowbird May 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Oh wow….respect to you two……This had me laughing out loud. I could just picture the scene. You do live dangerously!!! Hope the injury gets better soon.xxxx

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      I think we are finding our limitations though.. for the very big trees we’ll have to get the big boys in!

  5. frayedattheedge May 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Several gardens ago I cut down a tree, with the help of a rope. Fortunately the next tree had a BT cable running through it, so they came and cut it down. Hope the ankle is improving – I used a walking stick for several weeks to make sure passersby didn’t bump me!

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      We’ve used the electricity board for a similar service… hadn’t thought about BT!

  6. Wendy May 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    My Goodness; clinging to the tops of trees is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is standing underneath a tree on its way down. Glad to hear that you’ve resigned yourself to the loss of the wooden arch.

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      To be honest it was rotten (like so much else around here!). And actually, it does look much better with it down. It just held up a camellia, which I’ll have to prune back when it’s finally finished flowering.

  7. jabblog May 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Your reactions must be pretty swift . . . just as well, really:-)

    • Jessica May 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      If the tree is properly cut, it comes down surprisingly slowly. Even better if it catches on another on the way down!

  8. steph May 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    you are one very very brave woman……she is woman—hear her roar. I can hear you from here!

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Either brave or stupid!

  9. Brismod May 8, 2013 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Oh the visuals I have of you hightailing it as the tree falls…The things we do as property owners! xx

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Quite! But as ever it comes down to cost. There is so much tree work needed, we can reduce the bill by doing as many as possible ourselves. But even then there are limits to cost benefit – there were a few hairy moments when a very large branch fell on the shed. And that would have cost more to replace than a couple of extra days lumberjack time!

  10. haggiz May 8, 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Is this your idea of relaxing in the garden?!! Julie x

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

      He He..
      We’ve stopped for now. I wanted to get a few more down before the leaves started to appear, and we could still check that there were no birds nesting in the trees we cut down.

  11. Denise May 8, 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Jon and Mike…….could be the same man! Are they ever in the same time phase together? Hmmm think not! Star Trek? Transportation lounge? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      You’ve got me thinking Denise. What I need is one of those Star Trek phaser guns. Then I could just vaporise a tree that was in the wrong place. Give the squirrels a run for their money too..

  12. Em May 8, 2013 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I love your wood – how wonderful to have one. Please take care in your lumber-jacking endeavours!

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      It’s a very neglected wood Em. And it shows. It needs a lot of work.

  13. Rosie May 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    The tree felling sounds quite a dangerous occupation! You wouldn’t have managed the ‘running like a woman possessed’ after you injured your ankle. You do have a lovely view over those green fields:)

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      No, I think lumberjacking will now have to wait a bit!

  14. Annie @ knitsofacto May 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Eek! And no tree felling while your ankle heals (I’m still terribly behind with everyone, I’ve only just seen your last few posts so hadn’t realised you were wounded in action) . Having suffered a bad sprain a couple of years back and not rested up enough afterwards I now have a very weak ankle and a dodgy Achilles tendon … take a tip from me and have Mike wait on you for a bit x

    • Jessica May 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      It’s very tempting Annie..

  15. BadPenny May 9, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Good Grief that sounds dangerous ! Do you wear a hard hat ?

    • Jessica May 9, 2013 at 8:58 am - Reply

      No, I was once given a bright pink one and regret to this day I didn’t keep it!!

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