By Mel Fisher
I got this big old poplar tree, I mean a really big one. Kind of leans toward the house, well, I guess you would call it a cabin more, only two rooms, and not being furnished much and all. Being an old widower up here on the 7th concession of Partridge township, I don’t need much. Anyway, this tree is going to get struck by lightning or a windstorm some day, and fall right on the house.
I was standing out looking at it one day, and wondering how I could fish my neighbour Big Joe into knocking it down for me – he brags that he can drop any tree anywhere he wants to, any time. I told him that’s how I am going to build a fence along my back line – I’ll stand up some cedar fence posts, and he can drive them in by dropping some of the big old first growth jackpine that is growing there right on the posts. I can sell the pine for enough to buy some wire, so it will be kind of a self-supporting project. Of course by the time I get permission from the MNR to cut the trees, and a work permit because they think my farm is a forest, and a contract from a buyer for the wood, the fence posts will have rotted off.
First I have to get up enough ambition to actually go and get some cedar posts. I know where there is some cedar growing on the crown lot behind my place. I would have to swipe them of course, the red tape involved in getting them legally is more than selling the pine.
Of course I know Joe can’t drive in fence posts by dropping trees on them, but maybe if I handle this right he will be in so deep he would feel obligated to help me dig them in. If you have ever tried to twist a posthole auger into our solid northern clay, you will know why I am not rushing into this project. Especially as I don’t really need a fence, all I have is a few goats and they come home every day all by themselves. Come to think of it, they pretty much ignore fences anyway, except to jump back and forth over them just to show they can do it. And then they stand there with that smart-alec egg-sucking grin when you catch them where they shouldn’t be.
So I am standing here thinking about Joe and his tree-cutting skills, and guess who drives in- himself. So I say “guess I will have to get somebody over with a skidder, because I want that tree down, and I don’t think anybody can fall her without hitting the cabin unless a choker is hitched up high and a little pressure put on it”
Joe swallows the bait, and in no time he has his chainsaw buzzing away, and by golly, he didn’t hit the cabin. No, he hit the outhouse, about ninety degrees from where he said the tree would land. Not to worry, I don’t need the outhouse any more since I put the plumbing in, but it sure gave me a good chance to razz him. And I got a good supply o f firewood, in about 2 years when that heavy old poplar is dry.