All Fall Down


It’s expensive entertainment (see short slo-mo video below), but at least we didn’t have to go far to participate. Most watched from the ANNex windows. I had to see for myself.

The guys from Foggy Mountain Outdoor Maintenance arrived unexpectedly at the back door late yesterday morning, when their intended job of the day got nixed because of the muddy ground.

Ricky had come out a few months ago to clean our gutters, and I mentioned to him Ann’s concern about (and willingness to spend the money to remove) this 18″ diameter, 60 foot tall tulip poplar.

I had to grudgingly agree. Rotten at the base where the logging machinery in 1993 had injured it, this tree could go any time. Which direction was anybody’s guess.

To the north,  it would take out our powerline. To the east is our shed (whose roof you can see a bit of near image-center) and beyond that, the house. It would clearly lay waste to the shed and turn some future time into a terrible, no-good, very bad day.

The good thing going here was that we had determined Ricky’s utility truck could make it up the logging road above the house to tension a line he would fix high up in the tree. This would direct the line of fall to the west. You can click to watch it fall in slow motion, filmed with the iPhone 5s. TIMBER!!

Spoiler: Watch for the widow-maker to come down after you think it’s all over. Keep your guard UP when trees come DOWN!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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