This afternoon, while I was quietly pottering about in the house, there was the shriek of a chainsaw in the front garden. A few moments later, there was a loud cracking sound, followed by much shouting.
Alarmed, I raced into the front garden.
Our neighbours (Tuffy’s ex-owners) have a huuuuge pine tree in their front yard, almost on the corner with our property. Its branches overhang the road and both our front gardens. I’ve often wondered what would happen in a storm, if the tree lost some of those massive branches. If any of them were to hit our roof, I think they would probably go straight through.
Perhaps in view of the seasonal gales that buffet the Cape Peninsula during the summer months, our neighbours had sensibly commissioned a team of tree cutters to prune some of the big branches of said pine tree. Perhaps they’re even planning on chopping down the whole tree, I don’t know. I also don’t know how the guys are choosing which branches to cut, but judging from the brittle cracking sound the branches make when they’ve been sawn halfway through, they are very dry and quite likely to fall on their own fairly soon.
Mom and I stood watching the activity for a while, sipping a cup of coffee and munching our way through a croissant with honey – it was NAIL-BITING, quite frankly! (I mean the pruning, not the croissant!)
The man with the chainsaw was standing right near the top of the tree, hooked up to a safety harness, though I doubt whether it would have held him securely if he’d lost his balance. Another guy standing in the garden below him was holding somewhat absent-mindedly onto the rope, which was slung over a higher branch – perhaps to secure his colleague above?
A few other chaps were holding onto a rope that was wrapped around an enormous branch, which had been partly severed from the tree and was now hanging precariously a few metres above the road… WHILE CARS WERE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD RIGHT BELOW IT!!!
The guy at the top was yelling instructions at his mates below, who seemed rather vague on what should be done, as they pulled this way and that way without much coordination.
Suddenly, one of the ropes seemed to slip and this huge branch (with lots of side branches still attached to it), came hurtling down two metres… YIKES!
Shouting loudly and pulling with all their might, they managed to stabilise it… Phew!
But it had already whacked against one of the two electricity cables (leading to our street light), snapping it with a loud crack. So I guess our street will be in darkness tonight… Sigh… (Don’t tell the bad guys.) The other cable is hanging so low now that you could almost reach up and touch it, which is definitely not a good thing!
With the next big branch they realised they needed to stabilise its descent more effectively, so they drove their bakkie across the traffic island to the opposite side of the road, and tied the rope to its rear axle. That little car tried valiantly to prevent the next branch smacking right down onto the road… Its wheels were spinning so much they smoked! Its poor engine was really struggling and kept cutting out, probably from overheating. But if those guys had tried to lower it by hand,…. someone would definitely have gotten hurt.
Before chaila time (home time), they had successfully lowered three massive branches down from the canopy, leaving the road strewn with twigs and bark and assorted bits and pieces of tree.
A little while later, I saw their bakkie crawling by with a huge load of branches, being pushed vigorously by the rest of the team… They had to push-start it, which was quite a feat, and as soon as the engine sputtered to life, they all hopped on the back, cheering loudly!
Man, it’s exciting here!!!
I wonder whether they’ll be back tomorrow?