Team Tree Felling – September Woofer Cohort

A big shout goes to September’s woofer cohort who did an incredible job helping us during our big tree felling operation of 2015.

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About two years ago, after a big wind and rain storm toppled and snapped a lot of our trees,  we suddenly realized that owning a ten acre property which was mainly covered in bush (ie: trees) actually warrants regular tree maintenance.  We suddenly became concerned about a grove of a dozen or so rather large eucalypt (gum) trees that were looming as high as 80’ to 100’ in the air.

‘Time to bring them down’ we thought.   A professional tree company came and bid the job which nearly toppled us over!  Averaging $2000 per tree, the quote was far too dear for our liking.  Thus began the planning for the ‘team tree felling operation’.   Like pieces of a puzzle, we carefully put together what we needed for the two-week operation:   crucial gear was purchased in the US and shipped over on a container;  arborist friend Patrick from Auckland was employed and scheduled a year in advance;  we advertised on the woofer website for some strong young helpers; and we rented a big-ass chipper from Christchurch.

Woofers Nathan from Florida, USA and Santiago from Uruguay arrived a week before the others to work with Bruce in clearing all the shrubs and smaller trees from the grove.  They felled, hauled, chainsawed, and split as much as possible.


Then aborist Patrick and woofer Annika from Germany arrived and we collected the big chipper for a week.  And the madness began.

We had great weather for the first handful of days which made the hard work all that more pleasant and easier.   Patrick performed amazing chainsawing feats up in the trees – limbing the trees from the top down until only a trunk stood about 25 feet high.  Then he’d saw from the bottom and fell the trunk to the ground.  One morning the whole house shook as a 3′ diameter tree came down.


Everyone worked really hard often doing in excess of the four hour a day woofer exchange requirement.   Slowly, one by one, big trees came down.


Then the weather turned a bit colder and the last two trees became a bit more technical to bring down as they were too close to the building to just drop the limbs.  Patrick was a trooper and spent countless hours up in the trees during two cold windy and rainy days while Bruce worked the rope & pulley system to gently lower parts of the tree.


We had the wherewithal to send Patrick up the tree with a camera to take some awesome aerial shots of the property!   Whoo hoo.


The woofers meanwhile would be working in other areas clearing branches and chipping or spending time with me in the garden.

While everyone worked hard, we also made time for fun.    Everyone was kept well-fed with culinary delights.  In addition to our standard festive pizza making evening,  we tried our hand at making pumpkin and potato gnocchi,  Nathan shared his family recipe for peanut butter pasta (delicious),  Santi made an amazing carmelized Uruguayan desert called dulce de leche (amazing), Annika made a german custard/crumb cake (perfect), and of course Bruce served up our Birdsong specials:  absinthe cocktails!

Nathan also launched a pet project he’d been wanting to start called Moments of Presence in which he asks individuals to share a story of a time when they were totally present in the ‘now’.   Armed with his camera and laptop, he photographed and interviewed each of us throughout the week and our stories can be found here (at the bottom)

Bruce & I were quite pleased with the work that was achieved.   Most of the trees were on the ground and a handful of the really big trees were reduced down to 25-footers, standing naked and keeping sentinel until such time we can take them down.  Meanwhile, we’ve got three very big forty-footers on the ground to slowly cut up and process into firewood.  This should keep us busy for months to come!


Here’s some panorama shots of the transformation:

Thank you team tree felling for all your hard work and good company!!!!  We couldn’t have done it without you!

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