Felling trees is a bit of a hit and miss affair, for me.
More than once, I have carefully cut the horizontal line facing the direction I want the tree to fall; then the sloping diagonal line that meets the first line and spits out a wooden cheese wedge at my feet; then the second horizontal line from the other side of the tree (stay with me, here)… only to watch the tree fall – exactly – in the wrong direction.
A few times, I’ve made the same cuts and the tree has fallen – perfectly – where I wanted it.
Today was different. Today, I cut down some of my favourite dead trees (the cold is still with us in the mornings and these trees are very close to the yurt. Why drag wood from 100 yards [metres] away when it’s right there looking at you when you open the door?) This is what the tree tops looked like at lunchtime, when I’d only taken a few down:
Anyway, I did OK. Only one tree went in the opposite direction (I said that could happen). But it didn’t hurt the neighbour’s fence.
I got to the last tree. The biggest. Probably the tallest. I decided to fell it at 90 degrees to the yurt, for maximum safety. I asked Her Outdoors to leave the yurt, just in case (I said they were close). I made my first cut. Then my diagonal. Then the final cut. The tree started to go.
Me: (SHOUTING – A RARE THING) No! No!
It went precisely towards the centre of the yurt. Even a tree surgeon couldn’t have planned it better. (I don’t need to tell you how inconvenient it would be to have a tree destroy our home, our stuff, the work Her Outdoors is doing, what with the client arriving this afternoon.) There was a great crashing of dead wood and an even greater sigh of relief. It fell short of the door by a few feet.
I wonder if that’s where the expression “Going sideways” comes from.