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Construction Wednesday 1/10 October 29, 2007

Posted by jeanne in construction news, Gardening, Urban Development.
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cutting my tree Wednesday 6/7

we were lying in bed when we heard a loud crack in back. there’d been sounds for an hour or two, and we’d taken our time about waking up, sitting up in bed sipping coffee with bleary minds. saws, drills, hammers, every morning somebody taking a stick or something and whanging away at some large metal container. maybe that’s how the crane guy starts up, maybe someone’s cleaning out a cement mixer or testing the level of the diesel tank.

husband got up out of bed, after considering silently whether to do so at all. but i said that sounds like our tree, and he agreed. then i saw a buch of steel guys come to the SE edge of the new floor and look up, shading their eyes against the low sun. we got up to see the lower branch that’s left since they came thru with a cherry picker and sawed off most of our limbs. it was hanging off the tree, mostly sawn thru, the crack we’d heard had been the tongue that went before he could saw it. a guy was in the tree 50′ up, sawing with a big industrial saw capable of doing cement or rebar, sawing thru another branch, this one higher. there goes all the shade in our corner back, and now i’ll have to rethink the wildflower boundaries, because it seems like we’re going to have more sun there.

we got dressed and went outside. it was freezing outside. the sun was the only warmth, and it wasn’t enough. i took the camera. my hands froze while i was out there. we marched down the back and i started taking pictures of the fallen limb, its small branches stuck in the mud under the tree, the end of it suspended in the air, leaning against the trunk. the guy in the tree had a rope around his waist, and was sitting in the crotch of the branch, sawing at a large, 16″ limb in front of his chest. like a big erection, and he was using both hands to cut it off. we saw forman beyond the yellow dumpsters, halfway up the ramp, and he made as if to hide his face so we wouldn’t see him. i took more pictures. the guyin the tree was trying to saw thru the limb, but it was hard. he had to hold the saw right up on his chest, cradle it in his arms he couldn’t saw all the way around the limb, but had to wrestle the blade out and reposition the saw partway around. the ladder they’d used to get him up the tree was lying broken-looking over the chain link fence, under the limb that he’d just finished sawing.

the mexicans were busy sawing thru the grid they’d made yesterday along the edge of the parking deck structure-to-be, cutting a window like area out. now they’ll be filling up another foot or so to make it level with the rest of the back alley part of the parking deck. a forms truck pulled up in the alley and they started building forms. later they ran a scaffold up and put boards at the level of a man’s head, so they can somehow join the east edge to the west edge of the parking deck. or something.

we talked to forman whilethe guy prepared to finish cutting thru the limb. he said there was nothing they could do about it, they had to cut it because now the crane was going to have to reach things over into the dirt-floored middle and the rest of the parking deck, as well as build up on the west side of the building. and the crane was clearly impacting the tree when he was just doing the lower floors of the cyde street part of the building. so the limbs had to come down. i wanted to know why they couldn’t have moved the crane 20′ to the east, but he pointed to the entrance to the parking deck and said he had to get things in and out. and what about putting it out on the nextors and guy’s yards, and he said he wouldn’t have the reach if he did that.

he said the architects are still at this stage fucking with the design. he says it’s the roof they’re deciding on. i looked at the roof. there’s a roof already, i said. yeah, but what kind of roof. they want cheap but also the best quality. he looked at me. they’re even thinking about using dirt and grass on the roof. i was interested to hear about that. he sayd you can see the place online. i know about the website for the development, but he said he had a webcam on the trailer, and gave me the address.

he mentioned that it was a bunch of steel guys trying to be tree guys. i asked if calvin were the only american on the steel team. he said yes, except for the boss, pointing up into the tree. the boston guy was the guy chopping down my tree. i asked his name. james.

i said, looking up at him, that i wasn’t mad enough to want him to cut off his leg, tho he could (he was using a stone saw, which our tenant the woodworker remarked was always getting jammed in wood, and was very dangerous. everything about what the steel guys were doing up there in that tree alarmed him because it was so very anti-safe). forman shused me, and i said i’m writing down every catastrophe i could think of, and he said including the crane toppling over? he explained that it would go sideways, into our house or into the back of the building. it wouldn’t go toward the boom or away from it, but it’s not very stable side to side. wow.

where's osha when you need them?

after forman moved off and husband went to get the dog, i saw the boston guy slip his safety belt off so he could get up and climb out onto the limb to arrange the tail end of the rope so it wouldn’t get caught on the limb coming down and drag him off the tree. the crane operator looked at what he was doing and told him he was going to get the rope caught on the tree and it would drag him off if he kept doing what he was doing, so he got further out and took the rope off, tying it to the soon-to-be-stump he was sitting on, right in front of his chest. while he was doing this, the crane operator rolled the crane around clockwise in order to move the counterweight and cable arm into the tree, pushing the limb to the left. james made him stop and back off, then started sawing again. he had barely started the motor up again when the limb fell, suddenly. i could see him flatten himself against the trunk to his back as the thing gave way in front of him. then he went after another branch, by now a short stub. i was getting so cold i wanted to come in, and edged toward the house, but kept coming back out to watch what he was doing.then he went and started sawing again.

calvin came up to get the fallen ladder and put it against the tree so the boston guy could get down when he was thru. he kept taking the saw when the guy lowered it down on its rope and filling it with more gas, or restarting it when it stalled. i yelled over to calvin that the boss didn’t have a safety rope on. he was climbing out onto the little branch he was going to cut. he had to cut this little branch because when the big branch went suddenly, it fell onto the little branch, and got its crotch stuck on it, and couldn’t fall any farther. so they had to cut it as well, and the boston guy was crawling out onto it trying to get his ropes free. it looked so very dangerous. i yelled at calvin that i was going to call osha and he started reminding me that i promised to bake them oatmeal raisin cookies. not after you take down my tree, i replied. he didn’t know it was my tree. he got all apologetic. but still insisted on the cookies.

now the boston guy, james, is using an itty bitty handheld green machine, the size of one of those self-winding dog leash contraptions. an electric circular saw. he’s walking around on the ground, cutting up all the little limbs. now and then it binds, the whole limb jerks, and he leaps backwards to avoid getting swatted.

the crane is lifting the pyramidal containers of wet cement to the 4th residential floor. the guys are up on scaffolding on the 4th floor, building up the cinderblock wall.

it’s in the 50s ouside, supposed to go to 27 tonight. there was a little frost heave out back among the dirt i’d dug up and tossed into the veggie bed a couple of days ago. not a cloud in the sky.

the little minidozer is filling in the trench i think, and smoothing out the dirt in the middle place.

stopped by forman’s to get the address of his webcam of the site. taken from a camera on top of the trailer. took pictures of the crane hand instructions he had posted, and took pictures of two aerial views he had taped up on the wall. gave him the address of the blog.

saw beancounter as well, wondered if guy had contacted him about getting his mud regraded and seeded. he said he’d told him they were done. actally, this time it was maggie-not who called asking about when it was going to get seeded. he told her he was under the impression guy was speaking for all the neighbors when he negotiated tthe grading (even tho he was more specific about what he wanted than the others (with the result that the nextor’s land is starting to slump on our side and pool on guy’s, and maggie-not’s yard is the same mass of muddy ruts as the rest of them)).

got the brochure they’ve just printed for the project. tabloid sized cardstock (11×17 heavy weight), glossy finish, loads of the same stock photos of young people having fun doing strange things, fancy alterations of typeface and size, loads of cool sounding things without very many details. no floorplan, no prices. loads of glitz, tho. nice looking thing.

it’s above 60 at 3, still no clouds, still breezy, still too cold either to dye my wool (the garbage bag method) or plant my new plants. still don’t know where to put the ginseng and trillium.

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