Mal put the shout out. "They're cutting down this HUGE cedar," she said, "just up the hill. And they're happy for you to take the wood."
How could we turn down an opportunity like that? I was over that way anyhow, picking up Katie from the school where she's doing a BTEC course. I'd parked down the hill; she sidled up to the car and slipped quickly into the passenger seat. We headed over to Montpelier. "O god, I know them," she muttered, slipping out of sight below the window as we passed a group of schoolchildren. It is a terrible trial for a teenager, being driven around in a Moggy, let me tell you.
No such probs in boho Montpelier, though. We meandered around the narrow streets, chugged up a couple of precipitous hills, and saw Pig tied to a railing, branches everywhere, and Mal chatting animatedly to a chap in tree-cutting rig. The air was fragrant with cedarness and chainsawingdom.
It was quite a happening place. A huge Monterey cedar had become a bit dangerous, dropping a big limb onto the road, and it had been decided to fell it. "It must have been sucking up about 200 gallons of water a day", said Trevor the tree man. "It was drying up the ground under it."
The big side branches had already been lopped; we watched as Tristan the tree man, high above, worked the chainsaw through the topmost section of the tree, and it creaked over and fell, to be arrested by the restraining ropes. And I cursed at having not brought out the camera.
We chugged slowly home up the hill, the Moggy's suspension bottoming out under the load.
I like splitting logs. There's something pleasing about a well-swung axe, cleaving its way cleanly through a very large section of trunk.