Before we moved out here, a tree in the spruce grove had fallen onto the fence. I have no idea when it happened, but it had to have been very recent. My older brother, spotting it, grabbed a bucksaw and cut the tree at the fence, then propped the fence wire up with a stick, then neatly tucked the top of the tree, now on the outside, against the fence.
When I was cleaning along that fence line last year, I moved the tree top away from the fence line to give me space. I just dragged it over into the space between fence and ditch and left it there until I could get back to it.
That section of tree has been sitting there ever since.
I’ve been wanting to move it for a while but, frankly, it was not a job any of us was looking forward to. We could, with two or three people, drag it into the outer yard and add it to the wood pile. Or, it could be cut into smaller pieces and one person could haul it out with many trips and a wheel barrow.
… could I drag it out with the riding mower?
If I could find something I could put around the tree and hook up to the mower, I could potentially drag the whole thing out that way.
One of the problems with any of these options is that there is a drainage ditch of sorts that needs to be crossed. It is quite uneven, and there is no way to drive over it with the mower without breaking something. Even going over the drainage ditch with a wheel barrow would be rough.
Time to go hunting to see what I could find.
One of the things I could do was use a narrow piece of plywood and put it across the drainage ditch, and see if that would allow me to drive over it.
The drainage ditch is so uneven, in depth, width and consistency, it took me a while but I did find a section where I could drive over it without damaging the mower.
I forgot to take a picture first, so this one was taken on the return trip.
Not ideal, by any means, but it worked.
As for hooking the tree up to the mower, I dug around and found a nut and bolt large enough to fit into the hole at the back of the mower for a towing pin. I thought of using the chain we were using across the gate to pull the tree, but the bolt was too big to fit through the links. A smaller bolt, coupled with a large washer, could have fit the mower, too, but the links on that chain are just too small.
Then I noticed some old rope with hooks at each end, hanging among the various bits and pieces on the wall in the garage.
The hook fit into the hole well enough to do the job.
But just one hook. I then attached the second hook onto the first.
This is no small section of tree! Having had to move the rest of it, inside the spruce grove, I’d say this is about 1/3rd of the full height of the tree that fell.
On the right of the photo, you can see some willow starting to grow in the ditch. There’s quite a few saplings started in there, too. I need to get in there to cut them down before they get too big. The last thing we need is for this area to get overgrown with trees, like on the other side of the driveway. It hinders the water flow in the ditch, and restricts visibility.
Once hooked up, I started dragging the tree top out at the slowest speed.
The mower did NOT like this job, and there were a few times I had to stop because a knocking noise started somewhere under my feet. Once I was out of the grass and on the driveway, that stopped happening.
Now that the tree top is by the wood pile, it’ll be an easier job to cut the branches off into more manageable pieces to throw onto the pile for chipping.
After putting away the mower, I went back to clean up.
There were a fair few pieces of branches to pick up, and there was a gouge in the ground the whole way!
I don’t think I would want to use the mower for a job like this again; at least not for anything bigger/heavier than this piece of tree. I’m glad I was able to try it out, though, and that it worked. A small trailer of some kind would be perfect to use where we are currently making do with wheel barrows.
In the past my mother used a push mower to keep this section between fence and ditch mowed. I have left the piece of plywood over the drainage ditch for now, in case I can use the riding mower in there. I will need to first go over the entire area to pick up branches, trim saplings, and see if it is level enough to use the riding mower.
At times like this, I do really wish we also had a working push mower.
All in good time!