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I just witnessed 2 days of the most amazing athletic and logistical skill in taking down a huge (I mean really huge) silver maple in a tight urban setting, my backyard.

The guy and his line man were like a ballet. Not a single mistake. It was incredible. This guy is a once in a generation guy. I wanted to be him for a few hours.

I took some Quicktime movies of the process, and am winnowing down to about 30 seconds. Can you put Quicktime up here?

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I have two 100-foot tall oaks in my front yard and one got hammered by an ice storm a few years ago. Like you, I was amazed by how the trimmer looped his rope over one limb, tied the rope to the limb he was gonna slice, lowered himself deftly so he could wield his saw, and then did his thing.

It was like watching a spider traveling up and down its web, the whole process was so quick and seamless.

I complimented the guy when he was finished and chatted him up a little. He said the only real mistake that had ever occurred was when a rope broke and a tree limb took out an A/C condenser.

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When these guys are good, they make it look easy. But the flip side is that @#$% happens, even if you are good. And trashing a condensing unit is far from the worst thing that can occur.

This summer, we had unusually heavy rains and wind thanks to Gustav and Ike. Two tree trimmers died locally -- one in my 'hood. In that case, a large pine didn't fall as expected and a chunk of it pinned a man. According to the press reports, he begged his partner to cut the tree off of him, and when he did, the man died. Maybe he bled out due to internal injuries; I don't know. No more details were given in the press. To this day, I drive by that house and can't help but think about that poor guy.

And his partner.

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Yes. A very dangerous ballet. When I was young I saw a guy cutting up a large tree high up in the limbs. He dropped his chain saw. It was on a rope attached to his belt so it would not fall to the ground, I guess. It swung back and made a blur of his leg. It looked like something in a slaughterhouse. What a mess. It is a remarkably dangerous job.

The guys who do this are fearless. I also believe they are a bit nuts.

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It was nuts. Wielding chain saws 40' off the ground secured to a single point, swinging dozens of 400 lb. maple chunks around wires and house parts, mentally calculating swing arcs and drops, anything goes wrong it's real wrong. It was nuts. And beautiful.

I still want to be him for a couple hours........

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Some years back, an unskilled guy (hired by the owner of the house next door) climbed up a 30+ foot ladder in my backyard, and started chain-sawing on a dead limb. It rained that morning; the tree limbs were kinda slick.

I heard a crash, and some agitated voices. I ran outside to find a guy on the ground with his right arm and all his shoulder stuff moved way around to the middle of his back.

It truly freaked me. The guy lived, but I was told that he was never quite right after that. I think that might've been the day I decided to keep my ass off ladders.

WJ

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