4. Open Skies - New Thread (Aug 2021)

30th Aug 2021

This is the first of the five trees I decided to address as part of the 'Open Skies' phase (or "Open Sky", as my partner, Jane, pointed out - as there is only one sky...) can be seen above.

...Well, that is what it used to look like...

If you look at the ground you can see how some much of it is in dappled shade . . . or just shade... I'd often wondered what it might be like with more light here? What might be encouraged to grow? Would more of the irises bloom?

A couple of weeks ago (so busy with work and family lately) I made a start on the easier branches - those on the left that were easier to predict where they would drop.

As you can see, the patches of light have expanded.

I decided on cutting the branches off in this manner (a) so that I could 'stand' and cut, (b) to make the branches lighter for dragging later, and (c) it gave me somewhere to sit and/or hang my jacket / bow saw / bush saw. It doesn't seem a lot for only 2 hours work (including some branch clearing), but some of the time goes into planning escape routes if the branch doesn't fall where you expect.

Then, this weekend (Aug 27th), I returned to tackle some of the trickier branches. These branches were mostly growing verticall and were more thoroughly tangled with other branches. This made their trajectory less easily predicted once they were freed (I experienced several close calls when branches suddenly jumped backwards instead of pitching forwards).

...Okay, so this was early evening (above) and the effect I was looking for was marred by it being overcast and nearly dusk. I cut one more branch - the one far right, as the one in the middle has a nest (empty) on and I'd love to try and recover it intact for Jane to show the children at her school (I haven't worked out the logistics of transporting a nest the size of a BMX wheel without it falling apart, but that's a secondary problem as I haven't even got it down yet).

But after that next branch was down (nearly dropping straight onto my foot when it finally parted company from the host), I looked up, and for probably the first time that evening, realised I could see the 'sky'...

...I paused, to try and think of a phrase that captured the feeling of that moment . . . and almost immediately, the word "transformative" presented itself. This was just exactly what I had hoped I would see, and feel.

I'm not sure when I'll next get down to Stackmoor. I need to clear these cut branches (there's a couple of hours work there), but perhaps I'll start work on a different tree next while I work out how to remove the nest. (pic to follow)