Thursday, November 15, 2012

Powerline Windfall

  After the large pelton wheel generator was installed in 2000, we strung a 240 volt power line from the lodge here tree to tree almost a kilometer down to the hot spring area. This power line services the small caretakers cabin there and once in awhile gets a tree fall on it.
   This stressed out looking cedar developed root rot and blew over in a windstorm last summer, landing on the power line and sagging it down with its weight. You can see the power line where it comes in from the upper right, it is anchored to that major tree there so you can see the fallen tree is putting quite a bit a strain on the wire. It will hold the weight dry, but with a load of wet snow this winter it will break the wire, or pull the anchor out of the 'pole' tree, either of which require putting on the spurs and climbing belt and going up there to remedy the problem. At this stage of my life out of self preservation, putting on the spurs is a last resort, so getting this behemoth off the power line before winter was the best idea.
   I wasn't keen on climbing up the sloping tree with a chainsaw and bucking it off, I didn't know for sure what the tree was going to do once freed from the heavy top extending beyond the power line. It was still attached to its root ball in the ground and I didn't know if it would stand up and find myself hanging on with my fingernails, or if it would just drop and I would ride it down into the bush cowboy style.
Lifting it back the way it came off the wire with a block and pulley was my first choice but was going to take a lot of rigging up, still involved climbing spurs and I wasn't a hundred percent it was going to work as planned. I was expecting some old friends from Kelowna out for a weekend a few weeks back so I decided to wait until then so there would be someone present whom in the event of a mishap would make some attempt to revive me at least.
   We decided the best plan of attack was for me to pack the Husky chainsaw up there with the aid of not one, but two ladders tied together, Lorne would hold the ladder(s), and Ron would use my camera to document the operation for the possible ensuing coroner's investigation.
Rule number one. Turn the power off.

Oh ya well that inspires a lot of confidence, a couple of already too long aluminium ladders tied together, reaching up and resting next to where the tree contacts the power line cable.
People need only go back and read my February post about building the shop to fully appreciate my apprehension with projects involving ladders, the experience still fresh in my mind 7 years after the fact..
Lorne kept a firm hold on the ladder, the grim possibility of having to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on me probably made him all that more diligent.
 I packed up a short chain to tie the tree and the top of the ladder together, just in case it stood up after I cut the top, I would just have to drop the saw and hang on to the swinging ladder.
We hadn't really figured out a scenario if the tree fell.
Well the tree didn't move hardly any when the top was removed, much to the relief of all involved, especially him up the ladder. A job well done, and all in a days work out here at the hot spring.


  1. Why don't you wait for the utility company to take care of it?

  2. I am the utility company.

  3. Life living off the grid! No 1-800 number to call if your power is out.