Tom Kendall on the cherry picker, doing a job for more than one purpose

Every job more than one purpose…

Every job more than one purpose…

Tom in the cherry picker, workshop roof in the bottom right corner

We have temporarily put our solar panels on the roof of the workshop, because the building we eventually want to put it on is not there yet. However, there was an issue with some trees blocking the sun in the early morning from autumn equinox to spring equinox; the panels were only registering a charge of 1.5 Amps that time of the day. The trees were also invading the space allocated for a woodshed and a carport, which cannot be built there unless the trees were removed.

One tree was deformed and in an inconvenient location. The other tree had 2 main trunks, with one trunk leaning over the proposed carport location. That trunk had to be removed completely, and the other trunk was cut to a height so it can pollard. The pollarding will be trained to not grow back over the proposed carport. In essence the tree received a severe pruning to control the direction of growth and allowing sunlight to hit the temporary solar panel location.

Power lines visible in front
Power lines visible in front

It was a difficult job: there were overhead powerlines to the house, the workshop closeby, a struggling avocado tree that we desperately did not want to damage and a stack of roofing iron on the ground in the area as well. We had help from a local friend; it was a 2 man job with a borrowed cherry picker. Sometimes ropes needed to be attached and pulled by the man on the ground to “steer” the falling branches.

The results of a day’s job, with twisting and turning with chainsaw in a small, wobbly cherry picker, and ropes pulling branches here and there, were better than expected. The avocado tree was undamaged, and its lonely avocado is still there (it’s a young tree). Nobody was hurt and we ended up with a lot of usable material.

Severely pruned trees, with firewood stack and heavy mulch in background
Severely pruned trees, with firewood stack and heavy mulch in background

Timber from the tree:

  • The lighter material (branches, leaves etc) are used as heavy mulch under the white sapote and mulberry tree
  • It is a softwood tree, and better size material will be saved and milled by us for furniture timber
  • Reasonably straight lengths will be used as raised garden bed edging
  • The rest will be used as firewood for our wood stove, which keeps us warm and cooks for us in winter
Firewood in the foreground and heavy mulch under the mulberry tree
Firewood in the foreground and heavy mulch under the mulberry tree

Solar system:

Our solar system now reads 8-9 Amps in the early morning, which will allow us to generate more of our own electricity, and be less dependent on the grid.

©2012 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – More than one purpose for every job done

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