I had a knock on the door around 11:00 am which by itself is strange as I don’t usually get too many visitors. So, I used the peephole and saw a gentleman standing well back from the door and when I opened it, I was prepared to tell him “That I don’t need any” of whatever he was selling. I could see that his truck and trailer were parked on the street and figured that he was looking for work. I didn’t know what sort but it was probably tree trimming or yard work.
He introduced himself and very politely asked if he could give me a price for trimming the trees in the front which oddly enough, I had just been talking to my neighbor about all of the dead wood they contained. I am always a bit wary of strangers stopping by to try to talk me into letting them work around the place for obvious reasons but he offered me a good price and I haggled a bit just because and we finally agreed on a number which I thought was very reasonable. We shook hands on it and before I could get back indoors, he and and a couple of others were unloading their tools. I went back to what I was working on at that particular time and I could hear the angry buzz of the chainsaws outside.
I got burned once before when a couple of white guys stopped by and asked if they could trim the trees. It didn’t take me very long to figure they didn’t have a clue and had to run them off which they didn’t take too well. So, I kept an eye on this group through the windows and it was very obvious they they knew exactly what needed to be done and they were going after it. I have about forty live oak trees in the front and about the same number in the back most of which are live oaks and all of them had a lot of dead wood in them. Two of these guys, all of whom were Hispanic were climbing the trees with a lot of agility with their chainsaws hanging from their waist belts. They used safety harness which they attached to the tree as they scrambled about. While they were doing the cutting, the third guy was loading the very large trailer which also included him jumping up onto the stack and using his chainsaw to consolidate and pack the load. I can’t believe how much stuff they packed onto that trailer.
I called to the bossman, whose name was Derek and took him to the backyard where the ponds are and we walked the garden with me pointing out some of the obvious deadwood and him telling me about what he perceived to be needing work. He told me that a couple of the trees were Hackberries and needed to come down. We haggled for a bit and he came up with a satisfactory price which as I expected, was a little higher than the front because of the difficulty of working around the ponds and because the trees were much bigger in diameter and took more time to cut down.
By now, it was getting dark and they stored their tools in my garage and said they would be back the next day. I paid Derek for the day’s work. When I inquired as to what time to expect them tomorrow, he said around 9:00 am or thereabouts.
Well, 9:00 am turned into 11:00 am before they arrived back to work. This time there was a fourth man with them as they had to carry the material from the back out through the narrow paths and double gate to get to their trailer. They immediately picked up and carried on where they left off the day before. After about an hour or so working in the front, they went to the backyard and started work there.
I sat in front of my computer which also overlooks the entire backyard and it was very interesting to watch them work. They had evolved methods of doing things in order to make the work easier and to go along more smoothly. They worked on the Hackberry trees by cutting off the lower branches leaving enough for them to use as steps in order to climb higher up the tree cutting off more branches as they went. On the dead limbs that overhung the ponds, they attached a rope to them that had been slung over a higher branch and then one held the rope while the other cut the branch. They had to carry every bit of the material on their backs or in a wheelbarrow in order to get it to the trailer which by itself was a difficult task. Even loading the trailer was an art as they had to keep using their chainsaws to be able to pack the material onto the trailer. They never stopped working. Very impressive.
What is strange about all of this is the fact that I had been talking to my neighbor about the need to get this work done. I had also been planning that yesterday, I would take a look at my own chainsaw to cut down one of the trees that was leaning over the workshop and had damaged the roof. For one thing, I can’t remember the last time I started my chainsaw and if it is anything like my lawnmowers, it probably wouldn’t start anyway. I have a riding mower that gets used twice a year and as I manage to forget to start it up through the winter, the seals dry out and I have to get it repaired every Spring, stupid thing or maybe it’s me that’s stupid for being so darn forgetful. Some of the deadwood overhangs the ponds and I really didn’t want it to fall into the water for fear of it damaging the pond liners which would be really difficult to repair. They even took down the stained glass window for me as I was afraid that it was going to blow down in the last storm that we had saving me another yet job. I’m not so good at climbing ladders as I once was. Old age is really a bummer.
As can be expected, these men were all of Mexican descent and I have no idea if they are here illegally or not and I was not about to ask. I find it so difficult that the current administration wants to ban these people. They are extremely hard working and are doing a job that very few Americans want to do so they are hardly taking work away from any others who usually find this sort of heavy labor work too hard and too demeaning.