In the years we were on the land, in the woods, we never cut a tree. Some fell, and we would harvest the wood for firewood, when we could. (we is a large word there, Paul did the cutting, with a bow saw, and split the wood; I gathered twigs for kindling).
In the past 10 years or so one of the large firs near the cabin died, and about 5 years ago the fire officials warned us that we had to remove it.
Last year we asked around, but no one wanted to cut the tree, fear that it would fall strangely, that it would kill them, etc.
Enter tree dude. Tree dude is a long term book customer who has been a logger and a tree worker since the Summer of Love. Slightly pudgy, Jewish, a solitary and witty man, he lives by himself in the small town to the south of us. Tree dude said he'd be willing to check out the tree last year, but last year there was no money to pay for such a thing.
This year, there is money. And time. And absolute necessity. I talked to tree dude for a long while, and he told me he sometimes refuses to cut trees, not because of fear, but because of love. Some trees need to live. The forest needs to thrive. He's turned down jobs.
Last Sunday he and my eldest son felled the huge dead tree, laying it down gently without hurting anything.
I ran into him yesterday and said "you did an awesome job". "Yes, I did" he said. I asked him about another fir, that I was thinking would have to be removed--it is dripping sap, it might fall, etc. He said "no, that's a healthy tree. It's an anchor tree, well rooted. It will live and grow another 20 years at least, leave it be" I asked about it falling on the new small building. He assured me it would not fall, no worries. But there are other smaller trees he would thin out from the forest, to make it healthier, more robust, and more beautiful.
We'll have to go out together sometime soon.