archery-based tree pruning
Friday, March 23 2012
This morning I took the dogs and my netbook for another walk in the woods, this time equipped with a 13 inch long WiFi antenna that is supposedly omnidirectional and rated at something like 10 dB. I wanted to see if it was any better than the stock four inch antenna that came with one of my better WiFi dongles. It wasn't, but the expedition turned into one of seeing how many WiFi hot spots I could detect from the ridgeline overlooking the Esopus Valley. As I had last time, I detected two from 41.923802N, 74.099436W. But then I detected two or three from 41.92262N, 74.099393W, including an open one called airether, that I can see from my parabolic dish on the solar deck four fifths of a mile further away. I thought I'd continue being able to see various WiFi routers all along the edge of that escarpment, but by the time I reached 41.917192N, 74.103041W, I'd entered the vast WiFi dead zone.
Back at the house, I eventually gathered together the equipment necessary to launch a rope-powered chain saw over a tree branch about sixty feet above the ground. The tree in question was one of the White Pines east of the house, one of whose branches was in the way of any signals I might be trying to pick up from Shaupeneak Mountain (the prominent ridge landform immediately south of Port Ewen's Huzzey Hill at 41.843446N, 73.989401W). I drilled a hole through my arrow and tied a thin nylon string through it and then made some experimental shots using the bow in the front yard. I quickly learned that the string has to enter the bow from the front or else it will saw through the flesh of your arm is it is jerked forward by the fired bow.
My first couple shots at the tree were from the window of the upstairs bedroom. But it was hard to lay out enough string there for the arrow to make it to the tree without running out. So I moved my operation to the east deck (where we have a picnic table and have our warm weather dinner parties). There I could lay out big loops of the string on the deck's rail, ready to be yanked free without tangling. My first successful shot ended with my arrow hanging about forty feet above the ground and I could make it fall no further, so I had to pull the string free from it. The arrow stayed in the tree for a couple minutes but a slight breeze knocked it down.
My second successful attempt saw the arrow fly over two branches and fall all the way to the ground. It wasn't too hard to then use the string to pull a much thicker nylon rope up over the branch, followed eventually by the rope-powered saw. All I had to do then was cut down the two branches.
But the rope that had come with the rope saw was a bit on the wimpy side and worn from previous use. As I cut through one of the branches, it was abrading on another. Eventually the rope broke and my equipment all fell to the ground. But I'd done enough damage to one of the branches to cause it to snap off within a couple hours. It weighed maybe forty pounds.
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