Branching Out During Bow Season

I didn’t make it out on the opening day of deer season. But yesterday, four days into it, I was 30 feet up a double-trunked linden tree with a good view of the deer trail behind the house. And in my hands I held my trusty...pruning saw. It’s a good one, a Corona 14-inch curved-blade Razor Tooth Pruning Saw Model 7395. The blade bristles with three-sided, impulse-hardened (somebody please tell me what this means) teeth. It came with a paper scabbard that fell off about 15 feet up. Now it’s hanging from a carabiner attached to my harness, swinging as I ascend, and banging into the nylon straps that connect the two platforms of my Lone Wolf. As well as my legs. Long pants might have been a better choice. The blade is “sticky sharp,” so that when it touches fabric strap or skin, it sort of grabs hold. You have to freeze, relax, and gently disengage it before continuing on your merry way.

Why am I up here, dropping branches up to 5 inches across? As regular readers of this space know and are thoroughly bored with—and, trust me, I’m bored with it, too—I’m trying to sell my house. Since people shop for houses online now, pictures are key. And, because the trees around ours have not been pruned since 1988, most of our house pictures are of trees. Which is not what most people want to live in.

Our realtor advised us to "open up some space" before the photographer came and gave me the card of an arborist. Arborists are expensive. I am not an arborist. But I have logged a fair amount of time at altitude in trees. So I thought, What the heck, I can do this. And now I'm dropping limbs left and right. I've taken to hugging the trunk when one of the big ones cracks and starts to fall because the tree shakes so much. I'm not sure there's any practical benefit in this but it's become an involuntary reflex.

I have to say that I’m quite impressed with this $28 saw, which only cuts on the back stroke. I was afraid I was going to need my chainsaw, but this blade makes the chips fly. The only things I don’t like is that Corona doesn’t you what kind of steel it’s made of, and it’s apparently all but impossible to sharpen yourself. A replacement blade runs $15.

But being up here is a pretty good shakedown run for when I finally do get to go hunting. I realize, for example, that a woggle (a sliding knot, the kind boy scouts use with their scarves) would help keep my tether from sliding down the tree. Also, I need to carry my pocketknife somewhere other than in my pants pocket because the leg straps of my harness make it impossible to get to if I’m ever caught hanging and need to cut myself free. A photo of which would make the house even less salable than it is now.