By Trina Machacek

When we get a few years under our belts we’ll have seen things that are flabbergasting. Personally I have seen cars go very fast, airplanes fly upside down and loop-de-loop. I have also seen animals being born in many different ways. Well at the end they all come into the world down just one shoot, but that shoot can be handled in some different and interesting ways.

Some neat things I have seen were pictures in books. Yes, before the internet there were books. Interestingly I remember seeing a book about the lumber business of days gone by. When men would go into the forest and cut huge trees with huge saws. Trees that took days to cut with saws that two men worked. Flabbergasting to say the least.

Luckily there are also very old films showing men cutting their way through forests. I was and still am intrigued by lumberjacks who climb and top huge trees. Really huge trees. I thought of those trees when I needed to trim a tree in my back yard. Now first let me tell you that I am not a lumber Jack or lumber Jill.

Topping a tree means a guy climbs up and up and up a tree to a spot that will need to be cut off so that when the whole tree is cut down the top will not be in the way because the tops have the most live and happy branches. Okay that is enough about tree-ology. What I want to focus on is that when a tree is topped the guy hanging from the spot where the tree is topped is given a wild ride when the top comes off. That is caused by this super backlash that swings the tree as the top lets go.

That’s kinetic energy. You cannot see kinetic energy. But! Yes a kinetic energized “but.” Thoughts of kinetic energy seeped into my brain as I was trimming my tree recently.

It was a branch that was growing wildly off of a Russian olive tree I have in my back yard. It grew across the fence. Then as these trees are known for, the branch grew downward hitting the ground and continued to grow pushing forcefully into Mother Earth. 

I probably would have let it grow but it was cutting down my view and started to put pressure on the top wire of the barbed wire fence that is along the back side of my yard. It needed to be taught a lesson.

In years past when the trees needed trimming I hid in the house when the chain saw came out. I baby my trees so to see my trees lose a limb or two was something I just couldn’t watch. So very girlish of me.

Knowing my limitations I know enough to know that I don’t know how to use a chain saw. So when it was time for me to trim that branch by myself I did the next best thing. I grabbed my trusty cordless reciprocating saw. After a few days of fighting with a fine tooth blade that was left in the saw, and then embarrassingly learning how easy it is to change the blades, I put in an aggressive wood chewing blade and out I went to turn the bushy looking tree back into a skyward reaching tree.

Cutting little branches off to get to the big one I worked, probably too much. Time went on and I got hot. And sweaty. The branches seemed to be never ending.

Soon I just wanted to be done so I fought my way into the mass tangle to get to the big branch that was causing the downward growth.

I just wanted to get‘er done. As the saw began to gnaw and throw pieces the thought of those guys who cut big trees and the rides those tree toppers took came to mind. No, this branch was not on a 300 foot tall 50 foot diameter tree.

It was about a 12 inch branch. Just a little branch. But I had tried to pick up on it before I started cutting. Wow, it was firmly pushing into the earth. Would the tree “let go” when the branch was cut? Interesting…

Suddenly before my cut was all the way through, with a crack, twang, swoosh and zing that not so little branch cut loose from the ground and the entire tree sprang up and danced. I think I even heard a releasing “THANK YOU” as the tree swished free. She’s a fine looking tree now.

Trina lives in Eureka. Her new book, “They Call Me Weener” is available on or e-mail her at to get a signed copy.