The Laurel and Hardy He Show.

One of the laurel trees in the front yard was getting old, and it was time to cut it down. The tree was too tall to just fell with a cut at the base. There is a house to one side of the tree, and to the other side, an orchard that could be damaged by a falling bole.

Tree work is a special trade, requiring strength, agility, balance, no fear of heights, the ability to use and maintain ropes, saws and other equipment. Think acrobat plus strongman plus rigger plus mechanic? Tree workers are an elite group.

First, you climb the tree.

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Once cut, branches and stem sections need to be carefully lowered to earth. To prepare, you need to run lines into safe places.

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The dissection of the tree begins.

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The branch is lowered.

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When the top branches are gone, stem sections are removed.

This was an old, partly hollow tree. In the hollow was a large colony of ants. Tens of thousands of ants, maybe more. Ants with hair-trigger dispositions, which sting at the slightest provocation. They fanned out in all directions, even into the house, stinging whatever they could find to sting. Including us.

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Brushing away angry ants. To Costa Rica arborist job qualifications, add “high tolerance for pain”.

First stem section comes down.

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A final cut, and the section is free.

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Once the top branches are gone, you can return to earth to cut from terra firma.

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A line attached to the top allows the stem to be carefully brought down.

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Trunk sections are taken over to the roadside.

They’ll be cut into boards later on.

Laurel is a small tree, but has nice wood.

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Heavy stuff, wet hardwood…

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Packing up at the end of the job

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Everything for this job came on one motorcycle trip.

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