28/29 April 2008
Settlement day is Tuesday 29 April. Eeks!
The nights bring heavy rain, the mornings bring grey but still skies.
Jonathan and Bronnie have been here before, but it’s all new ground for Bruce Craigie and Simon Johnson, who are going to be doing the tree felling. Simon has even bought a new chainsaw especially for this job.
Bruce and Simon study the trees in silence. They’re bigger than the two men expected. Fourteen-year-old pines don’t grow this fast down in Otago, which is where the pair have spent most of their time dealing to wilding pines.
The mission starts. It’s like a highly-organised secret-service strategic campaign. Drop Tree 1 in this direction, and it should clear the way for Tree 2 to be felled in this other direction … The planning has to be meticulous. If we get it wrong, at the very least, it means a whole load of effort removing limbs and hauling away a tree fall from the area that we want clear; at the worst, it could leave a person squished under a misplaced pine tree.
The weather is surprisingly kind to us. What looks like a day for spending in front of a coffee at the Wholemeal Cafe turns out to be a calm, if clouded and misty afternoon.
We work on the tree felling for two days and then step back. Ta-daa! Fifteen trees have been dropped, and we now have the perfect site for a nice wee hut. We can even see a smidgen of the sea from where we think the Funky Shack will sit.
Simon loves his chainsaw. He wants to sleep with it at night … we don’t say anything, we don’t catch his eye. So long as he and his chainsaw are dropping the trees, we can’t really protest. We just give him a wide berth.