Nate Cuts Down a Pine Tree From the Side Yard
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” -John 15:1-2
These verses record Jesus speaking to the apostles, presumed to be the same evening Jesus was arrested prior to His crucifixion. For the purpose of growing the church of believers, He’s encouraging them to not part from His teachings after His ascension.
God the Father is the vinedresser, Jesus is the true vine, and we believers are the branches. To gain a clear picture of this analogy we must study the grapevine and the vinedresser. And why would anyone bother dressing a vine? Fruit, of course!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23
When to Prune: All of the experts say it’s best to do the majority of the pruning when the vine is dormant in the winter. The vinedresser prunes to his desired spread and size.
- Not if. When. All vines need pruned; all Christians need pruned. Have you been through a cold season and more bad events continue to occur? Pruning is necessary so that we may bear more fruit. Do you think pruning hurts? You bet it does! God has a desired shape for Christians, and it’s called Jesus. Everything that doesn’t fit, He cuts off. And sometimes it takes a long winter of cutting to get us to a place where we can be fruitful again.
How to Prune: The vine has one main stem called the “leader”. But the grapes actually grow from the laterals and sub-laterals (branches). For most beginners, it can be as simple as pruning off the old wood to make room for the new fruiting wood.
- How amazing is God that He allows us to bear fruit? He is the Leader who could do it all on his own, but He chooses to be the humble vine that gives us nutrients, holds us up, and connects us with all other believers through Himself. The branches that don’t produce fruit are removed to make room for the branches that will. A true believer from the true vine will produce fruit.
Dry Spells: Deep roots don’t need a lot of nursing during dry spells. Watering deeply less often is better than watering a little bit frequently. This will encourage deep roots and not surface ones. Avoid using manure as mulch as this will encourage the roots to grow toward the surface.
- Be spiritually fed. Pray, study, and be in community with believers. Church attendance is great, but if you are only getting a little water here and there, your roots will be shallow and vulnerable during seasons of drought. And regarding manure . . . don’t mulch your mind with crap because it’s comfortable; it misdirects the growth of the roots. Choose carefully the media and people you allow yourself to spend time with. What goes into your mind is what comes out. Force your mind and heart to go deep and don’t give in to the shallow comfort of distractions.
Winter Protection: Early winter, remove any old loose bark from the stems using a sharp knife. This will expose any pests that are hiding there. Vines need a cold spell to flower and produce grapes.
- Feeling a winter coming on? Do some cleaning. Examine your life for sinful habits or pesky people that are hindering your spiritual nutrition. It will hurt cutting those things loose, but I encourage you to love God more than whatever you are afraid of losing. We need the cold spells to produce the fruit. Embrace it and do what is needed to be healthy.
Pollination: Grape vines grown outside will not need any help with pollination, as the wind will do this. However, those grown in the greenhouse need to be shaken to release the pollen.
- Sign up for a small study group at church. If you are isolated in your house, you will not pollinate unless you are shaken! If you are out in the community with other people who are serving Christ, pollination happens easily. And where there is pollination, there is fruit! “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”- Hebrews 24,25
When to Harvest: Grapes need to be picked when they are ripe as they will not ripen any further once they have been picked from the vine. The best way to test whether your grapes are ready for picking is to taste them. They should taste nice and sweet.
- Our spiritual fruit won’t ripen after it’s been picked from the vine. How do you know when your fruit is ripe? You will have “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” All of these things together are considered fruit, singular. Not fruits, plural. One ripened fruit will have all of these attributes. God alone ripens the fruit through your relationship with Him. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” –John 15:4
If your life doesn’t resemble the shape of Jesus or you know that you have sour to no grapes, don’t wait! Get on your knees, put your hands overhead, and offer the Vinedresser the shears daily. “Lord, whatever you see fit to cut, cut. You are the life-giver, the fruit grower, and the branch pruner. And without you, I can do nothing.”
When I first saw this house, I loved this tree. But with each visit to see the house, we noticed this tree kept losing branches. The branches on one side have been broken off from storm damage and the aesthetics will not recover. Identifying it as a future hazard, this tree has seen it’s last day. We had a couple other stumps to grind out and thought it wise to fell this and take care of all the stumps at the same time.
After Nate got his ladder up, he prepped his rope. By the way, kids (and grown up kids), seriously don’t try this at home. We were able to do this ourselves due to a huge cleared area next to the house. If it had been closer to any buildings we would have hired this done.
Nate climbs the tree . . .
. . . higher . .
. . . and higher . . .
. . . and ties it off.
This shot is for you KZ.
Nate moves the ladder . . .
And starts his wedge cut in the front.
When he began to make his angle cut in the back (intended to control the direction of the fall), the weight of the tree moved and pinched his saw. Crap. This has happened to me so many times, but never with this large of a tree.
So we called Nate’s dad. Can I just say, thank God for dads! We tied off the tree just in case it decided to snap when we weren’t ready. Ed thought he could move the weight of the tree with his truck and get the saw out. Times like this I really miss our truck.
Then, Ed drove onto the neighbors’ lawn and Nate tied the tree rope off to the truck.
And Ed pulled back until the tree moved enough to wiggle the saw out.
Next, Nate took down the heavy branches so the weight wouldn’t cause the tree to fall in the opposite direction intended.
And this is where I got in trouble for taking pics instead of helping. So skipping ahead- Ed pulled, Nate cut the tree, and I made sure no cars were coming. Boom! The top snapped off easily, so we felt vey thankful we didn’t let it do that on it’s own.
It opened up the view quite a bit.
Nate then untied the rope, and Ed enjoyed his moment of heroism- saving his kids from another tight spot, haha! I’m really hoping to lessen these events in the future.
Tree is down and everyone is safe. Next we will call the tree stump removal men and the man who will chip our tree trunk into mulch for the garden!
After weeks of rain, the stump grinders were finally able to come. I was sick this day and took a pic from my bedroom window. This is tree stump #1, $50 (from the lowest bidder).
This is tree stump #3, $400 (others bid $500 for it).
Tree one after he left. I already cleaned this up by digging all the mulch out and putting it in the garden. I will fill this with dirt so Nate can seed it.
Trees 2 and 3. This clean up might take me awhile.
I will not have to buy any more mulch this year. 🙂 Cost of 3 tree stumps = $500. Money saved on mulch- I don’t know, but a lot!