Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quite at home in the upper branches. . .

At La Rochelle we have a truly remarkable fellow - Shepherd is his name.

He does not work for me - rather he is employed by National Trust as a gardener, and he does a passable job. However - his true talent lies in his ability to climb, and work in....trees! He has a remarkable agility and whenever a tree needs trimming - he is the go-to-guy.

His nickname is 'Dzoma' - which means 'bushpig' in the Shona language, and he hails from Mozambique. Apparently the only toys he had to play with as a child were, ummmm - trees. He and his friends used to have competitions with trees - who could climb to the top the quickest, who could go furthest out on a limb, etc.

Yesterday we had a Jacaranda tree which needed trimming. It grows next to Granny's cottage, and the tiny leaves fall into the thatch and rot - which in turn makes the roof rot, so periodically we trim it. Unfortunately in the process, Dzoma managed to drop a fairly large branch onto the satellite dish - destroying the LNB and the clamp - both which we had to replace.

The tree is not overly tall - only about 70 feet high now we have trimmed the upper branches, but it is still impressive to see him leaping around without a concern in the world, his only concession being to swing the axe - albeit a smallish axe, with one hand. But with full vigour.

Here is a pic of the demolished satellite dish - pointing now north-east as opposed to due east, and some of the debris. Spot Dzoma if you can!

Clambering around with ease - Dzoma provides a silhouette of grace! Obviously no need for any saftey ropes, ladders or netting. In any case - this tree is about half the height which he normally works at. The trunk and branches tend to be convered ina crumbly type of bark - but that doesn't seem to worry him at all. In fact....nothing does!

This is a pic of a full-blooded swing at altitude! Most of the upper re-growth branches were felled with one blow - at the most two swipes! The Jacaranda is a soft wood - but still it takes a good whack to cut these branches with just one swing.

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