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Midsummer, part II, when everything did not go according to plan

June 24, 2015

In Finland it’s also a tradition to cut down young birch trees and put them as decorations at the entrance to a house. For example like this.

We missed doing this for Midsummer Eve, but thought on Sunday after Midsummer that it’s time to cut down a tree. Unfortunately this is what happened:

Sauna 1

Yes, you are seeing correctly, the tree landed smack on the beach sauna!

Before going any further I should give a bit more background. Cutting down a tree is nothing that we do lightly. The Other Half has cut down dozens of trees around the lot. We make a really good tag team for those trees that require two people: he cuts with the chainsaw and I help to pull the tree into the right direction with the help of ropes set-up in advance before we start any cutting. In cases where we see/feel tree is too close to a bulding we call in the pros. Up to last Sunday we have not had any mishaps, this was a complete freak accident. But after the background let me continue.

Sauna 2

As I said, everything was set-up nicely and I was pulling on the rope as the Other Half started to make the first cut into the tree. And immeadiately at that point I could feel it: the tree was pulling the wrong way! Major panic at my end, trying to communicate this to someone in full logging gear… Well, as you can imagine, after getting the message across there was little we could do but to try to shift the inevitable falling of the tree. Pooling our strength we shifted plans of pulling the tree down opposite of the sauna to towards the lake instead. The master plan was that it would potentially shift the tree so that it would fall in front of the sauna.

Sauna 4That did not work out (obviously). The Other Half was just getting the axe from some steps away from where we were standing and that’s when the tree started falling. I think everyone around our lake now knows the Other Half’s name, as I screamed it quite loudly as the tree was falling. It’s really a desparate feeling when you see what is happening and there is absolutely nothing, nothing you can do. After the mighlty thud there was silence. For a moment.

In the end we got super lucky, no unbelieably lucky! The tree landed on the sauna with full force but it landed smack on the edge of wall where the structure is the strongest. In addition, the ladder the Other Half had rigged on the other side of the birch (the side it was not supposed to fall on like ever!) was holding it slighly for a while as well as breaking the fall. Of course the ladder did not make it:

Sauna 5

So what did we learn from this? Even the best made plans and lots of earlier experience does not mean something will work out like you want it to. Especially with nature: nature is wild and has a mind of it’s own. Even though it’s a still, non-windy day and a tree looks like it’s clearly leaning to the left it might still actually fall to the right. We learned the above the hard way and will remember our strike out for a long time.

And what was the damage I hear you asking? As said, we were UNBELIEVABLY lucky as there was no damage to the sauna whatsoever! There is no damage to the roof. The tree did not even touch the chimney or weather vane. There is no damage on the inside. We are extremely grateful for our freakish luck.

Just to assure you that I’m not pulling your leg with the above, here’s a picture of the sauna after we cleared the birch away. As good as new!

Sauna 6


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