I looked up to see a bend in one of the largest boughs - this year's rain has produced an unprecedented crop of nuts and the weight was apparently too much for the tree's structure. An enormous amount of branches and leaves were resting on the fence, tangled up in nearby shrubs, and in crepemyrtles and some young Arizona Ash trees on the other side of the fence. I called Philo out to look at what happened, and we tried to decide what to do. This job might well be too big for us to handle, but we also knew it was best to get the weight off the other trees and shrubs as quickly as possible.
We got out the loppers and pole pruner, thinking that if we cut away some of it, we could at least see what we'd be dealing with. As you all know, once a pruning job is started, with one small cut following another, it's almost impossible to stop. Pretty soon we had the ladder out, along with ropes, the chain saw, brown yard bags and twine for tying up brush.
Philo did the heaviest lifting and sawing, while I held onto ropes and hauled the boughs out to the center of the yard. He somehow hauled that enormous branch up over the top of the fence and away.
An hour later the shrubs were freed, battered but mostly intact, the crepe myrtles looked okay, and the flexible Arizona Ash tree was already straightening out. The fence is old and beat up already, so a few more nicks in the top are barely noticible.
We were impressed with the pile of debris, and set to reducing it, bundling up branches cut to the regulation 4 feet, with smaller stuff clipped so it would fit in bags. There were a few pieces that could be firewood, but pecans grow with many, many dense shorter branches. By 8 o'clock we were tired and hungry, and it was getting too dark to work safely. We thought we'd done pretty well for two people who get senior discounts at the movies - this was all that was left to be done the next the morning.
We're still wondering whether we'll ever get any edible nuts from these trees - whatever pecans were not eaten by squirrels each fall have been either hollow or wormy. Unfortunately the branch broke before the nuts were mature - the husks were still green and tight. And we've still got to saw that broken part smooth.