Lop lop loppers

On the drive in Friday, Tom flinched every time a branch scraped against Xena on Booger Hollow’s narrow and rhododendron-infested roads. So today, I got out the loppers to trim them back.

It was a three-hour chore. But the destructive beast inside me was growling with delight to be off the leash.

Loppers were unfamiliar to me until about five years ago. I learned that if you need to clear trails and roads in forest on a regular basis, loppers are your best friend.

You use them to lop off those pesky branches that get in your way. You can even cut down small trees with a decent pair of loppers. They are like pruning shears on steroids that have mated with handgun. 

Because of the way loppers are designed and constructed, you don’t need a lot of strength to operate them. The cutting edge is powered by a kind of gear, which operates on the strength of the levered handles. (Don’t remember geometry? Here’s a refresher on how a lever works.)

I love my loppers. Those things are amazing. And addicting.

When you can just snap off a healthy branch as thick as your finger in a half-second, you get a little power rush. And you do it again and again.

loppers action

Last year we bought a bigger pair of loppers but I didn’t have the chance to put them to work. Today was the test.

Quickly learned that I could cut down a tree with a trunk as big around as my wrist. Somehow this is even more satisfying than a chainsaw, because you have the illusion that you are winning by your own power alone, not because you belong to a species that invented a gasoline-powered engine and a blade that runs a chain full of sharp little axes at high speed.

This is way better than breaking glass, because the branches can just decompose where they fall. 

I cut, and cut, and cut, all the way down the quarter-mile Booger Hollow Road. Then I walked the road back and cut more along the way. 

Wanton destruction. I snipped off and tossed branches aside without speaking to the plants. I muttered like some grizzled old-timer about Laurel Hell and nasty rhodies. 

If a branch got too close to my head, I reached up with those loppers and just snapped it off. Raw power.

Makes you understand why barbers like to cut your hair too short.

Today’s penny is a 2015, the year I bought the new and bigger loppers.

2 thoughts on “Lop lop loppers”

  1. I know that power. It’s addicting. It’s why Barb always supervises my lopping. But her supervision has saved our trees and shrubs from looking like they’d been in the barber’s chair too long!

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