best part of line clearance? Knockin' on doors

speelyei

Active Member
best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

I love knocking on doors to let folks know we're gonna be trimming their trees away from the wires. It's like terror roulette... today the Prince of Darkness answered the door while some kind of zombie hovered in the shadows. Lately I've been working in a part of town I like to call sketchville... tweakers, section 8ers, shut-ins, you get the idea. I swear I'm gonna look in a shed and find a dessicated body. Usually it doesn't bother me, but this place is like a Diane Arbus expose' come to life.
At least I'm working the same beat as my wife (she's a case Mgr for Child Protective Srvcs). Hats off to all you Forepersons knocking on the door and then steppin' away so maybe the bullets will miss... I'm right there with you!
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

How does your company train you to knock on doors?

Like a process server...knock, then duck over to the side, jsut in case?
 

H4stir

New Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Had a homeowner let his dog chew on my butt this winter, couple of new holes as a result. Dog has a slightly skewed head now, homeowner should have too but could not get away with that.Had to satisfy myself with a clear cut.

I love knocking on doors, I now whistle to see if a dog is around first, knock and step down the stairs so they can see the high vis orange jacket and, if it's real sketchy, I bring someone with me.

I prefer the homeowners that are not home, they're the best kind. Drop off notification go on to the next one. I can get contact information from our billing and I'll give them one phone call to connect. No effort to contact me after the notification, I take that as acceptance of the inevitable.
 

speelyei

Active Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Ripley's Believe It or Not continues...
in a part of town notable for it's vacant trailers, garbage strewn alleys, and omnipresent "tweaker" presence... we hit a 7 property streak:
vacant property 1: a wandering youth scumbag dumped three hypodermic needles in our work area, using an employment inquiry as an excuse to step out of sight of a police cruiser.

vacant property 2: deserting renters left body of dog with obvious trauma signs under boxes of childrens toys. Cue soundtrack "What a Wonderful World".

occupied property 3: two giant boars root through household garbage, cannot be secured to allow line clearance operations.

occupied property 4: new groundsman sets sign directly on pile of discarded cat litter and cat feces... 50 or 60 gallons of material. We discuss attention to detail.

occupied property 5: while walking alley to reconnoiter upcoming climbs, pit bull begins barking furiously. This garners little attention from us until dog leaps to top of 6' fence, high centers self precariously, snapping and growling viciously. As we violate company policy by leaping adjacent fence to safety, we see man holding nickel plated revolver sitting in lawn chair. He seems not to notice us at all.

at this point we took an early lunch and drove a block or two to put some distance between ourselves and the Mos Eisley Cantina. Upon our return, we were accosted by a property owner for not contacting him before removing a branch from his cottonwood tree that grew over the two-phase. He owned 4 lots with abandoned trailers, and was furious that I didn't think to knock on the 5th door.
The last job of the day had a peculiar smell... it was from the elk leg rotting under the cactus in the back yard. Duh!
 

H4stir

New Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Oh yeah!!

The joys of customer relations and overhead line clearing.
 

dylanclimbs

Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

We had a good one today.

I contract for a line clearance co. to fill some voids in my schedule, and today began with a lovely upslope slash of a single phase thru some indian land (or should I say Westbank First Nations). Small cherries and chokecherries. Permission to access property had already been given and we had a signed copy in the foreman's truck.

We spent about an hour and a half dropping the cherries, which were downslope and therefore more difficult because the drag to chipper was upslope(funny how we all like to do the hard chit at the beginning of a job), and were just getting into the upslope chokecherries.

I started cutting and the lads were happily chipping away (well okay not happily). There were some heavy leaners (though only 8-10") and I thought it would be a good time to show the young-uns (so what I'm 26...I got two kids and that makes me old) what a bore cut looked like. So I got the tree cut up, and left a good solid strap, only to be told by the lads to shut er down.

As I turned around to see the reason for this plot twist, my eyes adjusting to the light from having been knee deep in the slash jungle, enter two angry ladies. Both reaking of booze (at 1030 in the morning), neither the property owner, but both almost militantly opposed to our work. Dressed in their finest ill fitting lululemon knock offs, with bellies that put ol St. Nick to shame...unfortunately, without his humility. Funnily enough, the shirt of the one who did most of the talking (read yelling) very humorously rode up her belly the more she bellowed.

So I put on my best smiley face, and calmy attempted to direct these rational human beings away from a cut-up tree, only to be hollered at and called all sorts of strange names and told in no uncertain terms to vacate. So, we packed up our gear, headed down the hill to the turn around and were summarily blockaded. One of the lovely ladies decides that this blockade is an excellent place for an ambush and rolls a sizable rock downslope to our truck.

They now wanted to know the reasons for our working on the property, to which I replied 'we are contracted by your utility company to ensure these trees present no electrical hazard to the system and to you for the next several years.' Clearly the wrong thing to say, as the chokecherries and cherries had been in the family for several hundred years. I attempted to rationalize with this woman to no avail. Fortunately, enter foreman, who proceeds to convince these women that it is a superior idea to allow us to leave the property and cease being their whipping boys.

So we start to drive slowly up the hill to freedom...

Unfortunately, the lady decides that I have been nothing but a dickhead, you know...asking her politely to step away from the cut up tree, informing her that we are on contract to complete a job...yada yada, and demands an apology before we actually leave the site. I yield, apologize, and now she isn't convinced by my sincerity...well dang, I'll surely lose sleep tonight. So I reply, 'well, I would like to suggest that you have treated me disrespectfully during this...' At this time the woman began bellowing her disapproval, which at least got her the f#$% outta the way for us to pull outta that place and move on.

Man, I'll fill the voids in my schedule, but you all can keep this full time stuff!!

Much respect to all you hard working utility clearance arbos out there, stay safe!
 

Frax

Well-Known Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Jeez you guys. What a life!

It's all I can say.
 

Treezybreez

Well-Known Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

You guys crack me up. I have more respect for you guys after reading what you have to put up with. Keep the stories coming and stay safe.
 

treeness

Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Livin' the dream boys. Sounds like our condo pruning, lot's of greasy skids that have been fertilizing the dirt in their back yards with their dog's faecal matter for the past 3 years.
 

H4stir

New Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Good point! how do you guys handle the homes that are awash in "excrement". Right now I either walk away from it unless it's a pressing issue to clear up. In that case we drop the debris in the yard and leave it for the homeowner to deal with.
 

JJackson

New Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Yesterday I was reminded of one of the funnier requests that I had when clearing a 200ft wide ROW for a 230kV and a pair of 69kV line in a neighborhood. The elderly gentleman asked if I could hold off on removing the trees in the row (we were removing any tall growing tree within, only leaving low growers and shrubs, this included expensive landscapes that were never approved by the utility). He figured if I could wait a few more years that he was likely to die and he would not have to deal with the loss of his trees. We both laughed when he made the request that I had to bring to the higher ups. We ended up having to remove the trees at that time, but as soon a summer rolled around again and he was back up here he called me immediately and was excited of the view of the lake that he and his wife could now enjoy. Just funny how some things work out.
 

speelyei

Active Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

[ QUOTE ]
Good point! how do you guys handle the homes that are awash in "excrement". Right now I either walk away from it unless it's a pressing issue to clear up. In that case we drop the debris in the yard and leave it for the homeowner to deal with.

[/ QUOTE ]

Once I have asked the people to clean up and come back later. They cleared a one foot wide path from the gate to the tree and cleared a two foot area at the base of the tree... and there were childrens toys, a swingset, a barbeque, and a picnic table back there. Disgusting.

Now I am on a three person crew, so I will usually send our groundsman back with a rake.
 

Fairfield

Well-Known Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

[ QUOTE ]
How does your company train you to knock on doors?

Like a process server...knock, then duck over to the side, jsut in case?

[/ QUOTE ]

Funny, but worst thing you can do is stand infront of the door or right to the side of it. I work as a E.M.T full time just outside of Philadelphia, and I have seen places that have body outlines on the wall next to the doors inside. This way it is not much of a guess where to shoot without opening the door!!
 

speelyei

Active Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Here's a new experience for me...

I was in a "long boom" configuration, slipped between the triplex and cable, right up next to the pole with it's transformer, fuses, multiple service drops, etc... y'know, all key-holed back in under the hardware, about 90 degrees outside, no shade, no breeze... rigging limbs off an elm over a greenhouse and a shed with the worlds friendliest homeowners out chatting it up...
when suddenly I am surrounded by a huge swarm of bees. One second they weren't there, the next, they were in the bucket, on the boom, in the cab of the truck, everywhere! None landed on me... "Uh, guys!?, We've got a bee problem!" I yelled as I started the slow, laborious extricaion process.
Sweat poured off me as I waited for the stings to start..

about the time I had the bucket landed, a light breeze moved through and the whole swarm just moved on.

Wierd. Good. I like honey, but I don't need to fool with the bees.
 

Wood_Dog

New Member
Yes I do enjoy knocking on doors and hopping fences. The best part is getting to check out places, Ive done seen all the private little fishing holes across town. I showed my boss a yard with a mean ass dog. My boss jumped the fence and yelled at it to "Get over there and lay down!" Works almost every time.
 

CutHighnLetFly

Well-Known Member
@LimbLoppa @Brian Latimer
And @ any other line clearance guy, can we please revive this thread. Holy hell, what a read. God bless you guys.
Bought some Lewis tree guys coffee at dunks the other day. I've seen some of the work theyve done locally. Some terrible cuts, some hangers. But hey, I'm not quality control. Lines are clear, they've been working in the same weather as me, and it's generally unappreciated work. Maybe someone showing they appreciate their work made their day a little better.
 

Brian Latimer

New Member
Re: best part of line clearance? Knockin\' on doors

Ripley's Believe It or Not continues...
in a part of town notable for it's vacant trailers, garbage strewn alleys, and omnipresent "tweaker" presence... we hit a 7 property streak:
vacant property 1: a wandering youth scumbag dumped three hypodermic needles in our work area, using an employment inquiry as an excuse to step out of sight of a police cruiser.

vacant property 2: deserting renters left body of dog with obvious trauma signs under boxes of childrens toys. Cue soundtrack "What a Wonderful World".

occupied property 3: two giant boars root through household garbage, cannot be secured to allow line clearance operations.

occupied property 4: new groundsman sets sign directly on pile of discarded cat litter and cat feces... 50 or 60 gallons of material. We discuss attention to detail.

occupied property 5: while walking alley to reconnoiter upcoming climbs, pit bull begins barking furiously. This garners little attention from us until dog leaps to top of 6' fence, high centers self precariously, snapping and growling viciously. As we violate company policy by leaping adjacent fence to safety, we see man holding nickel plated revolver sitting in lawn chair. He seems not to notice us at all.

at this point we took an early lunch and drove a block or two to put some distance between ourselves and the Mos Eisley Cantina. Upon our return, we were accosted by a property owner for not contacting him before removing a branch from his cottonwood tree that grew over the two-phase. He owned 4 lots with abandoned trailers, and was furious that I didn't think to knock on the 5th door.
The last job of the day had a peculiar smell... it was from the elk leg rotting under the cactus in the back yard. Duh!
Wtf mate?! Wierdos from another planet! It makes you wonder about people's sanity! One time, my forman and I were filling out a safety sheet in the morning. We got to the section of potential hazards. We came out with "overhead electrical, close proximity, chainsaw use, chipper use, flying debris, traffic, pedestrians, people off their meds..."

The list goes on right? Our action for mitigating the dangers of people off their meds subsequently became "to get political." It may not be effective, but it has a nice ring to it. I laughed my @55 off!

Encountering a person's habitat can sometimes be eerie. I was out on a transmission right of way, and we needed to remove trees in this ditch. We came across a deserted homeless camp in the ditch not far from a Benny's.

My favorite are the space shots. With my Hat under my arm, my foreman walked up to the door at a property with six bigger trees and a secondary drop covered in vines growing off a nasty oak. Two rounds of knock later, "The Dude" answers the door in his boxers with his dick hanging out. He looks like he's tripping on acid, and is gravely concerned about what we are doing. He looked just like the mess Jeff Bridges portrayed!

Oh the Glory! Keep Knocking!

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Nice post. This is a huge part of what we do-in almost every state in the US. I've got a pretty good draft for a book ranging from TX to New England filled with interesting people. It is a big challenge and takes a chameleon at times. One of my clients puts it as 'We often arrive uninvited, to explain work that many times they don't want, that has an affect in their trees' so we need to get it right.

Professional appearance, steady demeanor, solid knowledge and the ability to put that together is key.

Training for this niche industry is specialized and changes with each client. Successful notifiers and planners know trees, utilities, clients and their customers and local customs and laws. Technology is a large part of this role now, closed loop data transfers, drones, lidar, GIS, customer outreach, and so on.

It is a grind, but there is always a way to move up for engaged individuals, either as a contractor or getting absorbed by a utility.
Interesting post.


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