It was a very windy day up here in Caribou, ME about a week ago. My house is surrounded on three sides by trees. A particular tree out back is where I tie Henry, my German Shepherd during his "out" times. When I came home from work that blustery day, Henry's tree was broken in half. Half of it was stuck in the ground,
peirced through like nothing I had seen since I left the coast of Massachusetts and lived through hurricanes.
After being amazed for about 5 minutes, I picked my jaw up off the ground and thought about what to do next. I first considered automation. I called my sister and asked if her husband, who had a chain saw, would be able to come and assist me. 24 hours later, with no response yet from him, I called a tree removal service to come by and give me an estimate... still hoping for an answer that involved automation...
The next day my brother in law called, he said he would be too busy for the next few days, but if "a male friend of mine" would like to borrow his chain saw that would be fine. The tree removal man called within hours of that with his estimate... which was alot more than I had thought...
While looking at the tree, I got to thinking... "a male friend of mine".... "A Male Friend Of Mine"... "A MALE FRIEND OF MINE!"... what did that imply... that only a male could take the tree down!
A tad bit irritated by this whole inconveinance, I started wondering... what tools do I have to do "something"... "anything" about this.
The tree was unsafe to have hanging up on itself like that. Henry lost his tie out, and I have a small daughter that could get hurt if she was out there when the tree fell the rest of the way.
I went to my shed. I found some really simple tools - a bow saw and an old extension cord - I had to use my rope for Henry's temporary tie out since his was under the tree.
I decided to cut off the excess branches with my bow saw - the blade was not fresh, it was old and had been used to cut down pine tree boughs for years, to keep the
branches high enough to mow and garden under. I cut off all the branches that I could reach.
The next day, I decided to employ a new thing. I would cut about 2 feet up from where the tree impaled the earth and then loop the extension cord around the tree and pull... I did this three times... each time the tree would fall nearly in the same place and it would still be leaning against the half that was still standing.
About a couple hours later, I decided to make a cut four feet up and perform the same actions, though it was a bit harder to do this time due to the thickness of the
When I finished pulling, cutting, pulling, cutting, over and over, the tree decided to land one more time up against itself, but this time I knew it was leaning there
without a grip. I took the saw and cut whatever branches I thought would try to "get" me when I pushed the tree... and then I pushed it... over it went and it made a thud as it hit the ground...
Up went my arms as I shouted "Victory!". I had eaten the elephant one bite at a time...
I had manually done what automation could not deliver - with simple tools.... a bow saw, a cord, and my brain...
And then there was the challenge... the cost of "automation" and the response from my brother in law playing in my head....
Before this begins to sound pathetic, I will say that two friends of mine did offer to help me out. These friends are as busy as me, and work just as hard, I took the tree down before I told them what the estimate was because I did not want them to have to do so, and because I have a stubborn streak - I admit it - especially if I am told that I cannot do something.
I could not help thinking about the "simple tools" and "automation" part of this whole endeavor, and how it reflects some things that I have learned in testing.
Simple tools like blank text documents and checklists can be really useful in testing. And just because automation may be too expensive or unavailable for a project, it doesn't mean the job cannot get done successfully. Sometimes you just gotta remember how to "eat an elephant".