Most folks in Hillsboro think of Greg Kubarski as either the city’s mayor, or the owner/operator of Community Antenna System television service.
Those two responsibilities alone would be more than enough to keep most folks busy, but not Greg. He also manages to find time to unleash the inner lumberjack that resides deep within his thoughts.
The tree trimming and cutting business, known as “Tree Handlers” began more than 22 years ago when Greg joined forces with his forestry mentor, Butch Shaker, who is very experienced at the skills involved with trimming or bringing down huge trees.
“Butch is a great trainer,” Greg reported. “He really taught me everything I know about trimming and cutting down trees. When we are high up in that bucket together, we are strictly a team, with both of us very aware of what the other is doing and thinking.”
Butch, the actual owner of the business, retired from Vernon Electric Cooperative after 40 years of climbing trees and poles using spiked shoes. Greg started working as a “ground man.” Butch handled the actual cutting, while also spending plenty of time training Greg.
Eventually, the company grew and purchased a chipper, two dump trucks, and a bucket truck.
Throughout many years. the Tree Handlers have taken down some memorable giants, but the one that stands out in Greg’s mind is a 100-foot pine in Ontario that was an all-day show for local folks who brought their lawn chairs to enjoy the entertainment.
“Most of the trees look big standing, but it’s amazing to consider it all after they’re down,” he told the Sentry-Enterprise. “That Ontario tree was really a lot of wood!”
Greg uses much of the wood from downed trees to heat his house all winter with an outdoor furnace. “We also share a lot of wood with some of the older folks who have a tough time getting out and hauling it home,” he said.
Greg and Butch recently spent almost six hours cutting down a giant maple tree that was much too close to our home on Hill Avenue, right down the street from the Kubarski homestead.
Actually, the tree itself, about six feet from our bedroom, wasn’t as much of a problem as its incredibly powerful roots. These monsters from the deep had forced up three squares from a cement sidewalk in our backyard, and were beginning to do their nasty vandalism on the house.
No doubt, it had begun its life as a cute little accessory about 45 years ago, planted by folks looking for a little shade without ever thinking about future growth.
We had been warned several times in the last 25 years that it was becoming a major target for a lightning bolt right next to the house. However, the damage to the sidewalk was the factor that finally opened our eyes and led to an SOS call to Greg.
It was a full day’s work and he brought along plenty of extra help, including his wife, Jean, and son, Kabel, in addition to Butch.
He and Butch, not surprisingly, decided to trim it down from the top, allowing Jane and me to breathe a lot easier as it came down, branch by branch, until the main trunk was able to be pushed over by heavy equipment.
It’s really a work of art and very interesting to watch.
Those strong roots, that had caused the death sentence for the tree, proved so tough that Greg’s stump removing equipment couldn’t budge some of them. No wonder the cement sidewalk gave way to their growth.
All during the project, Kabel was loading up and delivering fire wood to the Kubarski home, assuring them another warm winter.
Good riddance! We were glad it could be used for something more worthwhile than tearing up sidewalks.
If you are ever in need of trimming some branches or cutting down an entire tree, you can reach Shaker at 489-3270 or Greg Kubarski at 489-2528.
And, here’s a hint to go along with those phone numbers. When you watch the show, from a safe distance of course, put your camera to use. In addition to before-and-after shots, you can catch some of the real drama that goes on while taming a tree.