But first he had to learn to be comfortable sawing off branches at great heights and how to balance when using at manual saw or a chainsaw. When asked if he was ever afraid of heights, Roe boomed out, “I’m scared of ladders; I don’t trust them, but I can hang from a tree all day long."
He has seen equipment take over the need to physically climb into the top of an 80-foot tree in order to systematically remove the branches and eventually fell the trunk.
Roe’s first equipment for his own company was a truck with an hydraulic platform reaching 45 feet up the highest branches. It now has been traded-up, you could say, to one reaching 60 feet. Others can get up as high as a hundred feet. A chipper to remove the debris is another dangerous piece of equipment.
As you can guess, the most important feature for a crew with a member perched four, six, or more stories in the air is the level of safety they observe.
Roe outlined some of the most important things to know, which eventually become second nature. First is how to stay tied in the bucket in the saddle and ropes.
“Confidence in your equipment and in the experience of your crew” is crucial for cutting and trimming trees, he said.
Penny Roe, Gary's wife, commented that her husband and Jim, their son, after 10 years of working for Barnes Nursery, “have so many years of experience, they know what to look out for and what could happen, before it does. They are very safety conscious.”
Jim, as current head of operations, trains new crew members how to work in a rhythm that insures the safety of each crew member, no matter whether in the tree or on the ground operating the lift or chipper.
Next you want to make sure the branches are falling where you want them, not hitting any buildings. As a businessman, Gary Roe said he knows “the worst concerns are having a limb fall in the wrong spot, or getting stuck in a wet spot and tearing up a customer's lawn trying to get a vehicle in place.”
From running their tree service company, Gary has now transitioned into retirement, although still is the guiding force in management but concentrating heavily on building up Roe’s Trading Post. As a boy, he heard his grandfather and father talk about the stagecoach route in the 1880s that ran on a road at the back of the family farm. There had been a station with a small building put up by the stagecoach company. When the building was demolished, artifacts such as an old boot, a woman's shoe and a brass door knob. The history stuck with Roe.
Slowly the idea of having a trading shop came out of that. Building it became a family project after Roe bought his grandfather’s house and 10 acres of land adjacent to it where his grandfather had raised vegetables for sale. Thr grandfather also was the original grower of muskmelons in the area, continued by Roe’s dad. They still will be found at Roe’s Trading Post.
With lumber sawn from some of his own trees or from jobs, Roe said “we built it all between outside jobs.”
“We tore down two barns for siding the inside of the shop. It was all from local wood. The sliding doors came from a corn barn.”
Daughter Melissa is the talent behind the decor and the floral arrangements for sale. She helps in the fields, planting, weeding.
“We don’t have big machinery so we do most of the work of growing ourselves,” Roe said.
The family just finished putting in a pumpkin patch, awaiting Halloween along with Indian corn, squash and mums.
Other produce and fruit are available in season: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, sweet corn and tomatoes. You can find fresh eggs from their own chickens. Shelves are lined with handmade soap, candles, jams. Along with all these items, Penny busily continues the tradition of careful handcrafting methods of an older generation of farm women. She creates rag rugs of various materials and designs. If you are looking for a birdhouse, wooden or gourd, this is the place to visit. Tole painted signs and pieces of decorated roofing slate; almost everything has been created by family members.
A variety of antique furniture is available (except for a pair of rocking chairs) at reasonable prices. Some chainsaw carvings, appropriate to the Roe's main business, are for sale or can be commissioned. The primitive decor is enhanced by authentic crockery, old hand saws, and has been a perfect meeting place for the Garden Club.
You can't miss seeing the large “Roe’s Trading Post” sign on the side of the building at 2402 W. Ohio 113 on the way from Milan to Monroeville.