After deciding on a safe, practical, and practicable strategy, Pat began by cutting a notch, or face cut; there are a few different types/shapes of face cuts. I think he used a Humbolt notch.When the notch was finished, the back cut removed enough wood so that the tree tipped forward on the remaining wood (the hinge), the weight of the tree broke the hinge, and the tree fell just where it was supposed to. Note the large cleared area around the tree. It's important to be able to move freely without tripping or stumbling. A 45 degree angle to the back allows for a safe retreat when the tree begins to fall. It's halfway down in the picture below.
Cutting up a downed tree, or "bucking" is at least as dangerous as dropping the tree, again requiring strategy and safety consciousness. Pat "bucked" this one particularly efficiently and the rest of us loaded it up and drove the pieces to the brickyard where they will be turned to wood chips and ultimately to mulch.