Recently I wrote about losing trees in my blog titled A Different Kind of Death. Having so many dead trees sticking out around the property was going to make for very sad seasons.
The cedars that died didn’t lose their brown needles over the winter and stuck out drastically next to the other evergreens.
The large oak in the front goat pasture died during last summer’s draught and was painful to look at compared to the expansive greenery surrounding it.
I had several neighbors and my firewood guy, Bill, tell me it would cost thousands just to remove the big oak tree alone. So I decided to live with it and figured it would take years before it started to fall apart or come down.
One day Bill texted out of the blue saying he would come take down the dead trees at no charge to me. He would keep most of the firewood in exchange for removing the trees. We agreed and planned the removal when my oldest brother, Mark, was due to visit.
When the time came Bill and Mark prepared for the tree removal. It would be more difficult than Bill originally expected. The huge tree was positioned on a hill and leaned over my new fence. I had no idea how they were going to get the tree down without crushing my fence, a crepe myrtle AND one of my mature Pecan trees.
The men discussed the procedure and informed me they would dismantle part of my new fence and the rest would probably be crushed. I agreed to let them proceed if they promised to have my fence fixed within days. The goats drive me crazy if they can’t go into their pen. No one likes a bored goat. The guys agreed and set to dismantling the fence.
Finally it was time to get started on taking the tree down. A lump settled in my throat as I realized not only was I losing a 100 year old tree but my beautiful fence would be damaged and worse, there was about an 8 foot gap between my Crepe Myrtle and Pecan. I had no idea how the hell they were going to make this massive tree land in an 8 foot gap without taking out everything else. The way the tree was leaning on the hillside didn’t allow for ropes or much maneuvering – I had to rely on Bill’s skill as a forester to land this tree properly – if that was possible.
Bill made the first cut:
My brother and I were standing far beyond where we needed to be, just in case the oak decided to take down other trees with it.
Bill yelled out to us asking if we could see the top of the tree shaking. The top shimmied a bit but nothing drastic. I planned to record a video of the tree falling. For some reason I thought it would fall slowly, majestically. The large oak suddenly fell. Just like that. Shards and chunks of tree exploded upon impact. I got emotional. I knew the tree was dead but for some reason I expected more of it. I guess I expected it to fight instead of falling so quickly. 100+ years of life, gone.
Somehow the big oak didn’t touch my pecan tree and only took off one small branch of the crepe myrtle. Bill had felled the oak perfectly in between the two trees. My fence and the ground under the tree didn’t fair as well.
There were deep gouges in the land where the branches punctured the ground. Two fence posts were damaged as well as the wire fencing itself. It could have been worse.
The tree and saws did seem to draw a crowd. Passersby drove slowly by the scene, many did so repeatedly. There’s something about machinery and anything to do with land that seems to draw male attention. My female neighbors appeared to notice but barely slowed to gawk. I commented on this to Bill and Mark as I handed them sandwiches and salsa I prepared for lunch. They sort of grunted an acknowledgment of my observation. I happily went back inside to escape the heat, sawdust and wasp weather. I’m not really a mid-day heat kind of girl.
It took several days to cut the tree into firewood and haul it off. There’s still clean up I have to do to fix the area but I’ve felt less than motivated to get it done. I’m trying to see a silver lining from having my view being a big gaping space where a fabulous oak once stood. I suppose the small trees that struggled for light will finally have their chance to grow.
At least someone likes this mess.