Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ode To A Tree

I had a love/hate relationship with this tree:

I wish I had a good picture of it in the summer when it had leaves, but I just didn't think of it last year.  

Let me start at the beginning...
We had this 60 foot (or so) tall Cottonwood tree in our backyard.  It's probably at least 75 years old give or take a decade.  I've cussed that tree every single year that I've lived in this house.  Over 22 years, that's a lot of cussing!  These are the reasons I hated that tree for so long:

1.  The leaves are ugly.  They were an ugly green and just turned an uglier brown in the fall.  No pretty autumn colors here.
2.  It dropped leaves ALL YEAR!!!!  And with a tree that big, that's a lot of leaves!
3.  The only shade it provided us was over the one flat, garden appropriate spot in my backyard so I could never have a garden. (My MIL has been kind enough to share her garden with me through the years though!)
4.  It dropped sticks all year long, too.  In the last couple of years, it also dropped much larger branches.  You didn't want to walk under that tree on a windy day.
5.  It was slowly dying.

So, I told Lance if we did nothing else this spring, we were getting that tree cut down!  And we did.  Here's a little shout out to Plue's Tree Service for doing a great job!  

The first cut:

This is not a job for someone afraid of heights!

Some of the branches had to be carefully hoisted down with a rope after being cut, partially because of being near our garage...

but more importantly because of my lilac bush that sits right at the base of the tree.  You can barely see it in this picture right in front of the bucket truck.  Bless these guys for taking such good care of this family heirloom!  The lilac bush was planted decades ago from a start off of Lance's great grandma Sallee's bush.  I can't believe how they were able to cut branches and nothing more than a few twigs fell on that bush! 

To give this mess a little scale, here's one of the tree guys walking among the dropped branches.  

Again, my lilac bush is still standing, unscathed, in this mess!

The guy in the bucket cut this limb off and it fell just like this, standing straight up!

And it continued to stand even with all this other debris falling all around it!

Looks a little lighter after that trim!

Remember when I said this tree was dying?  This is the back side:

After about 2 hours of trimming, they're done fooling around.  They tied ropes to the upper branches of the tree and the other ends to their tractor and truck.  

Making that V cut: 

Are you ready?  Here we go...TIMBER!!!!!!

A 60 foot tree leaves one hell of a mess to clean up!  We only paid them to drop the tree, not clean up and haul away.  We have chain sawed limbs, pushed stumps with the tractor, and raked up more sticks than I could ever have imagined!

Anyone want to come over for a bonfire?????

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had a love/hate relationship with this tree.  I always knew I hated it.  I complained about it all the time.  That's why no one was more surprised than me when, while watching them cut the first branches, I got tears in my eyes.  First of all, I really do hate to cut down any kind of tree, but this one honestly was becoming a danger to us and our garage.  I'm not a tree hugger, but I do enjoy having them in my yard.  I also started thinking about all the things this tree had experienced.  Can you imagine the weather, the storms, that this tree had to withstand just to grow to this size???  Besides, Lance's grandpa planted this tree.  It probably stood watch while Grandpa Malcolm worked the field behind it.  It probably gave shade to Lance's dad and aunts and uncles while they were outside playing and working in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.  I know it was watching over my own kids play in the backyard through the years as they hit baseballs, ran through the sprinkler, and had picnics in the yard. We've had family parties - birthdays, Father's Day, Mother's Day, weenie roasts, 4th of July celebrations - in this yard, under this tree.  It's played host to numerous squirrels, birds, and other country critters.  Even its dead branches have provided us with firewood so we could sit on the patio and enjoy late summer nights outside.  So yes, I did have a love/hate relationship with this tree.  It had to come down and ultimately I'm glad it did.  It's still just a little sad to see something so strong that stood guard over our home for so many years lay in a crumbled heap.  So long Mr. Cottonwood!  Thanks for the memories!


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