Monday, July 16, 2007

Timber...

So here’s the other ‘tree’ story I promised…

When we bought our house, it was in need of a great deal of help, aesthetically. Previous owners had let the yard get completely overgrown and at some point in the past, someone had decided to take a ‘rustic’ approach to landscaping. Thus, the yard was filled with trees – many dead or dying, and large overgrown shrubbery. Not to mention the huge ‘rock garden’ that took up most of the front yard. The first summer that we were in the house, Ron worked from home and spent pretty much the entire summer working on the yard. This accomplished a few things, some of which were entirely unintentional. First, the yard looks a thousand times better than it did when we bought the house, increasing our equity and re-sellable value. The kids actually have a nice, safe yard area to run around and play in. Also, Ron got to know many people in the neighborhood as they all stopped by to compliment him on the improvements.

I won’t go too far into exactly what the house and yard looked like because I don’t want to bore you all to death. Let’s just mention a few things. Like mustard yellow siding. Dark brown trim in some places and white trim in others. Dead rosebushes. Half-buried bricks outlining areas which it can be assumed were intended to be ‘landscaped areas’. Day lilies overtaking many areas. Weeds. Oh yes, and the killer trees.

Ron dubbed them the ‘killer’ trees, specifically because they had long (several inches in most cases) thorns sticking out from the trunks and branches, all the way down to the ground. We’ve had a couple of opinions, and I think they were a ‘thorny’ variety of locust tree, especially considering that we also had a couple of the ‘thornless’ variety of the same tree in the yard as well. The two ‘killer’ trees were the main reason that Ron started improving the yard – we could just imagine what would happen if Abby or Hannah (who was only a toddler at the time) were to brush up against, or even worse fall against, one of these trees. So down they came. And as long as he was at it, Ron took down most of the other trees in the yard as well. As well as the scrubby bushes. And the rocks. And the half-sunken bricks. At the end of the year, we had a very nicely improved yard – to a point, since we’d run out of money and Ron was again working full-time. We did leave 3 trees in the front yard. Two were nice maples which we hoped would thrive now that they were visible and free to grow up and out. The third, up against the house by the girls’ bedroom windows, was a very nice-looking, tall tree which appeared to be of the ‘thornless locust’ variety (I don’t claim to be a tree expert so could be completely off the wall here). I saw no reason to cut down a tree with no real reason – it was in good health and wasn’t an immediate danger to our kids. Plus it shaded the roof of our house pretty nicely. So it stayed.

Ron and I have argued about this tree ever since. It did drop large seed pods all over the roof and yard every year and completely clog the gutters on that side of the house. It was planted extremely close to the house and Ron felt that the roots were beginning to damage our foundation – we have been getting minor flooding on that side of the basement. And we never completed the landscape area over there because we couldn’t agree on whether it would include this tree or not, so it became quite a nice garden – of weeds. No matter how much I tried to keep up with pulling them, we grew a wonderful crop of not-so-lovely weeds every summer. So this year, I finally gave in. The tree could come out.

Ron found a ‘tree guy’ pretty easily – the truck pulled up next to him at a red light so he called the number on the truck right then. The guy came over that night, quoted us a decent price (and gave us 30 days to pay him – a key factor given our financial issues at the moment), and the next day the tree was gone.

Here are a few pictures of the original yard - this is after Ron had already started some of his work on it. We never did take a good 'before' picture of the house unfortunately.

Here is Ron rototilling the former 'rock garden' area after taking out the trees, bushes, bricks, timbers and rocks (the rocks are still residing under our back deck until we can find either the money to get rid of them or someone who wants a whole lot of unsifted landscape rocks).

Here is a 'before' picture that I took last week before the tree came down. Ignore our weedy and half-dead lawn - that's a whole other issue.

Taking down this tree became a larger event than we anticipated, involving 3 guys (one of whom spent the morning climbing said tree to cut the smaller branches off), one wood chipper, a chainsaw, rope, and about every neighborhood kid within about a half-mile radius. The neighbors across the street set up chairs in the driveway so they could relax and enjoy the entertainment. I was home that day since we had not been able to find alternate daycare while our main daycare provider was on vacation (this was the week of July 4th), so was able to watch, listen and take a ton of pictures. Thankfully they took a nice long lunch break so Becca was able to get a decent nap. By the end of the day, just a short stump was left. And now, even that is gone – leaving a giant hole in our yard which Ron has not had time to deal with since the only day off he’s had since then was when he was sick last week.

So good-bye tree – I do miss you, but I guess it’s for the best.

Here are some pictures of the tree coming down...






And a few 'after' pictures. The first one is the girls' idea of a 'replacement' tree. :)



And here's what our yard currently looks like. And probably will look like for the foreseeable future given Ron's work schedule lately.



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