When last we left you, dear reader, Melissa and I were filling up a thirty yard dumpster with all manner of greenery. Laurels, garden plants that got too big for their britches, and a seemingly unending supply of fir branches, fir cones, fir needles and other fir inspired detritus.
In short, we have a firry yard. Before this week, we had 37 fir trees, two big maples and one scruffy looking cedar tree. These are all big trees, most are a couple of feet in diameter and the biggest are almost four feet in diameter and perhaps 150 feet tall.
As we prepare the house for rent this fall, one of the biggest, prettiest trees needed to be addressed. With its two crowns, we had been warned that this could be a weak area and might be a danger. It is very close to our house, near the kitchen and we have worried that one day a winter storm will bring part of it down onto the roof. That has already happened once, with a branch crashing into our kitchen, smashing a large picture window.
I should add that we struggled mightily with taking out this tree. It has been standing guard over our house for the last 54 years and in the summer it offers wonderful shade. While I am glad to be rid of the mess that it makes on our roof and the risk that it poses to our house, killing something this old and beautiful is not to be taken lightly.
Melissa solicited a number of tree services to take out this big tree plus two or three smaller trees that would give us more light in the yard. We knew pretty quickly who we wanted to work on our property. John Sperry is just starting out with his own company, Arbor Services Northwest, after working for years for other tree companies. Together with his partner, Naomi, they put together an affordable bid. Perhaps more importantly, they gave both Melissa and myself a sense that they cared about the trees and for the safety of our house and themselves.
In addition to the large tree in the back, we had John and his team take out four smaller firs and a cedar tree in the front yard. These trees were not huge but they shaded the yard quite a bit and a few near the road had grown too close to the fence. John also limbed up a few trees including our big maple.
The big fir, almost four feet in diameter was a challenge. To tackle that tree, John brought in a friend, Luiz, who had bigger saws and more experience bringing down such large trees. Luiz also brought a huge chipper to help with the cleanup. A tree this size creates a lot debris.
While bringing down big trees is interesting and exciting, cleaning up the debris, moving plants and taking down fences is just as important and a lot of work. Melissa and I were out in the yard every day, moving things along as best we could. I think we are both constitutionally incapable of not pitching in when there is work to be done.
As you may have noticed, that is a lot of wood. How did we get rid of it you ask? While it would be lovely to imagine these trees being used as lumber for our mountain cabin, the reality is that you just can’t bring down a whole tree this close to our house, near power lines and all the other structures in an old neighborhood. So, the trees were brought down in sections, none longer that ten feet, and then John would cut them in sixteen inch long rounds that could be split. Then we rolled the big stuff around to the side of the house. Even cut down to sixteen inches, this big tree was a lot of work to move.
After the tree was down and cut into somewhat more manageable sizes, John put the word out on OfferUp.com and we had trucks coming all day to pick up wood. In the Pacific Northwest, many people still heat their homes with wood in the winter time; some people have no other source of heat and free firewood is quite a windfall.
With that big project complete, we can finish making the yard and garden spaces more manageable. Melissa has been aggressively clearing the beds and giving away plants. I have gotten the greenhouse cleared out and have been repairing rotted fence posts. Which is more work, a house or a boat?
While we have been working hard on the house, I did find time to try out the new paddle board. It seems very stable on grass. We have another one on order. We are really looking forward to having these in Mexico.