26 October 2015

dead tree

One tree in our front yard has been looking ill for a while. The bark sloughs off in sheets, and last year leaves withered on half the upper branches. Based on symptoms I tried to figure out what was wrong with it, my final best guess was some type of fungal canker. We knew for sure the tree was dead when this year it did not produce any foliage. The tree-removal crews have been cruising our neighborhood and kept stopping at our house to offer quotes. My husband had always shrugged them off, but this friday he spontaneously decided to have it taken down when another crew stopped on our curb, and within an hour the tree was in pieces on the ground.

Guess how long it takes one person (me) to haul the broken mass of an entire tree around the house to the backyard, break up the smaller branches, and cut the bigger ones into arm-length chunks with a handsaw? Three days. I had to roll the biggest segments of trunk down the hill, couldn't lift them. C. then carried them over to put under the deck. My ten-year-old helped fill a few wheelbarrow loads of sticks off the yard. There's still a stump to deal with later. I thought I would miss the tree, but after two years of looking at a dead arrangement of limbs poking at the sky, the empty spot is an improvement. I plan to put a crepe myrtle in its place, after we get the stump taken out.

And now there is several years' worth of firewood under the deck.
Usually I only collect sticks off the lawn that fall in windstorms (the sycamores seem especially prone to dropping branches) and by the end of fall have a stack under the deck that is enough for occasional fireplace use. (This is just because I enjoy a fire on cold nights, we don't use it to heat our home although sometimes I amuse myself by cooking food on it too). It's always been an untidy heap covered with a tarp, and whenever I felt like building a fire it was a chore to collect wood from the pile and break it into useful lengths. I'm tired of dealing with the tarp and I wanted it more organized. I rearranging things under the deck to have the house wall clear under an overhang, to make this stack from the dead tree where it will stay dry from the rain. Then broke down and sorted the untidy pile. Moved it all onto this stack. That was another half-day's work, as there were quite a few more bigger branches to saw into pieces.

Now I'm tired. It's satisfying kind of work, though.

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