Tuesday, May 29, 2012

(Insert something clever about trees and fences)

I thought about titling this "I Think That I Shall Never See, a Poem as Lovely as a Tree," but just right now I am done seeing trees at all, and I'm not so sure I even think they're lovely.

"Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" was another option.  But since we don't have much of a fence left over, and our neighbors have actually been super great about the whole thing, I threw that idea out, too.

"Good Things Come in Threes--Even Trees!"  Except, I don't know that I would say this whole saga has been exactly good, and I'm not sure if bad things come in threes (do they?).

Or maybe even "Revenge of the Maple Gods."  That might be the most appropriate one yet.


Suffice it to say, I just couldn't think of the right title for this epic post.  And I say epic, because there are going to be lots of pictures, and a story that even I am still not sure I believe.

So, where to start?  The beginning, I suppose.

There were three large maple trees just off our property line that have been destroying our roof for the past 50 years.  We were eager to have them removed when we got in, but then we learned that they weren't on our property.  The small strip of land on which they grow belongs to the city.  And the city doesn't really care about that land, nor does it care much about our roof.  So, all of our appeals to them to remove the trees fell upon deaf ears.

But, last summer, the power company needed to remove one of the three maples because it was causing problems with the power lines.  Hooray!  Except, it wasn't the one that was causing our roof the most problems.  We finally decided to take care of the problem ourselves (after all, the city didn't seem to care much) and called a tree service shortly after that. He quoted us a good price and then never actually showed up to take down the tree.  We are still not sure what happened there, but we were deep into the opera so we didn't call him back, and then we took a vacation.  By the time we got back, we realized the tree removal would have to wait anyway.

So, a week or so ago we called the guy back, he came, gave us the same quote and on May 16, he returned and took that behemoth down.  It was GIGANTIC, one of the bigger maples in the neighborhood, and our neighborhood is basically the maple woods.
These guys were super careful with this tree felling, and it took them nearly all day to do it. (Puccini couldn't tear herself away from that window, she was so fascinated.) They cut off the branches, piece by piece, until finally, the whole tree was down.

There was, however, a slight miscommunication with the whole process.  Joel had said he wanted to keep the wood, and to leave it in pieces on the ground, but I guess the tree guys thought that meant ALL the wood.  And leaves.  So, now instead of a gigantic tree hanging over our roof, we had a gigantic tree in pieces on our lawn.  Oops.
Can you see my tiny children in all of that mess? Well, as much as I didn't enjoy having it all in the yard, the girls did have quite a lot of fun with it, so I guess that was okay. Meanwhile, Joel and I hemmed and hawed a little bit about what we would do with all of it.  Would we take all summer and clean it up ourselves?  Would we have a tree cleanup party (not unlike a barn raising of old) and invite everyone we knew to bring their chainsaws and wood splitters?  Or would we just pay the guy to come back and haul off all the branches?

Well, a few days went by, and we were still thinking about it, but definitely leaning towards just opening the wallet and not having to do all that work ourselves.  On May 24 (yes, we thought about it for a week), we came home from the library.  It was a windy evening (we even had a tornado watch!) and I was out in the front with the puppy, trying to get her to go potty.

I was looking at the tree mess, and then I started noticing a few things.  Like, some of the leaves are green again.  The pile of branches looks even bigger (was that possible?) than before.  And, some of those leaves I'm seeing aren't even maple leaves!

Now our neighbors had been having some dead branches cut off of all their trees that day, and the first thought that came to mind was, "Those tree guys just put all the branches on top of my mess!"  In fact, their tree guy (not the same as my tree guy) actually knocked on my door earlier that day and asked if I wanted him to take care of the branch mess.  I asked him how much, and since it was more than double what our tree guy would do it for, declined.   In my runaway thoughts, then, as I was looking at the new stuff that had suddenly appeared, I was sure he was mad at me and made my problem worse.  I have such faith in human kind, don't I?

Well, that's when Joel came running out of the house, "What the heck happened?"  What I couldn't see, was that these new branches were right up against the windows and weren't just branches, but almost an entire tree! Two trees actually. The big maple that fell took a smaller poplar with it.
I didn't get the world's best photo of it from this angle, but we were so lucky that it didn't break any windows or do other damage to the house. Remember our tornado watch and windy weather? Well, this tree just snapped right in half and fell onto our house. I'm glad we weren't home when it happened, because that would have been a little scary. The neighbors were home, though, and they were freaked out and very willing to pay for any damage since it was their tree.

The only damage was to our fence in the back, and that was pretty minimal, all things considered.
Joel and Shane (neighbor) took a chain saw to the thing to get the weight of it off of the windows and the fence the next morning.  (Yeah, I need to clean my kitchen windows, don't I?)  Really, it just amounted to a bit more wood for the tree guy to haul away, and an easily fixed fence.  No biggie.

Still, our neighbors were freaked out enough that they decided to have their tree guy come back and take down the rest of the tree that toppled, as well as two others.  They definitely needed to be taken down, I'll give them that.  So many of the maple trees in our neighborhood are not in good shape and they are just so huge!  Having one fall like that was a definite wake-up call.

So, their tree guy came back on Saturday.  (May 26, for those of you keeping track of dates.) The first tree that came down kind of scared us a bit, because it barely missed crushing our entire fence, but we breathed a sigh of relief, and then Joel went to run some errands.

I was just in my office checking my email when I heard a pretty horrible sound.  I ran to the window, and this is what I saw.
Um. Are you kidding me? I immediately called Joel, and was so upset that he couldn't understand what I was telling him until the third time I repeated myself. Then I went outside and began to take pictures to text to him. I couldn't talk to the guy at all because I was so angry, so I just kind of walked around and took pictures with my phone.
Five minutes later, Beth (neighbor) was at my front door swearing like a sailor. I was kind of glad she was cussing, because I certainly wanted to!
Do you see that little square of garden amongst all the crappy ground cover stuff? Well, our big summer project was to pull all the ground cover and get some garden planted there. We cleared that bit THE NIGHT BEFORE and planted my herbs in there. Sure it looks fine now, but I have lots more pictures to go.
Because, splat! That fence piece came down, too. (And dude up the hill there is on his phone ordering fence parts--he better be!) Still hasn't hurt the garden yet, but these guys aren't finished!
Let's just chop that tree and plop the huge pieces right on top of my tender baby marjoram and chives, shall we?  I'm pretty sure that Murphy and his law are somehow at work in this ordeal, but I don't like to think about it.
At first I thought that the play set might have also been crushed--it was a bit hard to tell underneath all those branches! Thankfully, it is fine. Puccini escaped while I was taking pictures, which is normally no biggie since we have a fenced backyard and all. And that's when I realized that she is going to have to be leashed for the next little while. Bummer. She's just getting to the point where she is potty trained, rings her bells and goes out all by herself. Now I will have to still leash her up and go out with her and wait for her to do her business. Just another little inconvenience.
Joel finally came home and surveyed the damage. He talked to the boss, and we are assured that the fence will be repaired by next week. They are paying for it, as they should, and all will be well soon enough.
wood  web
Now to get rid of all the wood, which is WAY more than we bargained for when we first chopped down our tree two weeks ago! (This is just what's in back...we have double the amount in front.)(Also please ignore my weed jungle...we were going to do yard work that day, and, well, the trees took care of that plan for us!)

All said, we can look at the whole saga as something of a blessing. The fence will be fixed (at no cost to us OR the neighbors), the trees are gone (we'll have a lot less raking to do come fall), and we have a ton more sunlight in our backyard (maybe now I can grow more than just herbs!). Also, these tree guys ended up dealing with all of our branches for us, so we don't have to pay anybody to do it, nor do we have to spend all summer doing it ourselves.

So perhaps I should have titled this post "All's Well That Ends Well."  The problem is, it hasn't quite ended yet. The tree guys are still out back as I write this, finishing what they started.  I'll let you know how it goes...
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Wow! What fun! That read something like a horror story. The kind that just keep getting worse. I'm glad you're almost all taken care of over there. Sheesh. And I just love your backyard! So green!

  2. HOLY COW!! Gracious...that was a saga. Glad that your house is still in tact!

  3. Wow---what a saga! Glad no one was hurt and that things are getting taken care of. Still, what a mess to deal with!!

  4. Oh my drama! I'm glad everything ended well. And that little pup is adorable. :)

  5. Whew! That's a story all right! Glad it is all ending well. So glad your house didn't get damaged in the process. Thank goodness for small blessings!

  6. WOW! I guess in the end, everything works out in your favor, but gah! what a pain!

    On a side note, I love the lushious greenery you enjoy.

  7. Thats absolutely insane that they didn't take precaution for you and your neighbor's lawn! They don't seem very professional if they couldn't have made the measurements to know where its going to fall and hit hardest, that things a monster! I hope your yard is okay now!

    -Tony Salmeron