15 March 2006

Chipping Away

A sunny day and low wind and the tree guys are back with their crane and their bucket and their chipper to reduce the last of my fallen hackberry to mulch.

Yesterday they came at it from both neighbor’s drives which are wider than mine. First they trimmed the upper branches that lay across my south yard, entangled in a tree that straddles the property line. This was first for several reasons: it was easiest, and the tree lay on top of the power line which was not a good thing. Using the cherry picker, the worker slowly lightened the top and worked around the wire, which was no mean trick itself.

Meanwhile, another crane came onto the lawn of my neighbor to the north where the other half of the tree leaned quite thoroughly. All the previous night I worried that the hard branches and sticks would break his skylights or tear his new roof - put on just in the fall. He is a genial and kind man, who told me with a big smile that he and his wife slept downstairs that night, as the part that threatened was right above their bedroom.

We had to remove fencing between the properties to allow the crane to operate freely, which because it is a huge truck they thoughtfully cushioned against tearing up the sod with planks of plywood.

I then had to go to work for a while, following which I came back to find them removing the leaner by bits and pieces. It was a remarkable operation as each log had to be secured by the crane before it was severed by the saw and then separated in such a way that it would not swing or drop and do damage. Quite the ballet. Large logs piled up in my driveway. While I was away at work they came gingerly to the door, my wife reported, and sheepishly apologized for having to remove a health young maple that stood in a place that made their work impossible. She was ready to say, “Take them all, level the place” and was more sad for their state of mind than the loss of the tree.

Such an extensive operation, the manager told me, happens maybe three or four times a year. Being exceptional has its downside as well as its upside. When I got back from the gym around four thirty they were finishing with the leaner, which was now a stump. The whole fence will have to go, and my neighbor and I are thinking not to replace it until it sells. It is on the market, and is very nice. And fortunately it has nary a scratch on it for all the drama.

The tree guys left around five, the major trunk on my porch still there. It held overnight, and this morning they are back to finish the job. And so will begin the long, time consuming and Byzantine process of cleaning up and estimating and building and paying. But my immediate problem is to get it covered up against the six inches of snow expected tomorrow afternoon. The little girl on the salt box is sometimes right – when it rains it pours.

No comments: