Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Year of Afternoon Gardens - November


You may notice all the maple leaves. They have been here every single October for the 33 years we have lived in this house, and for the hundred + years before that. But next October they will not be on the lawn and patio anymore, for we had to have the big sugar maple cut down. A forester friend recommended a good person. He came and looked it over, made those ‘tut tut’ sounds that doctors are famous for, and said it was time. And so, on Saturday, October 18, it came down. Two young men did the cutting while a third did all the picking up and chipping of the small branches. Margaret had to work, but the rest of the family was here watching. It rained off and on, sometimes quite hard, but they kept on working. They came back the next day for the final cleanup. 

We actually feel lucky because we had the tree sixteen years longer than we thought possible. In August 1998, we had a very quick, very strong wind; not a tornado but a microburst. In five to ten minutes we lost trees all over our land. Our road was completely blocked. The tallest section of the maple came down in that storm, and we thought the tree would die, but it leafed out the next spring and every spring since then. That’s what made it hard to cut down. It still looked so good as far as the leaves were concerned. But in amongst the leaves were splits and rot. It wasn’t in good shape, and even a small storm could have taken off branches or sections and someone could have gotten hurt. 


Though we all felt a bit sad at heart, we know we did the right thing and are quite surprisingly happy with the result. The open view is wonderful. And we have more light in the house now. But still, but still there is an ache for what is gone. We have ten windows and a glass door that look out to the south, where the tree was. It was what we saw every minute we were in the house and of course outside. But as Joni Mitchell wrote, ‘something’s lost, but something’s gained in living every day.’ Hazel Nina and Campbell Walker will never know this tree but they will know a different landscape which will be their childhood memory. We have some trees on order for the spring - a rowan, and two hazelnuts. Perhaps we will plant them there, or maybe we’ll leave that open space for games of badminton and croquet. 

This maple tree was in my very first blog posting, and has been in many photographs since then. I thought I’d post a few more I took in the days before it was cut down, during the cut, and some that show how it looks now.










If you are wondering what the chunks of wood are on the patio, Estée had the great idea to make tabletops from the tree. Those in front will go to the kids, 


and Tom and I will have the smaller one. 


Can you see an owl's face? The tufts at the top, the two eyes, and the beak? I am delighted.

28 comments:

  1. Parting with that tree must have been like saying good-bye to a dear, old friend. I think making tabletops is an excellent idea! Your header photo is beautiful, Nan. The sky is such a vibrant blue.

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  2. It is always sad to lose a part of the family even if it is a tree. It sure looks different with it gone. A great idea to keep a part of it for tables. A great way to honor your old friend. I see a fox's face on that table top.

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    1. The light into the house is so much stronger now. Amazing.

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  3. Nan, I enjoyed these pics! Did you use Bartlett Tree Experts? The workers green hoodie and coat made me wonder. My son does this for a living and works for Bartlett. Fascinating to watch them work! What a great idea to keep some of the wood for a table.

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  4. Ah, it is sad to say goodbye to such an steady old friend as your maple tree, Nan, but, what a thoughtful way to keep it around with tables for the kids. Tom made me a thin slice that I use as a trivet and upon which the cast iron skillet rest well with things such as cornbread. We're thinking of a few for Christmas gifts as our daughter really liked them.

    Rabbit, rabbit.

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    1. I thought of you because of your posts about the trees that were taken down near you. And rabbit rabbit back atcha though I'm 24 days late!

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  5. Looks more like a fox to me. Sad to lose such a beautiful tree, but to all things a season. Making tables out of the tree is a great idea.

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    1. They are drying on the porch for the winter. We'll see how they are in the spring.

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  6. My parents have a pine and Catalpa that need to go but the memories have them rooted deeply so I think they are staying. What a gorgeous tree it must have been. I love that you will each have a piece of the tree and a new landscape. The pictures in the process are great.

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    1. I sympathize (empathize?) with your folks. There are pics of our maple all over this blog.

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  7. I hate losing trees, Nan, but it seems to be a fact of life with a property of any size. :-( Your view is lovely though.

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    1. I plan to talk more about the view. Hopefully soon. We had a lot of logging done this fall.

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  8. How good that you will have the tree-tables. Whenever a view out the window is changed I marvel for several days--even when the sunflowers go down with the frost. Some changes are rather subtle--the removal of a massive tree creates a whole new visual landscape.

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    1. It really is different. The light. And it will be even more different in the summer when the leaves would have blocked the sun.

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  9. Love the retrospective in photos. We are facing the same thing with two huge pin oaks in front of our house between the sidewalk and the street. If they were planted when the house was built, they are almost 90 years old. Sidewalk work summarily chopped the roots off, plus a drought a few years ago have left the trees stressed and dying. The trees drop limbs when you least expect it. It makes going in front yard like a game of Russian roulette. The neighbors who park really nice vehicles under it either have great insurance or they want new cars. We've had limbs trimmed back twice trying to lengthen the lives of the trees, but we have recently petitioned the city to cut them down. In our city, the area between the sidewalk and the street is common ground, owned by the city, so the trees are on city property. In the meantime, we keep our fingers crossed.

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    1. Maybe you could post about the situation. I'd love to see pics.

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  10. wow, that was a huge tree. it would have made me nervous to have kept that one so close to the house.

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    1. It wouldn't have hit the house, but the dead smaller branches worried me.

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  11. Love the idea of the table tops.
    When I lived at the old farm house
    on this property
    a Cherry tree cut down and someone
    made me a small step stool out of it.

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    1. Oh, I would love to see a photo of it.

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  12. I'm sure it was an emotional day for all of you, but I think you made a wise decision. We've had so many old, large trees (in our neighborhood, not our own yard!) uproot or lose huge limbs during our big storms. My mom even had a large tree fall on their house in Oregon! Better to have those pretty pieces of wood to build some useful tables than to have an accident. Love the picture of Hazel Nina crawling on the stump. Such a big girl!

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    1. I'm kinda fond of the stump. Not sure what I want to do in that area, but I'm glad the stump is there.

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  13. The "owl" could also be a fox, with a long, slim snout, couldn't it? Making table tops out of the slices of trunk, you'll get to keep a permanent and tangible memory of the old tree.
    As you say, it's a loss and a gain. Good to know the tree came down this way and not during a storm, risking damage to your property or, even worse, injury to someone.

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  14. Bittersweet! The tables ... and your pictures of it in all seasons ... Beautiful ways to keep the memories ... They'll be backdrops for the stories you'll tell the grands about when their parents were their age!

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