Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we plan. As we drove into the farm last weekend, I was looking for the willow tree. A while ago, we’d made arrangements to get it cut down. Once we were far enough down the driveway that I could see that it wasn’t standing, I figured that the guy we’d hired to take it down had finally come out with his boom truck and cut it down. Then we got closer and it was apparent that the tree had gone down on its own. It’s not so bad that the tree is down, it was apparent that it had serious problems since last fall when a good sized branch broke off in a November windstorm. You can’t tell from the angle depicted in this photo, but the tree was also quite hollow for some distance going up from about three feet off the ground. So much so, that a few weeks ago, I saw a raccoon sitting in the cavity and when I came back it was still in there and I couldn’t see it.
Until this tree has been dealt with, which will hopefully happen today, we can’t get back to the orchard with the riding mower. Last Wednesday night, there were high winds, hail and tornado warnings. Things were pretty mild at our house, but a friend whose bike commute takes her south of town said that last Thursday, she got off of her bike to go around downed trees no less than 14 times in the morning and that it was about half cleaned up by the time she was headed home.
The willow took off some branches of an adjacent old oak. We still hope to save that tree, though it’s going to be awfully lop-sided. A nearby elm tree which was not in the path of this tree has a crack right through a large limb, such that one can see daylight through it, and it must come down. It seems like that tree, planted to shade the front of the old farm-house could have benefited from some pruning it never received a long time ago. I think that tree will be a total loss as well. It’s an old tree. Possibly planted early in the last century when the house was built. So old, that the barbed wire from the fence once meant to keep cattle from the yard was completely embedded in the bark and it had grown so much that the tree was effectively part of the fence, it’s growth having pulled out the stake for the barbed wire fence. If we build on this hill once the house is demolished, we’ll be looking at all new trees to shade it from the midday and afternoon sun.
The damage wasn’t limited to these three trees. A pine tree which forms part of the wind break around the orchard snapped off well above its base. An old oak which had completely leafed out earlier this spring snapped off right at its base. A large limb in another stand of old pines snapped off and is now pointing downward. The list goes on. Other trees sustained major damage and I’m not even sure we’ve found them all yet.
Nature put on quite and impressive storm and I’d be glad not to see another one like it any time soon.