21 September 2009

Running through the garden

I like a good sense of danger. You know, like the one you get from power tools.

(Yes, I am a fan of Mad Men. It's about the only show I watch on TV. Actually, it is the only show I watch on TV. Hmm. Anyway, last night. The John Deere tractor mower. HOLY MACKEREL!!! I don't have a tractor mower, just a regular one, but there are days when I feel like the thing is going to chase me around the yard...)

So, danger. Power tools. Dead tree.

I do a lot of the gardening myself, but I have a tree guy who comes and prunes the trees, in part because I have an Italian stone pine that's about 40 ft. tall, and a veritable wall of ficus that's about 30 ft. tall. And I'm just not up to swinging through the trees with a chain saw. Not in this life, anyway.

So, the tree guy is a Certified Arborist (whatever that means), and he comes and looks at the trees and says, "Hmm" frequently, and writes on his notepad, looks some more, writes some more and when he leaves I'm usually hundreds poorer. But he's got a professional crew to swing through the trees with chainsaws, and more importantly, he's insured. And they clean up after themselves.

So, it's generally good.

I have to get them out here in the winter because the pine tree requires special handling or it will get beetles and fall on my house, and even though I'm insured, that would stink. So last winter the tree guy was here, and I told him I wanted him take the birch tree out of the front since it was half dead.

When we bought the house, one of the attractions was the Italian stone pine, and the other attraction was all the fruit trees. Don't buy a house in the winter if it's deciduous trees you want. It turned out they were all dead for the most part, and I ended up paying massive amounts of money to have them all removed. Joy. The two river birch in the front had oak root fungus, not that you can tell in the winter, and since then, one has been removed and I wanted him to take it's companion.

The Certified Arborist looked at me aghast. "I can't," he said. "Your landscape will be unbalanced."

I looked around the front, which is nothing short of a disaster area, and said, "Oh? Too bad. Please take the tree out."

"But it's not dead," he replied.

"It's mostly dead," I insisted. "Soon it will be totally dead."

He grumped and grumbled and murmured, and wrote on his notepad.

So finally, Tree Trimming Day arrived, and the crew swung through the trees, and cleaned up, and said, "Check, please."

And I said, "You didn't take the birch out."

And the foreman said, "It's not on the estimate."

Lo and behold, it wasn't.

So, I was mightily annoyed, and here we are today, with a birch tree, quite thoroughly dead, in the front of the house.

About two weeks ago, I announced that I planned to call the tree guy to get him to take the tree out, even though I really want to find another tree guy since I'm mad at tree guy #1 for leaving me with a damn dead tree.

Then I looked at the spouse, and said, "Do we have a chain saw?"

And the spouse said, "A little one."

And I replied, "I think I'm going to cut down the tree."

At which point the spouse said, "Er..."

And neighbor B. who happened to be standing nearby started giving advice.

And I'm all, "Dude. It's dead and it's already leaning toward the street and I can't dig the stump out because it's next to the gas line."

The spouse was beginning to look a bit pale, and neighbor B. noting this suggested, "Talk to my gardener. I bet for $50 he'll chop it down and haul it away."

But I had a plan.

Yesterday, I said casually to the spouse, "So where is this chainsaw."

And the spouse said, "No."

"Ahem," I replied.

"It's a bad idea for you to use a chainsaw when you're home alone," he insisted.

And you see this is the problem with the people in my life. They take my medical conditions seriously. "Don't climb ladders." "No chainsaw." Honestly, if I thought about it for one second, I'd probably never do anything ever again, which is ridiculous, and besides, my cardiologist said, "Don't become a cardiac invalid."


And that was about 20 years ago.

So today, I hunted down the chainsaw, eyeballed the tree, and got ready to go.

It wouldn't start.

I don't know how long it's been since it's been used, but it wanted some sort of lube or oil, and I couldn't find any of that. I dug through the shed some more and came up my little hedge trimmer, which would be useless, of course. Dug around some more, and remembered that some work person made off with my saw at some point, and then finally, located my pruning saw.

Mutter mutter mutter.

Fine. If I had to cut down a tree with a pruning saw so be it.

After removing three substantial tree limbs, I was pretty tired. More to the point, my sawing arm was tired.

So I decided I'd best call the tree guy. Or maybe his brother who is also a tree guy.

Then I got out my big ladder and went after the lavendar starflower, which needed severe pruning.

Two hours later, covered in God knows what (which included at least a few newly homeless spiders), I stood back to admire my handiwork.

Don't climb ladders, indeed.

Go listen to some good music: "Running Through the Garden" from the album Say You Will by Fleetwood Mac.

No comments: