September 24th, 2003

Roadkill

Fall

The first time I saw my house, other than times when I had merely biked past it, it was the middle of February. I really didn't take too much notice of the shrubs and trees in the yard (or the neighborhood, for that matter). I was more interested in the interior of the place. So I was greatly surprised the following April when I turned into the street about a week before the closing, and noticed that all the trees lining the street were a mass of white flowers. Being completely unobservant, I couldn't remember if there were any trees in my soon-to-be front yard. Man, I was hoping there were. I drove round the bend, and there they were. Two of them. They were beautiful.

I found out later that they were Bradford pears, considered by some to be the worst tree ever. The problem is that they grow very fast, have lots of branches, and very weak wood. As they get big, they start breaking down. I knew that eventually they'd start losing limbs, but figured I still had some time. I talked about it with my neighbor, because the larger of the trees overhangs his yard as well, so we figured on trimming it back last weekend. However, this was delayed, because he works for the electric company, and got sent to the hurricane zone to help restore power down there, so he wasn't around. No hurry, I figured.

Yesterday, there was a pretty big wind storm, with forty knot gusts, and as I sat at work watching raindrops pelt my windows, I had a premonition about the tree. Which I immediately dismissed as silly. The storm ended, I left work, headed home, turned into my street, and couldn't help but notice that a quarter of the tree was lying in the road. On closer examination, it turned out that it had actually landed on top of the my neighbor's and my mailboxes, crushing them. Sigh.

Fortunately, it had turned into a nice evening, and the sun was still out, so I went and got the chainsaw, and started cleaning up. Took about an hour to get it all cut in manageable pieces that I could drag into my yard. I also managed to pound and pry the two mailboxes back into sort of mailboxy shape for the time being. They'll both have to be replaced. I got to meet a bunch of neighbors that I hadn't before. Mind you, none of them offered to help, although the guy who lives on the other side of the evil thicket did mention that he'd lost his Bradford pear the year before, and that the town would come and remove the tree if I called them. That *was* helpful, although the message I left at the highway department this morning hasn't been returned yet. It really does need to come down. The area where the tree broke is showing a lot of rot, so it's only a matter of time before the rest comes down, one way or the other. It's also ugly.

I'd been thinking about getting a couple of trees for the yard anyway, maybe an apple or two, maybe a maple. Now I need to start thinking about something ornamental for the front, maybe a crabapple or dogwood. Actually, there's really a lot of things I need to do in the yard next month. My tulips didn't come up this year, so I guess I need to dig up the beds, and replace the bulbs. I also need to figure out what to do with the shrubs out front. I love the two rhododenrons, but the junipers have got to go. I just need to figure out what to replace them with.
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    "Man in the Moon" - REM