Two days before we traveled to my daughter’s wedding, a tree came down in our yard. It was a fifty foot hickory that was dead when we bought the house in 2013, and it was struck by lightning in 2014. The top of it hit the top edge of the chimney, at the side of the house, leaving fifteen feet of broken wood at the foundation. The chimney is fine. The tree continued down, resting in the fork of a redbud tree and splitting it three feet to the ground. We’ve had a lot of recent rain, softening the ground on the slope where the hickory stood. The roots were rotted to pulp and broke off as the tree fell.
I couldn’t leave it like that while traveling, so I spent the next day cutting up the pieces on the ground and cutting twelve feet off the top end of the tree. I cut the redbud into firewood and cut its branches into four foot lengths, leaving them in three large piles at the side of my garden.
When we returned, I spent a day cutting the rest of the hickory into firewood. It was so choked with English ivy that I spent more than an hour lopping that off before taking the chainsaw to the tree. The pile of ivy, some of it an inch-and-a-half thick, was as high as any of the three piles of redbud branches. I now have more than a cord of hickory firewood, with a fireplace that I converted to natural gas.
Last month ended up being tied for the hottest September on record for mid-Missouri, so I wasn’t too anxious to clear out those tree branches. We had a break in the weather today – overcast and 65º – so I spent the morning lopping the redbud branches and ivy into two foot lengths, then taking them to our city’s yard waste site, a mile away – five trips in my station wagon. The site won’t take anything larger than six inches in diameter, so now I have to find a neighbor who needs firewood.
ivy clings to tree
draining life from hickory
warm glow of fireplace