Monday, September 5, 2011

The Clean-up Continues

Tropical storm Irene was not kind to Owl Hollow. She raged and roared, leveling a favorite tree, the snowball hydrangea, dropping the crown of a large hemlock tree on the tool shed my dad built and depositing several large tree of paradise branches in the backyard, not too far from the sun room.

Here's the collateral damage:

 The venerable snowball hydrangea, beloved by bees, stands no more. 
Amazingly, the hummingbird feeder that hung from it was not damaged.

 This is the crown of a large, single trunk hemlock; it remains exactly where it fell. 
I'm unsure whether it damaged the roof shingles or not but hope to find out soon.

 I have since cut up and hauled to the driveway most of these Tree of Paradise (ailanthus) limbs
except for a rather hefty 10-foot-long piece.

A friend had offered to dispatch with the largest limbs with his chainsaw. On Tuesday, the appointed day, he arrived with chainsaw oiled, sharpened and ready to go. Unfortunately, he managed to cut his finger even before he started up that chainsaw, making it impossible to do the tree work. You see, he somehow managed to nick his finger on something sharp at the top of my basement stairs (darned if I know what he grabbed) and his finger started bleeding. And bleeding. It just wouldn't stop. As he described it, "It's a gusher."

I am not a nurse, and the sight of an actively bleeding anything makes me uncomfortable. I suggested that since we couldn't seem to get the finger to stop bleeding using the usual pressure and holding his arm upright, that he should see a professional. Surprisingly, he agreed.

I drove my friend to a walk-in clinic about 15 minutes down the road, only to find the place closed due to a lack of power. Bummer. It didn't help that every 5 minutes Frank would cheerfully announce, "It's still bleeding."

We returned to my home. Frank said he'd drive himself to Danbury Hospital. I debated driving him there myself, but I was supposed to be driving my mother up to Sherman to do an art installation for an upcoming show. So we parted company at that point.

Frank got a tetanus shot and he is fine. Meanwhile, I set to work myself to cut up and then drag the many branches down my stone stairs and into the driveway until Frank (or someone else) could help me bring them to the landfill. If I left the branches where they fell, they'd kill the grass and their foliage would eventually shrivel up and fall off, making twice as much work for me. Using a broom, I reasoned, is easier than raking.

There's a large pile of debris that now occupies the driveway to the left of the garage. The storm solidified my desire to have a large white pine and the nearby Tree of Paradise removed in late fall. They both are situated to the south side of the house, within striking distance. Both trees grow way too fast and are prone to dropping their branches in a storm. The white pine is not ideally located since it blocks the winter sun from warming the house.

I have a tree guy in mind who seems to have fair prices. He's taken down a few others here in the past few years. It can be enormously expensive, and despite not really being able to afford it right now, I'd gain such peace of mind from having those two trees gone. I worry about tree limbs raining down on the house during every heavy rain or snow storm. There are several others that could possibly threaten the house, but the two I mentioned are, I believe, the leading contenders.  They could also take down power lines.

Irene was bad enough, but I keep thinking, what if all that had happened in winter? Six days without power was not pleasant, but in winter it would be disastrous. Can we say, frozen pipes, anyone?

Anyway, the tree cutting guy I have in mind tells me he works year-round, weather permitting. I am sure his business slows considerably in winter nonetheless as most people wouldn't think to have that kind of work done in January. So I will call him in November because I think I'll get a better price than if I called him when everyone else calls him. I am hoping it will be no more than $2,500 for the two trees, but I don't know. They will be a challenge, I am sure, because they are hemmed in on one side by telephone wires going to my house and on the other side by my neighbor's wires. There's not much margin for error.

Luther and Waldo will not appreciate the ear-splitting sound of a chainsaw so close to the house, but I think it still wouldn't be as bad as when the the old shingles from my house were pried off and new vinyl siding installed. It kind of made you jump out of your skin. They banged so hard on the walls that shelving and mini blinds fell down.

Ahh, the joys of home ownership.

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