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Shift happens

About a week ago I walked under Ava’s overhead dog trolley and it brushed the top of my head. My head is not eight feet above the ground, where the wire is supposed to be. Thinking the wire had slipped loose or stretched, I took my little wrench over to the tree where it’s anchored, figuring to tighten things up.

I ended up tippy-toeing carefully away. The only thing keeping that tree from tipping into my house is the branches of the (fortunately strong) old cedar tree it fell into.

No surprise, really. The tree (an ash maybe? I’m not sure) is one of those sprawling, multi-stemmed monstrosities whose five or six trunks mostly fell sideways decades ago — some lie dead on the ground, some are canting horizontal, but attached sufficiently to be growing a vertical forest of new limbs. When I suspended that wire, two “good” trunks remained. Sometime in the last few weeks the back one fell into the front one, knocking out two with one blow. Happily both fell into the branches of that nice, sturdy cedar.

Shift happens.

And of course it happens just when The Wandering Monk and I have a new project budgeted and begun.

Still, there’s plenty of good fortune here, starting with that cedar catching its errant neighbor. Then there’s the fact that we have a friendly neighborhood tree guy, a retired logger, who charges about 1/3 what professional tree services do. And the fact that I was finally able to get him to return my call. I think the magic phrase was “might hit my house,” but in any case, he came right out once we talked on the phone.

Then he quoted me a price that just happened to match a donation that had come in that very morning. So it all works out. (And thank you, D, for yet another example of your excellent timing and generosity. And thank you, R, whose earlier donation can safely remain set aside for its designated medical purpose.)

I’ve known all along that that messy old tree would have to go someday. I guess now’s as good a time as any.


  1. SKSK
    SKSK August 6, 2019 3:35 pm

    Snowmageddon continues to leave surprises everywhere, I imagine. For heavens sakes, you be careful, okay?

  2. jed
    jed August 6, 2019 4:35 pm

    The first thing that always comes to my mind (other than I’m glad no damage was done) is whether the wood can be salvaged. From the bark, it could be ash. Whether it’s worth the trouble of milling … ??? Of course, it helps if there’s a local woodworker who also has a portable bandsaw mill.

  3. Claire
    Claire August 7, 2019 11:53 am

    The wood will be salvaged for somebody’s wood-burning stove. 🙂 Either the tree guy’s or The Wandering Monk’s. But if something really nice is revealed as the tree is chunked apart, there is a local woodworker who meets your description, jed. I’ve always admired his work but never remotely been able to justify buying any of it. Hm. Maybe an exchange …

    And yep, SKSK, snowmageddon might have contributed. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll definitely be careful! I’ve removed everything within striking distance of the tree, but haven’t yet worked up the nerve to go right up to the tree and detach the trolley wire.

  4. just waiting
    just waiting August 7, 2019 7:10 pm

    I haven’t lived in the PNW long, but one of the things I’ve learned is that only good loggers make it to retirement.

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