I admit it for all to see: I’m a tree hugger.
Twenty-five years ago we bought a wooded lot, to build our home. It was filled with mature trees and rough areas where trees had fallen. The only place to situate the house was in an area of very old pear and apple trees. It nearly killed me to have to give them up. I managed to save two of each kind, and two of the pears and an apple tree are still with us after all these years.
We left the rough areas as passage for wildlife (and barrier from our neighbors). Woodpeckers, dozens of other birds, raccoons, deer, coyotes, skunks and the neighbor’s cats and dogs all find the area interesting.
It became apparent that we were going to have to take down pods of trees at two corners of the house. The trees had reached old age and died off and there was no doubt that they would land on the house one day, so we hired a tree service to bring them down. It was fascinating to watch, but I was very sad to see them go. The shade around the house had changed, and the view out the sky lights showed a lot more sky. Still, my favorite tree of all, a HUGE evergreen, was still there. We communed every morning through the skylight, as I dressed.
That is, until last Thursday. We were eating a late dinner when we heard a terrible thump. It had been raining all day, one of those freakish warm days following six weeks of arctic cold. The rains had given over to very high gusts of wind when the house shook. We both went to see if we could tell what had happened.
At first there didn’t seem to be anything wrong. Whew…missed the bullet again. Then, I walked into the office and discovered bits and pieces of drywall on the floor. I looked up and saw a branch about 3″ wide jutting 15″ into the room right where the ceiling and the wall meet. At that point, I could hear Dear Husband above me in the attic, counting holes in the roof. At least four branches from the upper part of the tree pierced the roof.
We have been very lucky. The rain had stopped, and the temperature had dropped again, so we didn’t have water pouring or dripping in the holes. The heavy part of the tree didn’t hit the house. We have a tree service coming today to cut back the tree so the damage can be assessed. They will have to bring in a crane to support the trunk so that it won’t swing into the side of the house once the branches are cut off. Luckily, we have insurance that will cover the tree removal.
So, we have at least four holes in the roof. We’ll need new shingles, and plywood cladding and whatever else went into making our roof. We’ll need a new stretch of gutter and soffit. It’s possible that we might need some bricks replaced. And, we will need drywall and paint in the office.
Oddly, all that isn’t bothering me terribly. It can all be fixed. But, my favorite tree is gone, and when it came down, it took out my second favorite tree, a beautiful mature star magnolia. The view out my skylight, and the view out my office window are both terribly bare and I won’t get to see the magnolia bloom this spring after a winter of anticipation.
I’m tree hugger. These trees were my friends and I feel their loss.