Down Goes the Elm

200101_BigElm (5)January 1 – Didn’t know where to start to get a blog ready to send off to all of you who kindly read them. So thought I would write about the four young men who drove up from their home about 35 miles from here to take care of a huge elm tree in our front yard.

We didn’t know how old the tree was, but we did know that it had been around for the last 20 years because when we moved out here from Pennsylvania it had been in good shape and was still holding on after living the good life for many, many years.

Earlier, one of those men had left the family business card and asked Dale to think about the problem and call him back if he chose to. We knew of the possibility that the tree would fall down and bash the front big window or land on the roof. Much as we hated to do so, Dale called the company and told the young man that we would like his group to take the tree down.

200101_BigElm (6)About ten in the morning the trucks began to arrive (two white and one red). Actually, who would care if those trucks were striped red or a horrible purple as long as they could carry away the smaller branches that soon filled up the yard in line with the trailer?

The older man who continued to use saws and cut down the larger branches helped me out when I wanted to take some pictures of the job. He even called over the young men to have their pics taken. I didn’t laugh too hard when one of the guys asked, “Where’s your phone? Everybody has one. It would be a lot easier to forget your camera and use your phone. All of us have one, and they sure do come in handy.”

My answer? “I don’t own one of those things. I just know how to take pictures with this camera, and all is OK.” All four of the workers stopped to let me take a picture of them. Then one of them said to me, “C’mon, line up with the other guys, and we’ll get you a good one!”

200101_BigElm (1)Since nobody could use the branches from our “majestic tree”, Dale agreed to let the men drive back to the creek area where they unloaded the trailer, all four of them working hard. With larger branches in the trailer, the second trip didn’t take as long as the first. While the men were unloading, I quickly scooted around trying to get some good pics before they returned. Later, the oldest man lodged himself among the larger branches and used a couple kinds of saws to clean up the tree before starting to cut it down.

And now came the proof that he really did know what he was doing with all of the saws and movements around the tree; off came a big chunk of wood at the bottom of the tree. Even though I knew that I was in a safe place, I did a little bit of shivering before the huge elm tree fell to the ground exactly where it was supposed to fall.

200101_BigElm (3)Then came a lot more hard work from the four workers! The big pieces were separated, and loaded into the trailer. By the time they had loaded all of the really heavy wood, I think they were more than eager to be done with the job. Some of the wood was pushed back against the front of the trailer, as there were some big pieces that one person couldn’t handle by himself.

However, by the time they were down to about ten, no one could push the huge and heavy pieces. Some of the workers tried to, but just couldn’t manage! Some of the pieces finally found their place in the trailer and were taken off to the wood pile beside the creek. Those four guys worked for some time, making sure nothing was blocking the way.

200101_BigElm (2)So that’s my book version – Dale was a bit more precise – he described the event in just four sentences!

“We had a large Siberian elm in our front yard cut down by a tree service, which took four guys nearly a full day of work. They carted off five trailer loads of wood, and left a lot of big ruts in our lawn. At least we won’t have all of those elm leaves falling on us any more, or filling our gutters. Will have to check the rings in the cut slabs to see how old that tree was – I think the trunk was about a yard in diameter.

Now if I had sent this story to our son who does all of the arranging in our blogs right up front, there would not be anything else to add. However, that’s not the way the story ended up!

200101_BigElm (4)After the blog was written, we did our usual work at the Harvesters the next day. A few days later, we had several inches of snow, lots of it falling on the wood piles back where the guys had dumped the wood. We ended up with six to seven inches of snow, and most of the area schools were closed.

Even though the snow continued to fall, I thought that if I wanted some pics in the blog, I would have to get down to the wood piles. It’s easy to picture those big chunks on one end of the area and the branches on the other. Since I didn’t take time to dress up for the snow and cold, I had some tingling in my fingers, but when I took off the boots that had been lying in a corner of the garage but never used in the 20 years since we moved here, it didn’t take long to recover! – CHRIS

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