Tree Removal

In Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall,” his neighbor insists that “good fences make good neighbors.”

Many of us like our boundaries, and a fence is a way to clearly communicate a do-not-cross zone. (We put up our fence a few years ago after I saw one man chasing another with a pistol.) A fence can also keep animals and children corralled as well as offer privacy. But like the fence in “Mending Wall,” they need to be repaired from time to time.

Driveway 5-13-15 after

Driveway 5-13-15

Driveway July 2015

Driveway July 2015

Our neighbor out at the land asked if we could trim or remove the Bradford Pears growing between our driveway and his fence. Limbs were growing over into his yard, and the trees were preventing him from making repairs.

We showed up one morning with that singular purpose: to cut them down. As can be said about most of our work days, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

What at first appeared to be four or five substantial trees growing along our neighbor’s fence line turned out to be 50-60 smaller trees growing in clumps, ready to scourge.Tree Roots

Generously, our neighbors and their kids came out to help. We used the clippers on smaller trees, Chuck chainsawed the larger ones, and we hauled them to the open field, making a brush pile. The sun wasn’t too hot, and after less than five hours we’d taken them all out.

Brush Pile (dried out)

Brush Pile (dried out)

Granted, the brush pile was a little more scattered than we had hoped, but several were simply too heavy to lift and heave on top. The pile is spread out rather than tall, but we plan to trim it up before burning it.

The job isn’t finished, however: all of the little stumps have to go. Otherwise, they’ll just re-sprout from the roots. We’ve bought a mattock to help with that, but it’s all easier said than done.

Our neighbors plan to plant a row of lovely Japanese maples in their place. Good fences make good neighbors, and so do shared tastes.

A Ton of Work…Literally

5-22-15 driveway with partial rockA few days after our sinking episode, we called a gravel truck. The problem: because the clay was so soft, he couldn’t gradually release the rock so that it spread evenly. He just had to dump it. While he went for another load, we spread it with shovels, shoes, and gloved hands.

We hadn’t expected anyone to be able to come out on such short notice, much less deliver multiple loads. Otherwise, we might have had more hands on deck! Instead, it was just the two of us. We had planned to spend the day clearing the new site for the cabin, but we knew this had to be done. More rains were on the horizon, and the driveway was basically a 6’ x 22’ mud hole.

The air was cool and the day was lovely, but after spreading the third load we were worn out—and the driveway was only half done.

Then, the mayor of Higginson himself showed up—tall and serious, with a resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones. He was in the neighborhood because around the corner a stretch of houses were having some sewer problems. [With a composting toilet we won’t have to worry about that!]

He exuded silent confidence while sizing up the situation. He told us he’d be back with a backhoe, and five minutes later we watched, mouths agape, as he smoothed out the freshly-dumped load.

5-22-15 driveway with rock

We asked if we could make a donation to the town, but he wouldn’t take any money directly. Instead, he said, “If you want, go to City Hall and make a donation to the 4th of July fund.” He seems to take his civic position as one “for the people.”

Thankfully, our cabin-building schedule was only tentative, or else we’d be behind. At the moment, we’re under a severe thunderstorm warning, and up to five more inches of rain are expected this week. We’ll go out to the land on Thursday to see if our new site is still above water.