Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Queen

Yesterday was a day of memories.  Seal left us in the morning and Bruce and I looked back on the fourteen years she'd been a part of our lives.  In the afternoon, the tree guys showed up -- a crew of three, along with two trucks, a huge wood chipper, power saws, and loud music.  They had come to work on our massive gray pine that stands on the upper pad.  Fourteen years ago, Bruce and I were married under this tree, who we had named "The Queen".  Gray pines are rather short-lived trees (60 years is about the average), but The Queen is estimated to be well over 100.  These pines usually bite the dust by literally biting the dust; one day their roots give out and they just keel over.

The Queen, over the past few years, has been doing the Leaning Tower of Pisa thing.  The tilt was gradual at first, but now she was so far over that her lower branches blocked the path and the ends of largest one was resting on the crown of an unhappy oak.  Our options were to do nothing and wait for her to topple over on her own, have her taken down before she fell, or try to keep her going a little longer by ridding her of the weight of the branches that were pulling her down.  We know that she's old and already past her prime, but we opted for the tree surgery to see if we could keep her a little while longer (I sense a pattern here).

From this side, she actually doesn't look too bad...

This angle shows her struggle with gravity

The unwilling oak that's being used as a branch-rest

I believe that the young man who swung up into this tree is part California gray squirrel.

The similarities between the two were striking.  Give the squirrel an orange helmet and a chainsaw, and they could be brothers.  Oh, and lose the tail.

(The squirrel pix were taken several months ago -- the little guy lives in the pines surrounding our house)

Here the tree trimming is almost complete.  The little oak to the right lost a branch in the process, but it no longer has the pine branch pressing down on it.

Bruce and I took an evening walk up to the pad to see how The Queen was doing.  She looked splendid against the sunset.  There's no telling how much time we bought her by the tree surgery, but we did what we could to help her out.

And that's all one can do.

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