Monday, April 16, 2012

Good evening, my name is Mick and I hugged a tree today.  The tree was not sad, injured, or depressed; quite the contrary, it is alive and doing fine.  You see....I'm a cheap bastard; we've relied on that old elm tree to shade our house from the afternoon sun the entire time we've lived here.  (since 1994, for those of you new to our friendship)

Pretty sure the tree was planted when the house was built, 1950, and I'll tell you why I think that.  The house is located near the forecourt of Dr Gram's belgian draft horse barn.  He had some pretty special horses and built a special barn for them.  I rather doubt that there were 3 elm trees all in a neat short row....

Uncle Google is being a bastard and not finding anything.

When we moved in, there were 2 elms and one stump in the middle, so that's how I knew there were 3.  Then one died and I played lumberjack and cut it down, only ruining a perfectly good chainsaw in the process.  Ok, only the bar was ruined, but since the bar is a pretty important part and they were no longer available....that tree measured 24" across the trunk.  I did not grind up the stump, but I cut it flush with the dirt and then used the chainsaw as a plunge router, cut some kerfs/slots into it.  Then I'd water it every time I had the hose out; my theory being that the wetter I could keep it, the faster it'd rot.  Eventually I was rewarded with a hole in my yard which was too happy to trip me and twist my ankle as I mowed the grass.

The trunk of this remaining tree is enormous.  I can't get my arms around it.  I suppose as a conservative feller I should be against hugging trees.  I talk to them, too, though, in an unabashed unashamed fashion.  HOWEVER, I don't think that the tree hears me, or feels my hug, but I've been wrong before, and I'm willing to err on the side of caution when it comes to shading my whole house.  I'm sure that tree saves me several dollars a year....keeping the A/C from running. 

Several years ago I planted a maple tree fairly near the elm.  Thinking that someday that elm is going to die, either from dutch elm disease or the tree trimmers are going to get a little carried away and kill it.  The maple will zoom up and also shade the whole house, as soon as the elm is out of the way.  I did take a limb off the elm once, to give it a little more sunshine.  The maple has not had an easy life; it's first winter a rabbit ate it.  I didn't panic, and my patience has been rewarded.  The maple came back right away that spring and is now about as tall as the house.  No, I did not stake it.  See the bloggy post from last spring to see my thoughts on staking a tree.

 I've planted a total of 6 trees here, but only 5 are alive.  In '95, I bought 2 red maples and put them in the front yard.  The runty one did not survive, and was replaced with an ash that sprouted in my rain gutters.  I did tie it one night, it was covered with seeds and when the rain it, the tree bent way over.  So I took a rope and tied it to something to make sure it did not break.  Somehow the tree grew tall and skinny....Showing off, I suppose.

We've talked of the maple, but I planted another maple in 06.  Val mowed it off that next spring, and it has thrived since.  Last year was it's best year, going from 7' to at least 12.  And I planted an elm that sprouted in the gutter, don't remember what year....and it's really done well.  Probably 30' tall, a nice sturdy tree.  There's been a locust sprout in the yard a couple times, and I've always wanted to let it grow, but they always come up too close to the sidewalk.

While I've got your attention, while you're perched on the edge of your seat, reading each and every word, drooling down your chin waiting for more, you're practically begging for sex, drugs, rock and roll, scandal, gossip and farts, but there really isn't any of that crap today. 

What there is, is a song.  Set to that weird goofy song sung by that girl.

I hugged a tree and I liked it
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

yeah, well....I'm not a song writer.  If you can do better, post it in a comment.
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