Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Addendum to previous post

If you read my last blog post, which I did for Skywatch Friday, you'll know we have some very wild winds here on the southern Alberta prairie. Add some serious wet to the windstorms and I find myself in considerable pain. 
You might also remember I had to call an arborist to look at our huge prairie poplars which tower over our little hobbit house.

Richard Schear photo
Now, for Lady Fi's memorable meme, Our World Tuesday, I continue the saga...

Not only did last Thursday's storm terrify our darlin' little Bonnie-Belinda dog (pictured above, on a clear day) it also continued, and brought more rain than wind for five days.
I spoke to the arborist today and he says we'll have to wait for the soft ground to dry up because his equipment is huge and very heavy.
The photo below is not of our tree, but it shows how tall the prairie trees can get if left on their own. With a lift truck and skilled operators, almost any tree can be trimmed or removed, as shown below.

Rite Industries photo
Below is a lift truck with a wood-chipper behind.
Branches are fed into it, and become wood chips in no time at all!
Rite Industries photo
Following photo, a stump-grinder awaits its next assignment.
Rite Industries photo
We won't require the big yellow piece of equipment above, but I find stump-grinders fascinating!

Thus I look forward to next Tuesday, when we might (weather permitting) get started on the trimming process.
I hope the noise and (to her) confusion won't scare Bonnie.

Although I am easily frightened now, at one time in my life (long ago and far away) I learned, along with my brother Clint, how to cut down trees — the skinny jack-pines of BC's Okanagan Valley where we grew up.
Dad also taught us how to trim off the branches (even skinnier) and cut the branchless trunk up into sections that would fit in our pot-bellied stove, to keep the family warm in winter. (Electrical service hadn't quite caught up to our location yet, but don't let me get sidetracked into the story of priming the pump, or whitewashing the outhouse, because I don't have photos.)
It was the early 1960s. Dad and Mom had decided we were getting soft living in downtown Kelowna, BC (it was a small city at that time) so they bought six acres on the back side of Knox Mountain and had us help build a house on our property's one flat spot. There, the mountain was rocky, but weather had eroded the rock into a smooth surface which provided a perfect place for our house.
Please don't get me started on more. As an old TV show used to say "there are a million stories"...!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Plenty of skywatching here

There was a wild and woolly prairie windstorm last night, with thunder and lightning and crashing and banging. When I got home from a meeting, my husband and a neighbour had already cut up a branch as thick as a man's arm that had fallen from one of our giant poplars. It hit and bent the electrical wires going from the house to the garage, and left the wires lying across the exposed metal of our hot-tub's gazebo.
They were talking things over when I appeared. I insisted that they call someone, and as soon as they did, a firetruck arrived— with siren screaming and all the attendant drama.
A lot more excitement than I needed, but some of the neighbours enjoyed it.
This branch broke off one of
our huge poplar trees in 2012
and landed right where our
beloved Golden Retriever,
the late and lovely Lindy,
liked to sleep. It wasn't
until a full year later that we
finally called in the arborists.
I thought I'd never get to sleep last night, and I was awake for hours after I went to bed. Our little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, slept happily on my bed as soon as all the men and trucks had left, but the wind was still blowing, the thunder still crashing, and the lightning still showing even past the blinds on my bedroom window. Worrisome. Worry-some!
So, after listening to my husband's side of the story today ("It's okay, the storm is over, and only one branch came down," etc.) I checked to see when we had last had the trees trimmed.
He said it wasn't very long ago.
Turns out it was 2013. I still have photos of it. It was a full year after I started nagging about the branch that came down on our old dog's favourite sleeping place. And we finally got the trees trimmed.
Nagging doesn't always work. Sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands, as I did today.
In one of those things that seems to happen to us, living in a small town,  today I phoned the tree people (arborists, in other words) who had been here in 2013. The owner of the company lives in the nearby city, but just happened to be here in our little town, shopping at the Home Hardware store, when I called.
He was here in ten minutes, recognized our house (okay, our trees) from the previous visit, and discussed the present situation with me. After a while, my husband wandered out to assure us that the problem couldn't really be as bad as I thought. 2013 isn't that long ago, right? But these trees grow very, very quickly.
So, when said husband and the dog left to go for a walk, the arborist and I discussed what could or could not be done, and what should or should not be done.
When he got out his calculator, I came into the house to check my bank balance and decided I would be able to afford the most worry-free (most expensive) solution. Just manage to afford, mind you, by using some fancy footwork. Arborists are expensive, because they have great, huge, and very big equipment to haul around, with which they perform their seemingly impossible branch removal, and it's a great, huge, and very big responsibility.
After they're done will we still have our two big trees left? Yes, we will. They won't be as big as they useta was, will they? No, they won't. Will I sleep better knowing that the work has been done? Yes, oh yes, I will.
Did I take photos of the trees after the arborist left? Oh, yes, too many, so I will never forget how large they were. But my ailing computer seems to have lost them. I hope my cell phone hasn't done the same thing. Sigh.
Thanks to Skywatch Friday for being there. I had eyes to the sky quite a bit today, taking those photos which seem to have disappeared.