Saturday, March 23, 2013

Family Trees

Things are basically back to normal here, although we are going through yet another bad thunderstorm as I type this, so I thought I'd show ya'll a few photos of the damage from my Mom's house.  We really didn't have many trees down in our area but downed trees took out large swaths of power to the north and west of us.  My Mom's area was much harder hit although they actually had their power restored a day earlier than us.  As you can see from the photo above this very, very large oak tree just barely missed Mama's house.  I hate to say but, I secretly wished it had taken out that awful screened-in porch so I could build her a new one and let the insurance pick up the tab.  As it is I don't believe enough damage was done to warrant anything like that.  At any rate, it was heartbreaking to me to see that this old tree had gone down.  We estimate it was easily 100 years old and was a constant source of play for us when we were kids.  We had an ol' rope swing on it that we literally wore out until the rope just disintegrated.  It shaded many a family picnic, badminton game and countless hours of play for countless kids, family or not.

This is just a slightly closer view and no, that is not an actual grave by the root ball.  Well, there's a cat buried there but not a human grave.  My Mom is a little eccentric maybe and when she found this headstone of some of her kin discarded, after a new stone had been purchased for a double plot, she deemed to rescue it from the trash pile.  Since it was marble and recorded his military service she had the cemetery workers load it in her car and then coerced one of us to erect this thing in the yard.  It gets a lot of second glances and comments at any rate.

Mama spent months, literally, searching for just the right concrete bench she wanted to go under the old tree.  I personally thought she should have turned the old headstone into a bench but she didn't cotton to my idea.  So, it's mashed to pieces now.  That one end support is okay but I couldn't see the other one.  It's probably rammed about 2 feet down into the ground.

The family consensus is to try to find someone with the proper equipment, who would be willing also, to mill this trunk into slabs suitable for making tables.  The trunk is so large it would take a small crane to move it if it had to be transported, but I was hoping to find someone with portable equipment that could come to us.  I don't know if that is even possible but I'm going to check.  I hate that it had to die but I would love to commemorate the tree with a new dining room table; just to keep a part of it around as long as I could..

This is a large cedar in her front yard that also succumbed to the storm.  It was a double trunk and the other half is still standing but we'll take all of it down now.  We also wanted to save the trunks of both for some possible building project.  Cedar that large is just too nice to discard or burn.
My sister actually planted this tree about 40 years ago.  She was pretty small but dug up a teeny cedar sprout and transplanted it here, declaring as she did that "it was going to grow!"  And it did.  Quite well actually and provided a very safe and secretive home for baby birds of various species.  The birds continue to flit all around and in it even now, chirping their distress at the death of their old friend.

So, we have much work to do at Mama's now to get things back in order and cleaned up.  Need to put her in a new sidewalk too, as you can see form the photo.  Seems like it never ends but at least we are all safe tonight and unharmed.


Sissy said...

That brick walk is nice. It does the job, right? Sad to see trees damaged. I have a black walnut in the same condition, wishing I could salvage it also. Yet after ten years it is still bearing!

pamit said...

Wow...! Glad your mom is safe. It must be some consolation to know you can use the wood from these "family members" - they won't be forgotten.

edifice rex said...

Hey Sissy! Well, the brick walk is in bad disrepair. Mt father built it on top of an already broken, uneven slab, so now it's all falling apart and the bricks will roll out from under your feet if you step near the edges. I can just see Mama (or a visitor) breaking her ankle or worse. It's coming out.
You know black walnut is worth a good bit of money. A wood person might give you a pretty penny for that tree!

Hey Pam! I really hope that we can use the wood in some way.

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

It is a shame to lose a big tree or two with so many good memmories, but you know, I think there must be alot of BTUs of heat energy in there somewhere also, after the table tops etc. There is some good in everything. Nice to see no one got hurt Annie.

HermitJim said...

WOW! That's a shame that those trees were taken down by the storm, but luckily Mom's house dodged the bullet as far as damage goes. That's a good thing!

I'm glad that there wasn't more extensive damage.

edifice rex said...

Hey Mark! Oh yeah, every bit that isn't milled is going into firewood for me and Jack, my Mom and my brother, so nothing will be wasted.

Hey Jim! Yeah, I'm so glad it came out the way it did; a tree that large could have crushed Mama's whole house if it had fallen just a little more to the right.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Glad that no one was injured, Annie, when this big boy came down. Too bad about the concrete bench but a funny story about that headstone. Your mom has a sense of humor too it seems. Oak will make a beautiful table.

Swamp Dog said...

I'm glad everyone is OK. Am also glad you are thinking about ways to use the wood from those trees for something besides firewood. If you make something from that wood it will always have special meaning for all of you.