Thursday, November 5, 2015

When is a Tree Not a Tree?

After a tree is cut down, is it still a
 tree? I'd call it firewood. 
After a shady rock garden no longer
has shade, is it now a sun rock garden?

Dang Sam, I'm losing a big huge tree that shades a large
rock garden AND a portion of my neighbors house.  The
tree was old (next to ancient) some 30 years ago when I
bought this property and now, when the wind blows free,
it sends it's parts, like old bones, crashing to the land. I do
not want to think of deadwood piercing my neighbor's roof.

In 1865, gold was discovered in this area of Montana while
the Civil War was raging in the East. The first man to acquire
this particular chunk of land, ran cattle to supply fresh meat
to the miners.  My house was a log cabin house and my
neighbor's house was the bunkhouse. Years later, when this
land was plotted out to become Helena, the capital of MT,
the log cabin and bunkhouse were grandfathered in and the
block kinda carved around them. My neighbor had built
his house where the bunkhouse stood and that
eventually put his house far in the back of his land and
almost spot-on the lot line dividing our properties.

The old log cabin still stands beneath the added wood siding  of
my simple farmhouse. It was enlarged and an upper floor
added but I can envision the old log cabin when I enter the
cellar with all it's spooky ghosts.

Somewhere along that time, a tree seedling must have
taken root and the shade seemed like a good idea. No one would
ever plant a tree in that precarious spot where the tree is
sandwiched in among high-wires, fences, the alley and the
neighbors house. No, none of those things were there and I
often sit beneath that old tree and can see the cowboys lolly-
gagg'n aroung the bunkhouse after the evening meal, while a
lone harmonica wails out an old haunting tune.

I asked Brady, the treeman, how his crew would get the tree
out of there.

"Very carefully," he replied.
(ummmmm....we'll see)

I do know one thing. I'll get real misty-eyed, along with the birds,
as it's being cut down.

I'm really going to miss that tree, my old friend.


  1. Trees have a life of their own, and a great reminder of the beauty of mother nature. Its always sad to see a tree cut down.

    1. Blogoratti
      This has been a real struggle for my mind. At first I was thinking perhaps I could have it cut way back and it could start all over but I guess it's too far gone for that and wouldn't have enough strength left to make it again. Poor tree.

  2. Now I feel young, because I don't think I've outlived a tree yet.

    I do appreciate the sadness in losing an old friend.

    1. Joeh
      Thanks for talking about my tree. Everyone liked the Joyce Kilmer connection, too. People can come together over so many aspects of nature.

  3. I hate to see ANY tree cut down!!

    1. Fishducky
      I do too. There's something almost human about a tree.

  4. How sad. It is like losing an old friend. So sorry. Fascinating story, too, Manzanita. You tell a good tale.

    1. Karen
      I'm not only losing all my friends of my age but now I'm losing
      trees too. That's not cool.

  5. If that tree could talk, oh the stories it would tell. ::sigh::

    1. Robin
      I do feel like it's almost human. I'd like to see a picture of it when it was just a new little seedling. And I wonder is it was ever really thirsty during it's life. Montana is very dry and people seem to forget to water the dear trees. They waste all that water on the stupid grass and have you ever tried to kill grass? You can't. My next door neighbors are young, first time house owners and I saw them pouring water on the grass and gently reminded them that the trees need water. They were really surprised. I find that really odd. Shrug????

  6. Stinks when they get cut indeed
    As some shade one needs
    But then better than it falling over
    And crushing one's house or rover

    1. Pat
      When I think of all that one tree provided for us, I do get sad. Even the dry leaves it drops in the fall provide exquisite new
      soil in the compost pile.
      A vegetable garden will take it's place
      It will serve a memory like old fine lace
      A rose garden too, will bloom right there
      I have to move them but I knew not where
      They'll all thank the big tree for their life
      For roses and veggies, no more strife

    2. If a tree hits a squirrel
      it might crush his nuts.
      But, a dog, boy or girl
      oh...those poor, poor mutts!

    3. Hahahaha a good one, Al.
      I hate to use the word "hate" but
      I HATE squirrels. How can people
      even think those little bastards are
      cute. They get in my attic and chew on
      something. Probably the wiring. I hope
      they get their nuts crushed AND their
      heads. They are just dirty pack rats with
      hair on their tail.

  7. Hi Manzanita - it's better to have your beloved tree down - before it crashes down - as one of ours did here ... luckily no damage - the one next to it ... might do damage, but it seems secure in it's position. Your landscape will be slight different. It's great you can visualise the way the area has changed since those early mining days ... fun to read to about. Cheers Hilary

    1. Hilary
      That must have been sad to see a crashed, broken tree in your yard. You were lucky that it caused no damage. I planted some new trees 2 years ago but there is no real shade from the yet

  8. I've watched the tree "killers" cut and remove trees from within the grounds here. They do it all very carefully and safely. They attach cables to the really big branches to support them as they are cut, then lowered by the cables (chains) either to the ground or straight into a truck; the smaller limbs are just cut and allowed to fall to the ground where they are picked up later and placed into the truck. Once the branches are all gone, the main trunk is cut and removed in sections with the cable supports, so nothing falls accidentally. Eventually, it all goes through the wood chipper and comes back the next year as mulch.

    1. River
      You are really informed of the way they take trees down. I had no idea until my neighbor told me. I did watch this tree company take down some large trees and that is why I called them. The workers looked like they really knew what they were doing.

  9. I haven't even met your tree friend, and I'm sad to know it's going. When I was a silly young thing, I quit my job because the boss pulled out a beautiful, very old oak tree unnecessarily from the property. LIke all living things, trees got to go when it time, I suppose.

    1. Susi
      You....a silly young thing? Well I guess NEVER. But it was great that you took a stance for the tree.

  10. Sad to take down a tree, but not when it is a danger to those around. We had gigantic maple trees when I was young. One night during a lightening storm, one got struck and fell down on the house.
    Don't take a chance.

  11. Susan
    That must have been frightening to your family to wake up in the middle of a storm to find a hole in your house with the rain coming in. That is exactly what I am afraid may could happen to my neighbors because even now with a mild wind, big branches fall and the treeman said where there is a big Y in the tree, it's very weak now and the whole thing may easily split. When it boils down to economy, I'd rather pay for the removal of a tree than repair someone's house. LOL

  12. Big trees are a worry in a wind storm. That happened to us in Illinois when our old chestnut tree just fell forward right into the road, missing our house and our neighbor's. Thank goodness the wind was blowing in that direction. Still... we miss that chestnut tree where we used to hang our bird feeder and the squirrels used to scamper every fall...

    1. Kay
      I guess most things in life are a challenge due to nature. You were in luck when that tree fell but think of all the chestnuts it gave you too. Would that be the horse chestnust tree? There are a lot of those trees around here and they are huge, huge trees. I took some of the seeds from a neighbor and was thinking of planting one but I'm sure I'd never see it mature and they take up a lot of space.

  13. Look on the bright side, if that rock garden has shade, the rocks will never grow into boulders.
    In related news: I didn't do well in Science at school.

    1. Al
      You are so right, my friend. And I do love the large boulders. Even if I were a lava-spewing mountain, I wouldn't cover up a boulder. I drove by my old house in Bozeman and the new owners put grass over all my huge flat rocks that had been a path.
      I think you're very smart in science. You understand how the universe works. LOL More than I do.

  14. Dear Manzanita, like you I have been attached to trees. They are such giving creatures--an apple tree on which I played as a child; a crabapple tree in Stillwater, Minnesota, a fir tree in New Hampshire. All of them comforted me and shaded me and helped me be patient with my own growth as a human being.

    Your tree has history all around it and I don't doubt that you will have tears in your eyes as it is dismantled. Did you ever read the book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverman (not sure of spelling). It is a book for all lovers of trees. Peace.

  15. Such a sad thing about the tree, dear Manzi! Is there no way saving it? Yet, of course, safety is above all... Me too, i get sentimentally attached to plants... I gave my beautiful carmine-red hibiscus to a woman next door to keep while we were moving. I was really missing it till i got a chance to bring it back home. All the time the plant was away from me, it didn't bloom and the neighbour got two of its branches cut... my eyes got wet when i saw my hibiscus in that poor condition. Now, it's having great foliage and gifted me with one big flower! :)