Monday, December 17, 2012

The Day Our House Shook

Two dead black cherries on the east side of the house, one already reduced to pieces
Back when the dust settled after we moved in this summer, I noticed something. In our wooded two acre lot, there were LOTS of dead trees among the living ones. Since we had perhaps one of the driest summers which resulted in the worst crops raised by farmers since 1983, nearly 30 years ago, it wasn't too surprising that we lost quite a few trees.

I roped my brother into helping me cut down 16 of the dead trees in early fall but there were three that we didn't touch. They were all much larger than we had cut down and were all within ten feet of the house. I thought the last thing I wanted to do was to send a large tree through our new house so I called someone who was insured and did this sort of thing for a living. Since all the trees were recently dead, I wasn't worried about them falling down on their own yet but we get freezing rain up here quite regularly during winter and that is really hard on dead trees. Not only do the large branches shower down on your yard, but I've seen many a fellow patching up a hole in his roof after a freezing rain shower sent a dead wood spear through it. So four and a half months ago, I called someone recommended to me by several people and got on their waiting list.

This past Friday morning they showed up. One man drove a cherry picker truck, another a enclosed truck and industrial shredder and a third drove a truck with a skid steer on tracks on a trailer. They worked most of the day cutting down those three dead trees plus two small hackberry trees that were live but were poor specimens and leaning way over our house.

When they got to the largest tree of them all, the dead oak, they quickly limbed all the smaller limbs off and were working on limbs 18 inches in diameter still forty feet up in the air! They would lop of five foot sections which then fell forty feet down smacking the ground with a thud that would shake the floors and windows of our house. The last twenty foot section was cut down in one piece and it shook our house so hard that I heard a couple windows creak with stress. Fortunately nothing broke.

The men hauled off the large stuff, shredded the small stuff and left for the day. Today as you read this, they are supposed to be back to finish up by grinding out all the stumps and raking the lawn. Since they left a cooler and a pile of rakes, I'm quite certain that they will come back and finish it up in good order. They were well recommended as the company of choice because they do excellent work which must be true since their waiting list was nearly four and a half months long.

What remained of the second black cherry

Starting on the once mighty oak
The once mighty oak now on the ground.

11 comments:

Murf said...

I have a silver maple that needs to go but haven't quite wanted to to spend the $2,000 or so do it. Did you check with the insurance company to see if they really were insured or did you just take their word/ad for it?

Vince said...

I thought Iowa was prairie. That looks more SC hill country.
What did the builders do though when they developed that section. Did they plant or cut roads and sites into the timber.
And how is it there is no fences. :-) :-)

Ed said...

Murf - I didn't but since it is on all their business stuff, it would be illegal and open themselves up to lawsuits if it weren't true. Besides, they were HIGHLY recommended by many people and for me, that counts a lot.

Vince - Central and northern Iowa are prairie but in the southeast corner of the state where I live, the glaciers never got down this far and it is rolling country that once was covered in timber. The place where I bought this house used to be a long narrow pasture cleared out of timber on top of a ridgeline. According to the neighbors, our entire lot was densely wooded except for the portion they pushed out to build a house. Ten years ago, the person who lived here thinned out the understory that you see in my pictures which I have since thinned out a bit more due to the drought that killed a bunch of the trees. Fortunately the slope is north facing so it didn't fare as bad as some of the other lots on the south side of the ridge.

As for the fences, I live in city limits. The actual boundary runs right through the middle of my neighbor's house seen in the background. Once you get out in the country away from the city,there are a lot more fences.

Ed said...

Murf - By the way, I paid quite a bit less than that for five trees.

Ed said...

The crew showed up this morning with their stump grinder and ground up all the stumps. As a bonus, or perhaps forgetfulness, they ground up a huge three pronged stump that was left from when my brother and I cut down the three dead black cherries earlier this year. It was a nice touch and means that there aren't any stumps on the hill directly behind our house where I do most of my gazing. The adjacent hill closer to the road however still has its share of stumps remaining.

Murf said...

Ed - Is that with the stump removal included?!? Can they drive to Michigan?

Ron said...

The WHUMP of a big tree hitting the ground is pretty exciting.

Ed said...

Murf - That was with the stump ground up, the resulting hole filled and leveled, and all the debris raked up and removed. I'm guessing the mileage might eat up any cost savings though.

Ron - Using rough measurements, I'm guessing it was 8 tons of whumph that hit the ground!

malor said...

I had 2 trees in my yard cut off. It cost a lot of money but less than what it could be. I hired a patient's son for the job. He has his wife to help him out and he does not have big equipments but he did a great job...

Will you replace those trees?

P.S. I love the view in your yard....

Ed said...

Malor - Probably not. We have more trees in our yard than what is healthy and they should be thinned out anyway. Also, the trees that we cut were near the 'clearing' part of our yard where we eventually want to create a garden and small orchard and thus would have been unwanted shade. I would like to eventually thin more trees and replace them with a more diverse variety of trees.

warren said...

ThAT'S a heck of a tree and I am sure you are glad to have it down! Too bad you couldn't rent a dozer or something though...a cherry picker is sort of just ok...a dozer would have been exceptional!