I’m literally pining for Husband #2 this week
As you may remember, there’s a tree down in the back yard. Our severe stormy weather took one of the 25 foot pines and knocked it over. For a couple of days, the downed tree hung precariously in the embrace of another pine, tilted at a 20 degree angle until high winds blew the tree completely over.
As I inspected the damaged pine, there was very little in the way of a root system holding it into the ground. Imagine a 7 foot diameter dinner plate attached to a tree trunk. I wonder where the tap root is for this tree.
Tap root: a straight tapering root growing vertically downward and forming the center from which subsidiary roots originate (thank you for the definition, Google)
Anyone who has pulled dandelions out of their garden knows what a tap root does. It anchors. Sometimes too well, in the case of weeds. There is no tap root on this tree.
Maybe pines don’t have tap roots, that central underground stem that digs in deep and holds the tree into the topsoil. Maybe there’s a huge rock under this tree and the tap root just couldn’t get started. Maybe it’s having a pine tree midlife crisis and traded in its tap root for a couple of shiny new pinecones.
I don’t know why the tap root is missing. All I do know is that this tree would have done much better if it had one.
Last week Son #2 and I went to town on cleaning up this tree. I broke out the hacksaw and pruners and nip/tuck-ed my way through the branches. Then lit a bonfire in our fire pit and burned off the branches as I went along.
“Where’s the axe?”
I can’t believe these words came out of Son #2’s mouth but a recent episode of Bates Motel showed us a highly frustrated (and somewhat creepy) Caleb hacking away at a large tree in the Pacific Northwest. Son #2 is coming up on the end of his semester…. Finals week and final projects. Maybe he needed the axe to work out some frustrations…
Yes, there’s a sharp axe in the workshop.
That boy of mine made it halfway through the trunk before he had to leave for work.
Our next door neighbor shouted out, “You need a chain saw!”
Well, we HAVE a chainsaw. A good one. Husqvarna. It was a Father’s Day gift for Husband #2. But none of us left in the home know how to use it.
And I’m not about to experiment on the rather large tree in the backyard. (Once you become a Mom, the imagination goes into hyper drive and all of a sudden there are 1000+ ways for your loved ones to die). I was already imagining the axe lodged in Son #2’s upper thigh, I didn’t want to add a kicked back chainsaw lodged in my collar bone to that mental storyline…
I miss Husband #2’s mad chainsaw skills. He was my manly man.
You see, we’ve had trees fall before. Heck, we cleared out over 20 trees due to bad locale, pine borers, or general crowding. Taking down a tree is not new territory. Husband #2 and I made such an efficient team that it took us approximately 1 hour from initial drop to final stump cleanup. We had a rhythm. We were a well-oiled machine. We could have been pioneers.
This latest tree will take me more than an hour to clear.
It took me two days to remove 99% of the branches (a couple remain to keep the trunk off the ground, which is better for chainsaw activities). I also hand sawed the top 6 feet off of the tree trunk, up to the point where the diameter got too thick for the hacksaw to handle. All that is left is the root ball and 19 feet of bare trunk. This is where I’ll call for pro help or ask my Amazonian sister to come down and teach me how to handle the chain saw.
For now, I stand out in the yard staring at something uprooted, stripped down, and sappy…
And I wonder if it’s staring back at me seeing the same thing…