Thursday, January 12, 2012

.....And She's Down...!!

Bet'cha you were thinking
that this was going to be a post about
me doing something really stupid
and falling over something,
didn't you?

Well...I won't lie to you.
I've had my fair share of cartoonish mishaps and clutzy maneuvers in my life ~

Like the time I was hauling a 40 lb bag of kitty litter out of the back of my SUV.
I had forgotten that Hubby had put the trailer hitch back on it
for me to haul the trailer full of mulch around the property.

You guessed it.

While hugging that litter bag,
I turned, hit the hitch with my shin,
and promptly fell head over heels into the grass -

the litter bag landing on top of me.

NOT a pretty sight.

I remember thinking 
"Ow!! Ow! Ow!! I think I broke it!"

#2 vanity-driven thought was,

"Oh, good gravy...
did the roofers reshingling our house just see me do that...???!!"

#3 vanity-driven thought was:

Graceful. Get up graceful-like, you ninny...

#4 thought:

with a litter bag laying on top of me....??"

I hobbled around with a huge dent in my shin for weeks after that.

{You're welcome for your laugh for the week.}

I digress.

You all know Heaven's Walk as looking like this
on a spectacular late summer day.

This photo was taken about four years ago before the new dark green shingles were put on,
before I created the semi-circular garden beds in the backyard,
before we put up the big white arbor back there
(and before the dent in my leg).

I guess it's time I updated the exterior photos of our home. A lot has been accomplished in the six years we've lived here.

Well, this is what Heaven's Walk looked like on December 11.

A beautifully sunny but verrrry cold winter day.
The temps topped out at 25 degrees. was cccccold.

And that was the day that the once lovely old maple
and graced our property
and hugged our home
for 130 years 
was to be taken down.

It was a bittersweet day for us.

We had been concerned about it after seeing more and more random branches falling after slight winds,
and noticing more and more dead limbs that didn't produce any leaves.
We were also concerned with it being planted only 24" away from the house,
what it might be doing to our foundation.

So, the difficult decision was made to have it removed.

The guys showed up bright and early at 9am bundled up against the cold weather.
We were all glad for the weak warmth of the sunshine.

(And yes....I was out there, too - looking like the Michelin woman...
Nobody was going to call THIS gal a wimp.)

The first thing they did was to decide where to "fell" it.
Then, they wrapped a huge chain around the bottom of the 48" trunk,
and attach a snatch-strap to a large limb
which was then attached to the hitch on a truck.

The truck drove out into the apple orchard (to the left of the house) and pulled the strap tight.
They first cut off one of the extremely large limbs that spanned the width of our house,
then started in on notching the base of the tree.

After insuring that everyone was safely out of the way,
the strap being pulled tight,
and the notch completed...

MIC and son conferring final steps to be taken

the chainsaw began making it's way through the decades of growth.

I was amazed how quickly it bit through that wide base.

Within 10 minutes
she was down
with a
and billowing snow.

The ground shivered like an earthquake just rolled through.

"MIC" (Man-in-Charge) wiped his brow,
grateful that the trunk didn't "bite" back into the house
and cause any damage to the foundation or air conditioner.

It fell absolutely perfect
and actually only did minor damage to my old "Dr. Suess" pear tree that I wanted saved.
It's where I hang all of my bird feeders
and where the deer visit every evening.
It's referred to as my Dr. Suess tree because it looks like something right out of his books;
kind of lop-sided and wonky.

The tree fell right between the other old maple and the old pear tree.

The landscape of Heaven's Walk was forever changed.

Hubby actually counted all the rings.

One-hundred and thirty-two to be exact,
with a nine foot circumference.

She was an amazing old tree.

Now the real work began.
Cutting up all that wood,
carrying and carting piles and piles of brush into the woods
for protection for all the little creatures out there,
and stacking smaller diameter pieces into a trailer.

We all worked up a sweat and only took one break....

for lunch.

I certainly didn't have to work out on my elliptical that day.

MIC's son on the left, Hubby in the gray sweatshirt, Tom, our neighbor in the black coat, and MIC's grandson in red.

MIC and his son kept busy cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting.

We kept busy hauling and hauling and hauling and hauling brush
waaaaay out into the woods.
We kept looking back the house ~
amazed at how different it looked.

Pear tree center of photo

I raked twigs and sawdust (and snow...) into piles;
MIC and his son kept cutting;
Grandson kept stacking,
Hubby and Tom kept hauling....

for  h o u r s.

The only damage done to my pear tree was the one broken limb you see on the left. Still long enough to hang a feeder from.

After the smaller pieces of wood were stacked in the trailers
to be used for heating MIC's and his son's homes,
the larger pieces of wood were mechanically split.

The entire job was completed and we called it a day at 4pm.

We were all exhausted
but very happy with the way everything turned out that day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the way home from church the next morning,
Hubby and I noticed how different Heaven's Walk looked.


Like she could  

b r e a t h e 


It was a little warmer that day,
so we replanted the little pine tree outside the kitchen window
that Hubby had removed to protect it.

Did anyone notice the white freshly painted railing on the widow's walk that was completed by Yours Truly this summer.....? Lovely, is it not?

I rehung the bird feeders on the old pear tree
and within 5 minutes
the chickadees, nuthatch, and finches who were all wondering where their food was,
returned for their breakfast.

We will be planting a pine tree
or two...
or three...
at the corner of the house
 where I've always wanted some ~

on this side of the stump, mind you.

We'll have that huge stump ground down first.
Fresh mulch will be laid over the area in the spring so that the
sweet woodruff can take hold.

Photo taken late spring 2010

Thank you, dear Old Maple ~
for shading our house during hot summer days,
throwing your brightly colored leaves across the lawn in the autumn like confetti
(which...yes....did drive me crazy....but the colors were pretty),
and standing like a guardian to our home for so many years.

You will be missed.

But you are now providing heat for two families this winter.



[ Blessings ]

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  1. It certainly changes the landscape when a big old tree like that is gone, doesn't it? It's kind of sad...changes are a part of life though, I suppose.

    At my parents house there are lots of big trees and I just love the way the make things feel. My mom gets sooo mad, because my dad is always cutting branches off of them and pretty soon they end up looking like :)


  2. Aw, how sad. But I know how you feel. We lost a big, old oak tree last year that provided lots of shade in the FL heat. In fact, I'll be posting about that soon because losing it has caused all kinds of changes around here and today I painted the fence that was part of that change. I was very, very sad to see our old tree go but it had become dangerous like yours. Your home is beautiful with or without the tree!

  3. Oh what a fabulous old tree and so glad it was taken down safely. Wonderful that there was so much wood for their homes too. You house is fabulous. I love it. Hugs, Marty

  4. We had to have a huge maple cut down last year. One day I looked up and a huge branch fell just missing our new car and the roof. After it was cut down we counted the rings and there were over 150 before we stopped counting. I was so sad. I hugged it before the tree man came and shed a few tears. Funny how you can get so attached to a tree. But when the tree was finally down (it took four days) we could see that the top of the trunk was rotting so it was the right decision. We live in Port Austin MI, if you are familiar with the area. The wind here is wicked. Guess we were lucky that it hadn't fallen on the house during one of our famous gales.

  5. Such a beautiful house. I hope you save some stumbs.


  6. Laurie- We lost a couple of old trees when we rebuilt this house, too. They were just too close to the foundation to save. It is sad. Just think of the new light that will be filtering into your house now...and the new plantings come Spring!

    I hope you have a wonderful night- We are in the midst of a storm here- xo Diana

  7. I can't bear to take trees down, but not taking down the ancient tree beside my house ended in disaster. You made a wise choice and you'll love the extra sunshine in the winter!

  8. That tree was huge! Glad it came down just in the right way so everything and everyone was safe.♥♫

  9. Laurie

    That was such a feat, so happy all went well. Looks wonderful. Have a terrific week!


  10. Good-bye beautiful old tree, but you know you did the right thing. Sadly, in my area, we've had several accidents with people actually being killed by falling trees in the past couple of years. The conservation authority as put out several campaigns about what signs to look for when a tree starts becoming a potential hazard.

  11. Laurie,
    "Parting is such sweet sorrow" could be easily applied to this post. While it was a difficult decision, I know in time the new elements will fill the landscape nicely...and bring a smile...and a sweet remembrance of what once was there!

  12. It's always sad to see an old tree go, but it was time. So glad everything went well.

  13. Oh Laurie, I so want to live in your house!!! its just the most beautiful place, and to think you have deer visiting... and the snow, its all too gorgeous!!! I bet you wont ever want to leave!!! Hope you enjoy planting lots of new and wonderful trees in your garden to enjoy for many, many years to come!!
    hugs dear friend,
    laura xxx

  14. Laurie, I do believe that you are living in my dream home with my red barn in the backyard and even my snow that has fallen as a beautiful adornment. I am not coveting because that is a sin...however...I want you and I both to have your house. I will take one just like yours and you can also keep it...DEAL? It truly is beautiful, my friend. It looks so much like a home. Does that make sense? Gorgeousness!!!

  15. the house is oh so charming with and without the tree. i love the photos of the tree and removal to preserve the memory forever!



  16. It really looks great and much more open. Your house is gorgeous either way. We have an old tree in front of the old house on our greenhouse property that has to come down according to hubby. I guess it's got a big crack running down the middle. Maybe you can come help?? haha


  17. Wow, Laurie, That was really a big project. I am sure you will miss the old tree, but your home does have priority, and it's hard when they start to drop big branches. I loved your analogy with the hitch and the cat litter. My thought would have been just as vain, and thank you that was really funny and cute.
    Take care.

  18. Wow, Lori, that's amazing! You must have been exhausted after all of that. I can't believe how long some trees can live. We have some big old trees in our yard but none quite like that! Your house is so pretty ~ I love it.

  19. You have a beautiful home!!! I enjoyed reading your post, The Mister and I will be cutting down two trees next old pecan and one oak. They are not as old as your maple, but I love trees, sorry to see them go, maybe I will post on it as had such a positive attitude about it. I'm really enjoying your blog.
    Have a happy day dear!

  20. Laurie,
    I think that this is the first time that I have seen outside pics of your home and I must say...I LOVE it!!!! Now that was one HUGE tree to get down.


  21. What a beautiful home I see why you call it heavens walk. What a big job that must have been! Glad all went well!

  22. i LOVE your house & love american timber homes. so much charm & so pretty with all the snow!

  23. Such a beautiful home. Sorry about your shin.

  24. That was a great job to looks great now !! from

  25. Oh that is a sad day when we have to chop our stately old trees down. RIP!

  26. What a job! It's sad to see such old tree's come done, but sounds like it will still be providing even though it's not in the ground any longer.

    Your home looks lovely!

  27. My goodness what a lovely tree she was! and what a nasty fall. ewe! We always think...who saw that! I took a nasty fall last year...laying there thinking 1- I am not dead 2- my neck is not broke 3- who saw that...and why aren't they coming to check on me pfft!

  28. Your home is truly beautiful (with or without the maple)! It is always said to see a beautiful tree go!

  29. I had to laugh... your story captured me. Dent in the leg..oh no. I had a dent in my foot after the darn shop vac attacked me while cleaning up Christmas needles. hurt hurt...but better to laugh, although I did hurt. I feel for you too! I'm your newest follower I hope you will come visit and follow me when you get a chance.... have a great day...goodbye old lovely tree! xoso Sandy

  30. Hi Laurie,
    What a lovely tribute to this beautiful old tree! It reminds me of the children's book, "The Giving Tree."
    How wonderful to have such a crew to take it down. Did you save any large stumps? I've seen some pretty wonderful tables and stools recently in blog land...

  31. It's so sad to say good bye to an old tree... But I love the idea with the pine tree... or two! And your house looks sooooo beautiful!!!

  32. Hi Laurie :)
    Thank you for visiting my blog.
    Your home is truly beautiful.
    Looking forward to seeing more :)
    Gaby xo

  33. I got a little sad reading this, as I'm sure you were too. Your home is beautiful and it does look like it can breath now. Thanks for a wonderful story of a beautiful old tree!

  34. It is amazing how removing one tree can make such a difference in the landscape. Your maple served you well. And I've fallen a time or two where I hoped no one saw it. Yours sounded a lot worse than most of my spills though, yikes! And yes, that railing looks sparkly white, great job!

    Kat :)

  35. This was a great read Laurie!
    You are a great story teller!

  36. laurie,

    what an undertaking! Your house is so charming. I love the photos of the snow with the sunlight coming through.


  37. Your house is beautiful, and it looks like it's lost 10 pounds.

  38. I just started following your blog.This is the first time I am responding.Your home is beautiful.And that tree was gorgeous.But I agree your home looks like it can now breath.Your home shines even more now.

  39. Your home is absolutely beautiful and if I was closer (live in Oregon) I would ask for a tour and a hot cup of tea. We have a huge tree in our backyard that is coming down this summer. I don't like to cut them down but it is taking over our backyard, and three of our neighbors yards too. Thank your for encouraging me, perhaps it will be a good thing for us too.

  40. Oh, I agree, the house DOES look so much bigger...fresh and clean. You have a beautiful home, Laurie!!

  41. Wow! What a difference! I would have been biting my nails and sweating it out that it wouldn't have fallen on the house! :) Love the story!
    PS If you have time, will you submit this over at my place on Wednesday? You could win a $5 Starbucks card!

  42. Just discovered your blog from New Zealand and really enjoying it. Your house is amazing. I am green with envy. Jane :)

  43. Hi Laurie!

    What a nice house! Just like we have seen in old american movies. Lovely with the porch in front. Fun that the nordic style is your inspiration.

    I have to comment the post you did about the swallows. Is it possible? It made a deep impression on me...

    Thank you for stopping by on Livs Lyst!

    Liv ;O)

  44. Your home is so pretty with and without the tree. I don't know why you would ever leave it. It is a home to grow old in. I think you should show photos of the outside of your home more often. Or include one in your banner 'if' you ever change it! oxox Your farmhouse is many peoples dream.

  45. A little sad, but I can relate. Where we used to live a 100 ft. oak tree crashed down on our neighbors deck and house to the tune of $35M. (They sent us pics about 5 yrs. after we moved with the caption "Henri was right" as he always predicted it would fall that well if it ever went.) Twas a big storm that did it. Your home is so gorgeous, I loved seeing all your pics! xo ~Lili

  46. Last year we made the decision to cut down the huge old magnolia tree in our front yard. It took us two years to make the decision and when the tree cutter man came out to give us an estimate he said to me, "m'am, it's positively unAmerican to cut down a magnolia tree". But it had to come down. It had been planted in the wrong place to start with and now it had overtaken the entire front yard. It made a big mess and the roots were messing up the sidewalk and getting too close to the foundation. I couldn't be there when they cut that tree down. My husband sent me phone pictures as the work progressed and I cried and cried. I know how you felt when your old tree came down. :)

  47. I love Heaven's Walk. You live in the most amazing home. So so pretty! I'm gonna email you - I'm back in the blogging mode...I've been so busy with work. I've missed everyone. Looking forward to catching up. XOXO

  48. Hi! I'm new to your blog. So happy I came across it. I love your home! It's like a dream, so lovely. I hope to one day live in a house like that. Looking forward to going through more of your blog. Have a great day!


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