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Wrapping Up the Week

4 Oct

I just have a few pictures for you.  It’s been a long week with parent-teacher conferences, rainy weather, and everything on the farm, while I’m still nursing the toe injury.  I’m hoping to give up the special shoe this weekend.

Astra

Sky

harvest spider

Betty

Mama Phoenix

Sunset over the barnyard

I hope you have a good weekend!

Finishing the Job

21 Sep

To continue the story of my trees and the electric company, I probably should remind you that the crew left my trees mutilated after I came home and was hysterically sobbing.  I also made a phone call that was hysterical to complain about the abuse.  I was more rational, so I sent a text with the link to my blog post and suggested he read that (it has pictures) before replying.  I did receive a text saying he would pass it on to someone who would reach out to me.  Imagine my surprise when I got home and found another little note from the arborist saying they’d be back to finish the job.  Call with questions.  Can you guess how that phone call went?  Lots more yelling and swearing.  He did say that he had been told I was rather “sentimental” about the trees.   It ended with the arborist coming back to my farm to discuss my concerns.  You know, I was angry and I hated all those people, but the second he got out of the truck and I saw him, I knew I couldn’t hate him.  I tried.  And I yelled. And I swore.  And he just took it all while defending the massacre of my trees.  I started hyperventilating because I knew there was nothing I could say to convince him that I was not exaggerating.

There was no reason for everything that they had done.  He even agreed the tree that they quit working on when I came home was fine, so I shared that the contractor had told me he was going to remove all of skirt to the bottom.  I had argued with him, telling him that he should only take what was necessary.  Finally, the arborist made a comment about not being able to see how they looked before; if only there was a picture.  Well, I whipped out my phone and showed him the picture from the blog post.

I think he finally figured out that I was not complaining without reason.  Again, there has to be a balance between the need to keep the electric lines clear and treating the trees and me with respect.  It should not be such an anxiety producing, fearful thing.  He agreed.  He also shared that most of them liked trees and that’s why they did the work.  It was obvious he cared about trees (which is probably why I couldn’t hate him).  He also said he would not allow anyone in to do work without him there.  He would personally direct the trimming, and he would have them even take care of the big limb that fell from a heavy snow a couple of years ago.  They would cover the wounds to protect them from insects (I learned that their sap is generally enough to seal and protect them from disease).  He was also going to have them clean up all the stuff that I had told them they could leave for the goats that was piled so deep the goats couldn’t even eat it.  They would also finish removing the bird poop mulberry and all the other little mulberries in the fencerow.

They came to finish trimming them on the day I stayed home and went to the doctor for my foot.  It was quite a day.

It’s still too much for my liking, but this was reasonable.  Hopefully, they will be safe for years now.  And here’s my PSA. If you have the electric company call saying they are coming to trim the trees, take pictures before they come.  Let the contractor know that you have pictures and will be contacting the electric company if they take off more than is necessary.

Mutilated

1 Sep

My pine trees on the north edge of my acreage are the sentinals of the farm.  They were likely planted to mark the border about the time the house was built, so they are about one hundred twenty years old.  I live in abject fear of the electric company.  When I bought my acreage, it said right in the deed that I have to allow the electric company access to trim the trees to protect the electric lines.  Well, for the first ten or twelve years, nothing ever happened. Then I got notice that they needed trimmed.  I was all nervous.  The guy came, and I begged him to take as little as possible, and it was no big deal.

Eagles in the pine trees (2010)

I think it was only two years later (and they are supposed to be checked/done every three years, I had someone want to come in.  I said it wasn’t a good time because we were in the midst of the worst drought since the dust bowl and they were already fighting a rusty mildew that killed many conifers around the state that year.  He got huffy and was rude and suggested that whoever had done it before was negligent letting them get so tall and they should be topped.  After much arguing he said he’d have to talk to his supervisor.  I never heard anything back.

Then I found the little notice on my gate and I called like it requested, but nobody answered.  Since I called back, I figured they had my number, so I didn’t worry about it.  Nothing.  This summer they showed up, and I panicked.  I was still thinking of the jerk who was threatening to top my trees.  Then they left, and there was no knock on the door or note on the gate.  Several days later, they were back again.  I avoided home (I had been getting goat feed), and eventually they left.  I couldn’t handle them face-to-face, but I did call.  I explained my anxiety and fear.  He said that they were not doing anything drastic, but they had to cut them back to keep the lines safe.  I am not unreasonable.  I have no problems with that.  I was even okay with them completely removing the scrub mulberry that got too big for me to remove before I noticed it.  Again, I’m not unreasonable.

It took everything I had to be civil, especially when he laughed that my trees are sacred to me.  But even with expressing my concerns and anxiety, he decided to ask me about llamas.  It seems that it is not uncommon for their workers to be attacked by llamas (I love llamas).  I even answered his questions of how to tell when a llama might attack.

Then I got the call that they were coming.  This guy was not reasonable.  I told him I wasn’t really okay with this but I knew it had to be done.  I couldn’t do anything about it.  He was a jerk.  I finally got him to say he would leave as much as he could.  I still was not feeling good about it, but I went to work.  When I came home, they were still there, but I couldn’t see much.  I had to do chores, so I got feed for my girls up north.  By the time I was climbing the gate, tears were rolling down my cheeks.  By the time I had emptied the food into their pans, I was sobbing.  I made it back over the gate, but then I just sank to the ground in uncontrollable sobs.  Eventually, I made it to the soap room for tissues and more uncontrolled sobs before I could go back out to try to keep doing chores.

Apparantly a woman on her knees hysterically sobbing is their cue that they’ve done enough damage for one day because they were gone.  I couldn’t go up there.  I couldn’t go see the actual extent of damage.  I woke up several times in the night with my trees on my mind the moment I woke up.  Even the next night after work, I was back to sobbing when I went out to do chores, and I still couldn’t go see.  I couldn’t sleep that night.  I had to get up and read for a while because I just couldn’t stop crying.

What I could see from doing chores

Finally, on Saturday, I went for a closer look.  They brutally mutilated my trees.  You can see there is still some on the bottom of the tree on the right.  That’s where I came home and they just left.

The tree on the left is the scrub mulberry. They didn’t take it down.  They just mutilated it.  You can’t even tell it’s a living tree.

For perspective (because I’m not being melodramatic about the unnecessary damage), they put a red ribbon on the trees that they deemed needed to be trimmed.

My first two trees (on the right) were not marked.  They were determined to be adequately away from the lines for the next three years.

This is all the clearance they needed.  That is all the farther back the other trees had to be trimmed to be considered safe for the next three years.

I believe they first guy told me that they needed at least five feet.   It is absolutely ridiculous that they completely removed the limbs all the way back to the trunk, including limbs that didn’t even go towards the power lines.

After seeing the extent of the damage, I was back to uncontrolled sobbing.  That morning, I had run across the note they had left on my gate, so I called the first guy–the one who said they were just going to trim it.  It was Saturday on a Labor Day weekend, so nobody answered (work phone).  He will have an unpleasant message Tuesday morning though with sobbing and yelling and swearing.  The basic message was he lied, they mutilated my trees, and my trees are left with gaping wounds exposing them to disease and insects, and they better stay away from my trees.

I finally called a local guy with a boom truck, and he said he would come and put wound seal on them.  We covered as many as we could reach, but there’s still several open ones.  Sadly, I’m afraid they might still be coming back because there’s a lot of scrub in the fencerow that they haven’t cleared yet, and one tree looks like they hadn’t even touched it.  I’m going to have to call the guy who did this to my trees and tell him he is not to come back.  I’ll have to deal with this, but that crew better not come back after what they did to my trees.

I might have to put a donate button on the blog to help cover the costs of my bail money.