Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where up meets down

It's high summer in the Berkshires. The heat wave of the past weeks is gone and the air is pleasant. Even when the temperature last week was over a hundred, in the valley where I work, it was it's usual 10 degrees lower as I approach home. We don't have A/C at home so this is significant so it was bearable with all the fans going.

Usually this kind of weather is reserved for late August.

Yesterday another strange storm came through. With reminders of the the tornado warnings just a couple of months ago, I found that people I work with were quite edgy when the sky grayed and the severe weather warnings were sounded. It actually hit heavier in the central Berkshires and as I needed to be in Pittsfield last night I found many major trees and limbs down.
Yesterday also marked the day that I came home to find that the roofer had finally fixed our roof that was damaged when the tree fell on it. Now I just need to have the gutter people fix their piece and we are back to where we were, except that is for the barren piece of land or hill next to our house where the stand of pines once where.

I have been tending to the "hill" and watering it daily and nurturing the small seedlings that were revealed when the trees were taken. Initially it was just total shock on the land with the harsh sun, but now, with the watering, bushes and sprouts are coming up and a few maple and aspen seedlings have potential of again shading the house, even though this may be years away.
This new chore of staking up the bushes and tending to them has booted some more important projects from the list and that seems to be the way it often is.

I am so looking forward to vacation the even of next month. Crowded out by all sorts of work commitments, I have just a little more than a week that is locked in on the calendar with a few random days on either side. We've done a few artsy things so far: a play, a few concerts and of course the new Harry Potter movie [some of us, 3 times]. The pleasure of living where we do.

Hope all who venture here are having a good summer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When the prevention is worse than the potential injury

We have lovely neighbors. We don't see them that much because the proximity to our houses and driveways doesn't promote that. But they have always been considerate and friendly when we have and have been fine neighbors.

Last month part of one of there trees came down in a major wind storm and nicked our roof. This is part of a row of pines about 30 years old that divide the property and provide some major screening and privacy but they are on their side of the boundary line. The fallen tree certainly wasn't there fault and they were responsive in checking with there insurance and even attempting to clear some of it up by themselves. In the end we contracted with someone to cleanup just what fell and left it up to the neighbor if they wanted to take the rest of the tree down. It didn't matter to us and we had the work done.

We thought it was done until we came home one day to find 2 of the trees gone and the next day all of the 5 trees on a hill next too our house were gone and the bushes and under brush damaged or destroyed in the tree felling process.

While I understand, hearing from the tree guy, that they wanted to make sure it never happened again and it was totally within their right in also making sure they didn't fall on their house, we suddenly have no shade on that part of the house and have totally lost the separation and enormous privacy that the trees provided.

This is before

Below is an "after" picture. The clear area is about 30 feet across and the top of this hill had a row of 5 thick 30 year old pines. Where there was dense shade there is harsh sun. The tree to the right is actually half of a maple tree that was cut off at 15 feet high by the fallen tree and has no branches on one entire side.

Feeling like we have been kicked in the gut by a good deed that also was not cheap. Though the trees are totally lost, I am our there staking up the remnants of bushes to reclaim some amount of what we lost and have a major job cleaning up the cutting debris and we are scrambling to figure out what would grow 15 feet quickly, which is unrealistic stating in mid summer and I have to work to prevent erosion of the hill.

So to me this is an example of the prevention being worse than the potential. The trees were basically healthy with perhaps the need for trimming to prevent them from collecting too much wind in a storm. The roof damage we incurred and taking out the damaged tree will end up costing us (or our insurance) less that a thousand. The work and cost to regain some of what we have lost will probably be well beyond that.