But I’m here to tell you: when you are getting ready for bed and you hear the most god-awful cracking and crashing noises, the kind that make your blood run cold, the answer is a resounding,
Ironically, everyone in the neighbourhood heard the noise and knew that a tree had come down. Everyone except the householder, our neighbour South. He heard it, but figured it was a car crash. Poked his head out the front door to see what he could see, shrugged, and returned to his TV. At daylight, I went out to investigate and sure enough, an 80-foot oak gave way and took out his garden sheds. It made a hell of a mess.
We decided to check our own property for potential collapses. Reiner secured a basswood on the fence line and noted a few walnut trees that he wanted to take out, not for safety reasons but because they make such a nasty mess that encroach on South’s gardens. Besides the leaf and nut litter, gardeners find walnut trees particularly difficult to live with because the roots emit the toxin juglone.
Reiner plans to cut down one of the walnut trees today. He is out there now, rounding up his gear. I’m here typing away in order to displace my anxiety.
I hear the clang of the ladder.
We in this household are not cool about ladders. Not cool at all. That tree on the fence line? I helped hold the ladder while he worked. He was shaking so badly, the ladder trembled the entire time.
You see, Reiner learned the hard way about ladder safety.
Two summers ago, after a late afternoon rain shower, he noticed the overflowing eaves-troughs. He hauled out the ladder and in no time scrambled up with the garden hose to flush out the plug of litter.
I was inside, chatting with a friend on the telephone. Then I heard a metallic scraping noise and a tremendous crash, followed by Reiner screaming my name.
I told my friend, “Gotta go!”
And go I did. Adrenaline kept me focused and steady.
I rushed him to the hospital. He was so badly injured that even the normally composed and business-like nursing staff were taken aback. He was admitted immediately. They stitched up the gashes on his face and his knee. They reset the dislocated elbow. After a set of x-rays, they announced that he had two broken ribs.
If he were a heavier man, he might have been killed. He was very lucky. Stupid, he admits, and very, very lucky.
Removing our tree this weekend should be pretty straightforward stuff if you are calm and cool about all things related to the lumberjack trade. Things like chainsaws and ropes and tackle. If ladders are involved, then so am I. Reiner is good with that. If he’s good, I’m good.
More or less.
OK, a lot less.
I will hold my breath until the deed is done and body count = 0.
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Photo Credit http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/bergsieker/Interesting