Friday, August 23, 2013

Suddenly, The Front Yard Is Bare

     When I left for work yesterday, there was still (most) of a dead tree standing in the front yard, plus the stump that's been there for three years, along with a large stump-grinder, a gas-powered knuckle-boom on treads (and with huge, pneumatically-driven feet on articulated legs) and 80 percent of the yard was covered in tarps.   And a large truck and flatbed trailer were parked on the street.

     When I returned home last night, there was...nearly nothing.  One neat pile of chips where the stump was.  A few more chips mixed with soil where the poor dead tree once stood.

     What make this all the more amazing is how things went the previous evening: Jim, the arborist, had started staging his equipment about two hours before sunset and it went more quickly than he had anticipated. Stump grinder, knuckle-boom, spare gas, traps tarps spread over the grass and flowers, chipper-shredder ready behind the house, all in place.  So up he went, and started limbing the dead tree.  He'd just begun sectioning the trunk when the engine of the knuckle-boom sputtered, coughed and died.  "Oh, darn!  I meant to fill it up!"

     Tam watched all this, and went inside to get me to help with the gas refill.  By the time I was outside, Jim had rigged a rope, rappelled down and was refilling the tank himself.  "I'll just switch the controls over to 'local,' and..."

     Nothing.  He'd brushed against the kill switch when he got out of the bucket. The knuckle-boom has electric backup, so he asked me to run an extension cord.  "Okay," I said, "But is it an 'engine kill' switch or a 'safety' switch?"

     He wasn't sure.

     We ran the cords and....  Nothing.  Yes, it was a safety switch.  

     "No problem," said Jim, "It's pretty dark and I have plenty of cleaning-up to do; I'll just clear away the dropped branches and be back in the morning."

     It sounded like a good idea to me.  I went inside and did some housework before readying for bed.  The sun was well down by then and the last thing I did before heading back to put on my nightgown was to shut off the living room lights.  I proceeded bedroomwards but was stopped by a quiet tapping at the front door.

     It was Jim, sporting a sheepish grin and asking, "May I make a call?"

     I brought out a telephone (and a bottle of water, because he looked pretty dry), and he thanked me, chuckling.  I gave him a quizzical look.

     "I've got to laugh," he said.  "I got in my truck to leave and when I pulled out, it didn't feel right.  Sure enough, the left front tire was flat.  So I reached for my celphone to call home and--"  He pointed upward, "I left it in the bucket.  So I've got to laugh."

     He made his call ("Wife, you're not gonna believe this...."), handed back the phone and we parted company for the night, leaving power equipment, tarps, rappelling rope and a few tree limbs in the front yard.

     Thus the idyllic, empty peace of the next evening's view of the front yard was even more a contrast than you might've thunk.


Ian Argent said...

Been there, done that (figuratively, anyway). Next time, I'd label the gas tank "Horseshoe Nail."

Jim said...

I call no man a man until he has taken out a few oak stumps with a grinder.

rickn8or said...

Odd contrast here. Your guy leaves umpity-thousands of dollars of equipment lying out.

I live out in the country and this spring I had a man take down three trees. (Two of mine, one of the neighbor's.) Every night, the guy would spend 30-45 minutes putting away and locking up his stuff in the boom truck he left at my house overnight. It's a quiet area, low/no crime and nobody comes or goes at night without approval of the neighbor's dogs.

Almost like he wanted to make a fast getaway or something...

Bubblehead Les. said...

Having been through that recently, just be prepared for trying to grow grass where the Tree used to be. It just doesn't want to grow. Weeds, however LOVE those old tree roots and wood chips. Good Luck!

Dave in Indiana said...

Why the traps over the grass and flowers? It's not even trapping season.

Roberta X said...

Ha! You want the flowers and grass running wild, rampant, even, terrorizing the possums an' raccoons an' tree-rats and itty-bitty widdle baby bunnies? Tsk. Got no heart, you.

Nope, gotta trap 'em.

Or maybe tarp.

Roberta X said...

Rickn8or: He's a trusting guy, mostly. He does take the keys, and it'd take a mighty patient and stealthy guy to steal walk-beside, 1.5 mph-max equipment with loud engines in the middle of the night

Dave H said...

...from a home known to be armed.

Home on the Range said...

It's going to be odd not seeing it out there, but I bet Huck is enjoying the view from the front window.

Jeffro said...

Sure sounds like Jim is on a very even keel, and a good guy to do your tree work.

rickn8or said...

Roberta, Dave H. You've got points there; but I try not to tell people I have gunz in the house. Or on me. Or in my vee-hickles.

Let it surprise the appropriate people at the proper time...