Chris is incidental to the story, but it started with him. Chris is the new neighbor to the south of the oneacrewoods. He appeared at the door a week ago to introduce himself and, “oh by the way, you have a large dead branch hanging in your tree right by my house and I’m afraid it might fall on my roof.” I’m all for preventing things like that, especially since hurricane Irma last year. A large branch from that same tree did fall on that house and poked a hole into the attic. The previous owner and I split the repair costs.
Living in this grove of old live oak trees requires regular tree maintenance because they are always growing, limbs get heavy or diseased and weakened, they rot and fall off. Some owners prune heavily and leave only the clean canopy. We have followed the more natural path and let the trees self-prune, except the ones that could damage our buildings. You have to understand that it costs a lot of money to hire people willing to climb up in your trees with saws or bring in their machinery (cherry pickers). I’m talking thousands here.
I did check around with neighbors to see if anyone was planning to bring in an arborist, thinking we could add our little problem to his “to do” list, but nothing was scheduled. So, I told Joe, who is the main character in this story. I’ve written about him before, (here: A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter H)) but I have never explained his devotion to the DIY lifestyle. I suppose it is the reason Joe can do so many things because he just never thinks of hiring someone else for a task. If he can’t do it himself, he doesn’t have it done. It is an interesting philosophy. I’m a little bit that way myself which is why I like Joe’s work. We are a dangerous combination.
He immediately began thinking, planning how he could get the branch down. The challenge had a hold on him and we walked around the tree, looking at the height of the dead, dangling debris. There were two branches, one completely detached and caught in another that was larger and higher but still partially attached. Joe started talking options. He always says “if you want, we could…”, and even if I reject some of his options because I don’t want him to kill himself, I do want the branch down, of course I do.
All the options involved his ladder, so we went in the truck to get it.
Joe’s tools are all over the place because he doesn’t have a home of his own. He stays with one friend after another and has a large community of people who evidently like to host him. The ladder was in the yard at his present abode. It’s a large aluminum extension ladder which has spent a lot of time at our house actually, and I treat it like a friend. We put it in the back of the truck and weighted it down with a huge stump. Since it was now dark and starting to rain, Joe stayed and promised to be at the house the next morning to work on several things I had asked him to do.
I drove the ladder home and took it out. I left the stump in the bed of the truck, primarily because it weighed a ton, but also because I already had a couple of other things in the yard that we have used to weight the ladder in the past. I didn’t want to add this one to the collection. So ended Day One of the story.