Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trees and Tremors

We have now lived in our quaint little cottage for four years. Part of the charm of an older home and older neighborhood are the shady trees and well-worn pavement and sidewalks you encounter each day. It shows history, stories, and I love it all. However, the result of two very mature silver maples and a sweet gum tree is our sidewalk that buckles at a 45 degree angle at one spot and then in the next section the opposite 45 degree angle. Those angles are ever increasing, despite hopes that we would somehow negotiate with mother nature. The driveway is also a complete loss, crumbled and cracked. When Philip drives up I hear the familiar and rather rhythmical "thud, thump, kerplunck-chunk" sound as his tires cause various cracked pieces to move up and down as he pulls in to a stop. If the sidewalk is a loss and the driveway is a loss, we wondered how our crawlspace foundation was faring? Probably not too well and if so, probably not for long. Then there is the issue of dozens of huge surface roots that make it impossible for grass to grow, little feet to pitter patter, and lawnmowers to navigate. The drought two years ago only exacerbated the problems.

Our decision was to remove the trees in order to plant more appropriate size and type trees for the area. In total, we removed three trees from the front yard and a half-dead poplar from the backyard. We plan to replace them with trees more suited to smaller yards such as a red bud and a dogwood. After using our tax return to have four trees chopped and a total of five stumps ground, we were done right? WRONG.

What was left in the yard for us to do was the removal of the surface roots. Surface is the key word here. Both Philip and I are sore from head to toe from swinging the ax, digging with shovels, and pulling with our hands big and small roots from the yard so that we can level the yard and once again, have grass. Have you seen the movie Tremors? It looks like those underground man-eating worms had there way with us after quite a struggle. The picture below shows just how many roots we have pulled from the ground so far. By my estimation, we are at the halfway point.
On the flip side, Philip and I are both getting massive upper-body workouts, something I desperately need. I want Michelle Obama's arms and while she may have a personal trainer and $100+ workout ensembles, I have my tree roots and Kappa Delta sorority shirts from the early 90's. Who's the cool mom now? On second thought, don't answer that.

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