Ah, what a difference it made to my mood having tree debris from the recent ice storm cleaned up from our rural south Salem yard.
We'd done a lot of picking up small branches ourselves. And I'd been able to cut some larger limbs with my small 16-inch chainsaw.
But there was no way I could handle the big limbs from a giant oak that fell on our lawn. That required a bigger chainsaw and younger muscles than I possess.
That was disturbing, in part because one of the branches had landed on one of our favorite trees, a large Japanese Maple with purple leaves, leaving only a jagged remnant of the trunk.
Every time I looked in that direction, I'd think of the tree that no longer was there -- how beautiful it was for so many years, and how long it will take for a replacement tree to reach the size it was.
Thus it lifted my spirits today when Noberto Flores and his crew came out with a wood chipper and chain saws to deal with our branch mess.
We've had Noberto do a lot of work on our property: pruning, dead tree cutting, walkway renovation, putting pavers and a retaining wall in our dog yard, removing brush around our house for wildfire purposes.
But I don't think I've ever been as happy to see Noberto as I was this morning. He did most of the chainsaw work himself, while his guys hauled stuff up to an area near the chipper.
Here's photos of what their hard work produced.
I neglected to take "before" photos. So just envision lots of downed trees and branches and you'll have a sense of what we've been looking at since the ice storm.
Or imagine these piles at the turnaround area of our driveway scattered across the
"after" photos above.
Noberto even was able to get what's called a widowmaker branch down from one of the two large fir trees that overlook our house.
I have no desire to make my wife into a widow, given what that would mean for my remaining life span (zero), so every time I walked under that branch I wondered if I'd hear a crack before it fell.
Noberto threw a line over the top of the branch, then was able to pull on it until it hit the ground. Not on my head, or anyone else's head, an excellent outcome.
After he'd cleared our top priority area, Noberto and his crew turned to the many oak trees that surround our house, looking for broken branches.
They found a lot today, so the chipping is going to have to wait for their next visit, maybe tomorrow.
Here's Noberto working in a tree near our well enclosure.
I don't like to stand on the top of a tall ladder, especially when it is against a tree. However, Noberto has been doing this work for many years, so he's confident in what he's doing, while I'm not.
During his lunch break I thanked Noberto for making our yard look more or less normal again. I told him that even though we have many trees on our natural ten acres, thousands, I'm sure, it hurts to lose a tree that you love.
He agreed, noting that in the city people may have just one or two large trees on their lot. If one of them was lost in the ice storm, that's a big emotional hit -- way bigger than we've endured, given that we're surrounded by trees in all directions.
Seeing a fallen tree laying in your yard for days on end is sort of like having a dead body in your living room. You want to start forgetting about the death, but that's tough to do when the deceased is so visible.
So many thanks to all of the tree crews, both private companies and public workers, who have been working so hard since the ice storm to restore some normalcy to our hard-hit area of the Willamette Valley.
You're deeply appreciated.