Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Did you hear an odd cracking sound??

Right next to the house we have two huge, 250-year old sugar maples. One of them, by far the larger, lost its main trunk some years ago, but the right half of the tree remained, with three 50+ foot long, very thick limbs/trunks going off at about a 30-degree angle from the main trunk. I had always marvlled at how the old trunk supported all that weight...

Well, on Friday afternoon a cold front came through with 50-mph winds, and right in the middle we noticed a huge crack start to open up in the main trunk, working down from the top. As the winds blew the entire remaining part of the tree went back and forth and we could see the crack get bigger and then smaller, bigger and then smaller. Suddenly several tons of sugar maple were hanging on by an increasingly small thread...

The tree guys took one look at it yesterday morning and shook their heads. So down it cames, before it came down on its own and took out (depending on which way it fell) the carriage house, the kitchen or the porte cochere, removing, whichever way it went, "Thora Birch", which stands directly underneath it.

It's a big, complicated job to get the tree down without smashing things underneath it, and they've been hard at it for two days now.

The episode has inspired some psuedo Haiku-

Storm winds make the big tree sway
and wave -how graceful...
What was that odd cracking sound?????

Big tree falls down and goes BOOM!
uh oh... Say Goodbye to
recently re-roofed carriage house.

Storm winds crack the giant tree-
Tree surgeon tells wife-
"Christmas in Bermuda this year!"


Mike said...

I have a bunch of big old Cottonwood trees around my house. Each one of them is capable of taking out the house if they fall.

I heard those tree cutting down guys are expensive. You have to weigh the cost of having insurance fix the carriage house roof after the tree falls on it, or paying a tree cutting down place money to come and cut the tree down. Or, does insurance cover the cost of having the tree cut down?

Colonel Colonel said...

Having a standard mature tree taken down costs about $1000 around here. This one probably cost about $2500. On the other hand, if you figure your time and aggravation, not to mention a thousand or two for the deductible, it's still better to pay to take it down than to wait for it to hit something and then let insurance pay.

And yes, as one of Life's Sad Ironies, if the tree had come down and wiped out the carriage house the insurance would pay not only for the carriage house, but for removing the downed tree as well. But taking the tree down just *before* it falls is "mantainance" and not covered.

God obviously has a warped sense of humor.

But the 2000 and 2004 elections already proved that.

Mike said...

God, Insurance companies, and politicians. Man, ain't America a great place to be?