When a tree splits

I was in the studio working early yesterday morning when Heather alerted me to the fact that the squirrel was back.  I've slowly been building up a relationship with this new critter for the past several days, placing nuts on various fence posts for him to find. 

I placed a few on the post right next to the back gate, then looked to my left.  That's when I saw the big gnawing crack in the middle of the trunk of the massive Manitoba maple that dominates our yard.

"You need to see this," I said to Heather.

She came over to have a look.  In an instant, we both knew we were looking at a looming disaster.  If a windstorm came along, the half of the tree that towers over our yard could come down on the studio and house.

Heather had a business card of a company that does tree work and called them right away.  Andre from Ground Hawk Services was at our house within the hour.  After a short assessment, he and his crew began the Herculean task of safely bringing it down.  It took 10 hours.

This tree was special to our family.  It soared above the centre of our yard and provided a beautiful canopy and habitat for the birds (and the squirrel).  It also hosted the treehouse I had built for the boys when they were younger.  Seeing it being taken down, though totally necessary, was hard on our hearts.  I suspect it was equally hard on Lori, who was watching from a distance on Facebook.  Her and her family planted that tree back in the early 1970s.

We had heard great things about Andre and the team at Ground Hawk Services from one of Heather's dear friends and our awesome neighbour Peggy from across the street.  They did not disappoint.

Not only did they arrive with all the right equipment - boom truck, wood chipper, safety harnesses, multiple chain saws - they took a safety first approach in how they approached the job, how they communicated with each other, and how they took care of our property.

It's a small thing, but it made a difference to me.  As they were wrapping things up near the end of the night, they raked up all the leaves, small branches and wood chips.  They also went through with this powerful blower to get everything else out of the yard.

They will be returning today to grind out the stump and replace the section of fence that had to come down.  Heather will be going to find a tree that we can plant to repeat the process that Lori and her family did over 40 years ago.  Meanwhile, there will be a scramble for the large pieces that were saved for potential wood working projects.  This tree will likely live on in the form of some pretty amazing handcrafted furniture.

What a difference a day makes.


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