Thursday, March 24, 2011

Out of Decay Springs Life

In front of my home there is a gigantic cottonwood tree. It towers over the house and has a really great creepy aesthetic to it, the way the bark hangs off in tendrils sometimes and the gray coloring of the very textured bark. When we bought the house around this time last year, I think we both were a bit entranced by their beauty, the slightly dark and melancholy beauty they added to an otherwise pastoral landscape. And then the temperatures warmed up and the seeds started to rain down on our yard, like an invasion of cotton fluff. It looked alike summer snow, only fluffier, the way it blanketed the grass. Adorable, but a royal pain to clean up.
Now that the snow has thawed and the ground has begun to absorb some of the associated moisture, I've got to spend more time with the trees in our yard, walking the woods at the rear of our lot with my daughter, and exploring a bit. There's a lot to do around here when the weather warms up, so I sure am glad I bought an extra week of vacation at work. I'm really going to need it.
As I was surveying the yard on one of my rare days off with little to catch up on, I kicked what I thought was a large piece of bark that had fallen in my front yard. But when it flipped over, I realized it was the top of one of the roots of the very large cottonwood tree in the front yard. And what was underneath what flipped over, can best be described as a pill bug paradise. It was so rotted and moist I am quite surprised the tree has made it this long. In the backyard just inside the fence where River plays, I noticed a huge chunk of bark had come off during the winter. That too looks like it has entered a stage of decay I don't think we'll be able to coax it back from.
Normally my DIY attitude wouldn't let me rely on something like a tree service to get a job like this done. I'd consider it sweat equity and grab a chain saw or ax and some tiger balm for afterward. These two giants tower over my HOUSE though, so it's an expensive investment I'm going to have to make. At any rate, it costs less than my insurance deductible, so with that and the inconvenience we'd endure if we had so stay elsewhere, I'd say it's a justifiable expense. Thankfully, the electric bills are starting to go down and so will the food bills once we can get in the garden. It will work out, but I still get nervous every time I have to write a check for more than my mortgage. It's not my idea of a good time.
Maybe this is our opportunity to begin the facelift of the the SemiFarm, starting with how the place looks as you drive up. It'd be a great place for a dwarf cherry tree! Maybe the death of these trees will bring life to new possibilities, new plants that can call this little bit of earth home. I'm excited and sad all at the same time.
This weekend will (hopefully) bring some work on a cold frame out of a repurposed shower door and a seed order. We're gearing up for May folks, eagerly anticipating a long vacation and some new beginnings. I think we'll have a bumper crop of newness this year.

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