Going and Coming

Before and after photos are a great way of showing the effect of changes — if you have them. Which, in this case, I don’t.

Last week the weather was wonderful, with warm days, bright blue skies and a touch of crispness in the air. This week, the sky is grey and the temperatures are hovering around 6C (in fahrenheit, that means cold!). A big storm with high winds accounts for the dramatic change, in the temperature and in the view from our house to the garage.

Here is the only photo I can find that shows the ‘before’ view, and it doesn’t show it very well. But notice the edge of a large maple tree at the far right edge of this photo which I took in January this year.

We had lots of snow this year.
Too much for me.

Or take a look at the photo below that shows the maple from another point of view. You can see how big it is, how tall, how many branches have been cut to keep it in alive and in reasonably good shape.

Reasonably good shape for an oldster, that is. We estimate that the maple is 100 years old, or more. The bracket fungi growing on the trunk told us that the heartwood was damaged. We considered taking it down, but the tree had such a strong presence and provided so much shade on hot summer days that we let it be. Or, to be more accurate, we postponed making a decision.

The fungi and the stubs of limbs tell you that this tree is not healthy.

Weather made the decision for us. Here’s the view I woke up to, one day last week.

Wind coming from the lake blew the tree uphill, towards the driveway.
Thank goodness. The crash was softened by the leafy branches.
But it was still thunderous.

What this photo doesn’t show are the broken branches on the driveway, at the top of the slope. We were extremely fortunate. The tree fell uphill rather than down, straight rather than sideways. So no damage was done to the house or the garage. Even the Chinese pot escaped untouched.

We are left with a harmless tree trunk that shouldn’t damage anything now, even if it falls. Which seems unlikely, looking at the area covered by the base of the tree.

A stub of a tree. What can I do with it?
Cut it down? Leave it? Paint it purple or gold?

From the house, looking towards the garage, the building you see in the photo below, the shape of the tree is quite interesting, even if it isn’t straight. To my eyes it looks like an exclamation mark, or like a broken pencil that needs to be sharpened.

Without the tree trunk, the hillside will be much more open. Too open? Maybe not.
The mock orange shrubs against the garage wall should bloom much better with more sunlight. 

I’m considering what to do with the tree trunk. Shall I cut it to the ground, dig out the roots and plant something else, or simply leave the trunk there?  

What do you think? Advice, please. Or, if not advice, opinions!

On a happier note, while the tree has gone, the hosta eaten by the deer earlier this summer are coming back, growing again as if it is spring instead of autumn.

Sum and Substance: a great hosta, never favoured by the deer before this summer.
A spray from Canadian Tire worked wonders, even if it did smell disgusting.

You can’t hold a good plant down.