Yesterday morning our view to the west looked like this:
See that big View-Choking Tree there? It's a chestnut. A tree that is meant to spread its glorious canopy over a vast expanse of field. The previous owners of this house planted this tree themselves, a long time ago. So long ago that they didn't stop to think that it might be just a leeetle bit too close to the house. To the drains. To the concrete sidewalk going around the
back of the house. Needless to say, there isn't much canopying going on with this tree in this position.
So, it's been trimmed a few times since we moved in, once by a team of Wild & Crazy Tree Trimming Guys and once or twice by Richard the Man Who Can Climb Anything. And each time it grows back faster and more vigorous than before. Eventually it will have to entirely disappear, because it is now in all the drains of every house within a 50 mile radius
On Sunday Richard came back from a conference. He'd been away for five days. And right after breakfast the first thing he said was "That tree needs trimming."
I think I might have gulped. I don't like watching him climb that high, especially as he usually has a chainsaw or a large hand saw slung over his shoulder. I know this is one of your typical Manly Images but it gives me the willies. Images of wheelchairs and life insurance policies run through my head.
See, there he is. High up in that tree.
And here is that same western view after Richard the Man Who Can Climb Anything did his thing. It's hard to describe just how much more we see from that side of the house. It's a big sky view. A really big sky view. We might even see the moon set now.
Right after he'd come down from the tree and we were cutting it up into firewood, I asked him if we could make an arbour from the longer poles. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but I am rather challenged in the Building Things From Wood department. I suffer much ridicule for this within my family, because even though I am terrible at building things, I still persist, in the hopes that one day I might get good at it. My Hopeful Evidence is all over the place, still causing much glee after a couple of years. Richard, who had just spent the past 3.5 hours climbing, sawing, felling, cutting, and splitting, looked at me from under a brow drenched with sweat.
"Arbour? Now? How about next Saturday?" he managed to blurt out, much more nicely than would have. He didn't even give me an Are You Nuts I Nearly Killed Myself Up There And Now You Want Me To Build You A $#@**$&@&$ Arbour? look, which I know I would have if I'd been in his place.
I did something then, something so unusual that I apparently stunned all present: I smiled reasonably and said "Sounds great." I thought I was doing a particularly stellar version of my patented Jane Austen Heroine routine but Richard obviously thought I'd been hit by a stray branch, because he peered at me closely a few times before returning to his stacking and splitting. Then he went over to the long lengths of chestnut and said "Okay, sure, why not. Let's do it now while the wood is still wet and bendy."
And so we did. It's a little rickety, because we never did find any straight branches, and it almost looks like something I'd build, but it's big and strange looking and should be perfect holding up all the plants I have destined for it. It's got a Cabernet Sauvignon grape on one side, and a David Austen The Fairy climbing rose on the other.