It’s down. All of it. Well, almost all of it.
No more giant symbol of machismo, but a heck of a lot of logs. And the guys did a fantastically neat job, too. All stacked and ready to be moved once the old log pile had been finally cleared.
And the chipping mountain. Let’s not forget the enormous chipping mountain, now transferred into four rubble sacks, and with a pile still remaining.
Felling the tree meant that we learned more about it, of course. I knew some things about Western Red Cedars in general: that they can be 60 metres tall in Oregon, Washington and British Colombia where they are native; that the wood makes great garden furniture or roof shingles; that Alaskan Haida Indians wove fibres from the bark into all sorts of things, from baskets to hats, and made arrows from the stems and fishhooks from the tough knots; that other North-Western Native American tribes would use the trunks for huge canoes and totem poles.
(A bit of carving of that trunk, and I could have created a little piece of north-western Canada in north-western Wales. Hmm.)
About this specific tree, I learned that the smell of pineapple from felling it carried a long way and was making people sniff the air in the village, trying to fathom out where the unusual aromatic scent came from.
I learned that it was probably about 90 years old, though it got a bit difficult to tell exactly as the tree rings neared the centre.
But Mr Tree Surgeon Man was intrigued too, by something else.
He’d heard of it, but – possibly surprisingly – he’d not encountered any evidence before. Someone had tried to kill the tree in the past – probably when it was about 20 years old – with copper nails.
Obviously it hadn’t worked.
I’d not come across this before, so I googled ‘killing a tree with copper nails’ – and there’s a whole world of people out there trying to be nasty to their neighbours on the quiet. It was the online equivalent of lifting a stone and finding all sorts of strange things going on underneath, wriggling around in the semi-dark. It’s only fair to add that there’s also a rational world out there responding to the copper-nail-weilding would-be tree poisoners, saying things like ‘It’s a myth and it won’t work unless the tree is already sick’, and ‘Are you really sure you should be posting this in a public forum?’
Away from the world of the strange and furtive kingdom of the neighbour-nadgers, I’m intrigued by the bark
and the changing colour of the exposed wood, which is steadily becoming more and more orange-pink in tone.
I’ve been doing a bit of natural dyeing – dyeing wool with natural substances like eucalyptus and indigo – and I’m wondering if I can extract any colour from that bark. I must investigate. Oh, and work. I mustn’t forget about work.
But I can contemplate the necessity for work from what the guys left for me:
A throne, complete with footstool (and copper stain).
I’m not quite sure what this says about how they see me, but I do have a feeling that the chainsaw will be out again soon – even though it’s a nice riposte to the aggressively masculine trunk when I sit upon it and survey my realm. I do get a great view from my Seat of Power:
though I do have to peel resin off my jeans afterwards. This – the view, not my resin-stained jeans – was always visible, actually; just not particularly noticeable because the garden was dominated by the tree so much. And I’m not feeling particularly guilty, and I don’t think I’ll be hunted down by vengeful ents or the Fair Folk, because I’ve been doing a head count and I’ve got more trees than I found here when I moved in ten years ago now (eek).
Let’s see: 3 ashes, 3 apples, 2 pears, 3 birches, 1 WRC, 1 cherry (OK, it’s ill), 1 ginkgo, 1 crinodendron (quite small – at the moment), 1 acer, 2 damsons, 1 plum. Oh, and the Portugal laurel and the amelanchier you can hardly see because of the Portugal laurel. And the magnolia. And a bay. Two bays, but one’s still in a pot. And a rowan, that’s quite big. Oops, forgot the holly because I cut it to the ground every so often, and it’s cut at the moment. Does a holly count?
In fact, I think I need to join Treeaholics Anonymous. It’s a big garden, but…