Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Dollars and Tree$

Big ole’ storm is building up to the north. Kinda doubt it will blow down this way, even though it looks mighty threatening. The mountains just to the north of us — hills, really, but big enough to create a rain shadow — usually block incoming from that direction. Our most vigorous storms usually come in from the southeast or the southwest. Although…fortunately the most recent freshet, the one that blew down a 60-food-plus Aleppo pine, did fly in from the north. If it had come in from the south, it would have blown that tree right down on the homeowner’s house. And that would’ve been an even bigger-dollar event than it was.

Turns out that when a tree that size blows down across a city street, the city has the US Forest Service come and cut it up. But the homeowner has to pay to have the debris hauled off. Apparently they’ll pile it up on your yard, but you have to find a way to get rid of it!

And good luck with that.

Apparently, too, if your tree falls on the neighbor’s house, your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover it. The person whose house is smashed has to try to get their homeowner’s to cover it.

“And again I say…” good luck with that. Presumably if your neighbor isn’t insured — or not adequately insured to cover the damage — you’ll end up in court fighting over the damages.

devil-pod-treeI’ve been thinking for awhile that I should have the west-side devil-pod tree removed before it drops a limb (or itself) on my house or Terri’s. Even though I don’t think (right now) it poses much of a hazard — it has been thinned, and yesterday I inspected from a distance and think the wind can blow through it all right — it has got to be the single messiest, dirtiest, junkiest tree in all of God’s creation. Whatever it can dump on the house and on your roof, it dumps.

A wind from the north would, if the tree does decide to break despite being trimmed and thinned out, drop it on the fence between the side yard and the front yard. Actually, it wouldn’t even do that: it would fall on the paloverde tree and smush it. Falling due south or due north would not bring it down on either one of our houses. But if it fell to the east or the west, it would cause some serious damage.

It provides a lot of shade on the west side of the house. It’s now so tall that it shades my roof in the afternoon and Terri’s in the morning. So if I take it down, we’re both going to enjoy even more extravagant power bills than we already get…and mine was pushing $300 last month. It will take several years for another tree to grow big enough to shade that west wall, and one that won’t cause any damage if it breaks would never get big enough to shade the roof.

I’d like to replace it with a desert willow, which a lovely plant. Some of them bear pink or purple blossoms. It’s about as xeric as a tree can get — extremely drought tolerant — and it can stand winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees. The one I have in front is gorgeous.

Problem is a desert willow doesn’t get very big — certainly not tall enough to shelter the roof from the afternoon sun. It’ll get maybe 25 feet high. And it’s pretty slow growing. You can get them from landscaping nurseries that are fairly mature, but it’s quite the project to plant such a thing. Presumably would require a crane to lift it over the wall…for that matter, I can’t even imagine how they’d get it around or over the paloverde tree back there.

I don’t even want to know what any such endeavor would cost!

So… It may be best to leave bad enough alone. Get Luis back up there this fall, only this time browbeat him until he agrees to seal every cut with tree tar. (He resists…and the damned willow acacia does not heal where a limb has been cut off. Result: it drips molasses-like black sap on the the ground, not for a little while but permanently. Forever!)

* * * *

Whoa! Several hours later, and it’s really dark and threatening in the west. It’s unusual for a storm to blow in from the west…even stranger than one coming down from the north. Hm.

What do you suppose could have possessed Satan and Proserpine (the house’s previous owners) to plant something like that tree so close to the house? It’s just a few feet off the west edge of the patio, and maybe 18 or 20 feet from the house’s wall. That just seems so mind-bogglingly stupid.

Welp, they were very naive about outdoor plantings. They put two sissou trees in front, which they imagined would never get much more than 15 or 20 feet high. The pattern fits the sales methods indulged by Moon Valley Nurseries, the used-car dealers of the nursery business in this state. They high-pressure you to buy a “package” of a half-dozen trees, about four of which you don’t need. And I’m sure when they saw those two turkeys waddle in, they figured they’d found a place to dump the junk smarter buyers declined to consider.

People are dumb.

Speaking of the smarter parts of God’s creation: I’d better feed those dogs now, so they can wring themselves out in the yard before that storm gets here.

And so…away!


Author: funny

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  1. Hopefully you and the dogs and the trees made it through everything OK!

  2. A brisk wind blew through briefly — not even enough to dump much debris in the pool — and then passed. We saw nary a sprinkle! Trees: fine.

  3. Glad to hear the storms spared you…The weather hasn’t been as kind in this neck of the woods with a lot of downed trees and large limbs causing property damage. The laws here are pretty specific about trees and the damage they cause. After the recent damage I find myself looking around the “hood” and observing other “potential hazards”. It would seem they are every where! A tree leaning here…a large branch over-hanging there… But really with the weather we have had there is really no real pattern to the damage…A large branch may be snapped off and a tree not 20-30 feet away is untouched. Unless we want to “clear cut” everything we’re pretty much at “Nature’s mercy”…

    • Interesting article in the Economist frets that this stuff is the “new normal,” as it were. They, of course, are above indulging in that cliché…but effectively, that’s what they’re saying.