When It Rains …

… it pours, or so the old expression goes.  I've come to think that it's not nearly strong enough.  It should be: "When it rains, you get a category 5 hurricane", or at least it seems to me of late.  The tree was cut up and all the debris was removed.  Examining the stump showed that about half the diameter inside had been thoroughly chewed up, leaving hollow galleries in place of solid wood.  A tree surgeon examined it and said that carpenter ants were the culprits.  From outside, there was no clue that it was compromised; from inside, it was an accident waiting to happen, and it did.  Just about the only good news is that it looks like most of the roses survived their encounter with the falling goliath.

I met with the landscaper and he's working up an estimate.  The entire side yard foundation bed will be redone with a new border, new plantings, etc.  The second arborvitae at the back yard side of the bed was also damaged by this horrid winter and will have to go as well.  Once the work is done, things should look much better.  The only thing that will be saved is my peony.  At the front yard, the area between the cherry tree and the mock orange will become part of the planting beds as after seventeen years of trying in vain to get grass to grow there, I give up.  Once the cherry tree leafs out, the grass is in total shade and is doomed.  This will make for a much more pleasing appearance.  The entire lawn will be slit seeded as it looks more ratty after this winter than at any time since I had the house built.

On the old expression not being strong enough, I mentioned the tree surgeon up above.  I had him here to look at the forty foot tall spruce tree in the front yard.  Having seen the internal damage to the fallen spruce trunk, I wanted to take no chances.  The fact that after the winter storms, the tree is now leaning toward the house didn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling at all since, with a good nor'easter, if it was minded to topple, it would come crashing right into the house.  The fact that the tree shifted during the storms (it used to stand straight as an arrow, pointing toward the heavens) was more than enough to seal its fate with the tree surgeon; once they've shifted, they can't be saved and he's coming next week to take it down.  No more trees — that area will just become part of the front lawn, changing the appearance of the house forever.  I'm going to miss that old tree, but it is a clear and present danger to the house.

Not convinced yet?  Ever since the tree fell and I was running around in the teeth of the blizzard, what with having to clear away so much snow and all, my knees have been aching and I've had a pretty nasty pain in my hip.  It finally got to be too much even for me and I visited the orthopaedist.  The good news is that I don't have arthritis or any evident damage to the bones.  The bad news is that I probably have a torn meniscus in my left knee and either bursitis or tendinitis around my left hip.  I start physical therapy this week to see if that can help.  Well, they call it physical therapy but after my experience with it after getting my shoulder fixed a few years ago, I think they should really call it legalized torture.

To add insult to injury, I'll have to let the landscaper's crew do most of the pruning this year, including my roses, since I'm pretty much unable to do it now.  That's really frustrating as it's something that I have always enjoyed doing.  This winter has been really tough on the house, on the garden, and on me.  See what I mean about the old expression not being strong enough!

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