Down Comes the Ash Tree

Thanks to a nasty little bug spreading like the Bubonic plague, ash trees in the upper midwest are dying in droves, including the one in my backyard. The tree was healthy when I bought the house, but in the last year it became one of the many local victims of the insidious Emerald Ash borer. These invader species are spreading faster than pubic crabs at a skanky Panama City motel during spring break.

It's biological pollution. Asian carp, sea lampreys, purple loosestrife, zebra mussels, the list goes on and on. Our natural heritage, which took millenia upon millenia to develop into a balanced eco-system, is being rapidly decimated by the influx of these non-native, aggressive, malevolent species. They're quietly invading our country by way of ship bilges and cargo containers from across the globe.

It was time to get the tree guys out to do some cutting before the next windstorm blew it onto the house. This has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, up there with commercial fishing in Alaska and owning a party store in Detroit.

This guy roped up and like a squirrel, up the tree he scrambled. High places, rope systems, and chainsaws are dangerous enough individually. Combine all three and now there's no room for mistakes. Definitely not a job where you can show up after a long night of tequila shots and jager bombs.

This is one of those projects where you think, "Ya know, maybe I can do it myself. Call a couple of buddies, get a case of Budwieser, and we'll figure it out. Hell, I've used a chainsaw before." But when you watch the pros do it, you realize how seriously misguided your initial logic was. I would have taken out the garage and loped off an arm before it was all over.

I considered leaving the tree trunk and carving it into a totem pole, but a check with local township ordinances determined such display was prohibited. Since I'm not a member of the ACLU, I chose not to fight this euro-centric regulation. So it's been completely removed, and the stump and roots will be ground up in a day or two.

We'll, since we got the chainsaws a runnin', might as well trim up the white pine a bit. This 100 year old tree is the giant of the neighborhood; the bull elephant on the African savannah. I'm glad it wasn't cut it down twenty years ago to make picnic tables or a boat dock.

Sorry there hasn't been a river trip report lately, but I've been occupied with less important but necessary endeavors. Not to worry though, my blogdogs. A ride down the mighty Huron is on the planner short list.

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