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Monday, July 2, 2012

A Hard Storm Hits Hamlet Drive



Last Friday night we were enjoying time with our daughter and family in Rochester, New York, unaware until the next day that an unusually violent storm had struck our Valley. Wind gusts of up to 75 mph blew over trees and knocked out power lines everywhere, accompanied by spectacular lightning fireworks and some tornado type twisters.

Returning home Sunday evening, we didn’t know what to expect, but as we neared Harrisonburg we saw only isolated tree branches down here and there and everything appeared pretty normal. Then as we turned into Hamlet and to the third house on the right, ours, we saw that the 60-year old white pine tree in our back yard was down.

The tree was slowly dying anyway, and I had been thinking about hiring a tree removal service to fell it, which would have cost us a bundle. Had it been leaning away from the house, I would have planned to do this with my own trusted Stihl chain saw, but it was definitely leaning the wrong way, and the 55 foot tree was only about 45 feet from our bedroom, so I questioned whether I’d be able to get it to land where I wanted it to.

As it turned out the strong wind kind of did me a favor--on the eve of my 73rd birthday, no less, and all for free. Only our clothesline suffered some minor damage.

Another blessing was the fact that a nice red oak had been growing right at the base of the white pine as if just waiting to replace it (see it on the left of the photo). My other worry, by the way, had been about how to fell the pine without risking damage to the new oak sapling. Well, the wind storm nicely took care of that as well, a win-win all around.

We will miss this stately old tree, of course, but when you’re 73, you want to count every blessing that comes along, even if it comes with a price, like having some of our sweet corn flattened and most of this summer’s apples and pears prematurely “harvested" and lying all over our back yard.
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