Tuesday, 31 May 2011


One of the hard decisions in building, once you've decided where you want to put the place, is what you will have to change, to make it work. Some changes are easy: Mom isn't up to gardening any more, and I don't have the time for it, so removing the vegetable garden made perfect sense even if we weren't building right there!
You can still see the outline of the garden, but a lot of stuff has been cleared away.

Taking out the boathouse....well, Iain has cleaved his skull on the small doorway my Dad built (and I don't know why he built it so low, as he was about Iain's height, but I'm guessing it had something to do with the length of the boards he had available) so very often that he is glad to see it go. I am ambivalent about losing it, but it looks like it will end up on my sister's property, reincarnated as a shed, so it won't really be lost.
The "skull-cleavingly low door" as Iain calls it.
What has been very hard for me is the decision to remove two large trees. The red pine isn't a huge loss for me - it's never been one of my favourite trees, and for several years has dangled dead branches in a most menacing manner. However, it is a mature tree, and that's always a loss. The one that bothers me is the ancient cedar.
This cedar has stood here as long as I can remember. It shows up in many picture from my youth, and I have a lot of memories with it. Sitting beneath it, hanging chimes in it year after year, planting a little garden beneath it...
Years ago - thirty, probably - a pileated woodpecker took an interest in the tree, and made a number of serious holes in it. We thought, "That's it, the tree's gonna die." But I'd been reading a bit about tree patching and pruning, and took some large wooden stakes my mom had, pounded them into the holes to fill them, and cut them off fairly even with the bark. They're still there, as you can see in this picture.

Now, though, her time has come. She's sparse on top and, like all Eastern Cedars, hollow in the middle. If we wanted to keep her, we'd have to limb up the side next to the new cottage, and she wouldn't look the same. So we are taking her down. Next winter, she'll warm the new cottage as kindling for our fires.

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