Our utility power came and went often during the night due to heavy snow laden tree branches coming into contact with overhead power lines. And every time the sound of the carbon monoxide detector emitting a death rattle woke me up. Then when the power returned Amethyst’s cell phone, known as “the brick” and used only as an alarm clock because the carrier doesn’t provide service here, would make noise to announce that it’s charging. So no REM sleep for us last night, oh joy.
Upon arising we found several downed branches in our front yard, and still intact branches that are normally 12 or more feet above the ground hanging three feet above the driveway. I went out through the garage to survey the scene just in time time to hear what sounded like a very large branch somewhere in the neighborhood cracking, then a big thud when it landed. While thinking how glad I was not to have been under it I listened for cries for help but didn’t hear any. Cool. I drug the biggest branch that had fallen on the street onto the lawn, and moved those that were down on the driveway so I could get the truck out to take Amethyst to work. Chainsaws were starting in the neighborhood, three of them. At 4AM. Wow. In order to avoid hitting the low hanging branches and breaking them off to fall on the truck I had to maneuver from the garage onto the lawn — the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to engage four wheel drive before even leaving the garage. We live on a slope with the biggest part of the lawn, the part where the truck had to go, uphill of the driveway. In two wheel drive the rear end would surely have slid downhill and left the truck hitting the branches I was trying to avoid breaking.
The snow hasn’t let up since it started just shy of 5PM, and we’re under a Winter Storm Warning until 6PM so we might see still more downed branches and power failures throughout the day. The radar map seems to indicate that the main part of the storm has made it over to the Front Range and is dumping snow on BoulderChristina. It seemed like today would be Chainsaw Day, but then I got to thinking less foggily.
Our big trees are Poplars, which grow rapidly but otherwise pretty much suck. They have to be kept pruned in order to keep their fragile branches from falling on cars, houses, and heads, but they’re not worth much as firewood because their energy density is too low. And, like their cousins the Aspen, they are surface feeders that reproduce mainly through clonal reproduction — putting up suckers from their shallow roots. If you don’t want a grove of the things, you have to cut the suckers off. And, of course, there’s no smooth ground anywhere near the trees because of all of those surface roots. The bigger surface roots are hell on mower blades. Our Poplars are 30 or so years old, well established, and enormous. Our entire front yard is under the canopies of the two trees, so if I were to work today on cutting the fallen wood I’d have to be under those fragile, snow laden branches. Hmm. Heavy stuff to fall from above, slippery ground under the feet, running chainsaw to fall on below. Nah. Chainsaw Day is postponed.
I could, I suppose, load the fallen branches into my truck and drive them around to the very back of the property where there are no Poplar branches overhead. I’d have to cut some of the downed wood to make it fit into the bed of the truck, but that’d be just a few minutes of exposure to the risk of falling branches. But I’ve had little sleep and none of it deep, and the ground is slick, so that idea is a no-go. My work ethic is screaming at me, but I’m putting my metaphorical fingers into my metaphorical ears and saying lalalalala, I can’t hear you. (Fuck off, Mommie Dearest!)
Chainsaw Day is postponed. Today is Nap Day!