I jokingly refer to myself as the tree Grim Reaper. Thing is, there is a lot of truth to the joke as I tend to keep an eye on all the fruit trees in the nearby towns and on the farms for any signs of distress. If I show up at your door the news is not good for one of your trees.
One time I spotted an Apple near our kids' school , the leaves shriveled and brown. I knocked on the door and the homeowner, in tears, explained that her husband had over-fertilized it and that it was her favorite tree. She was hoping it would come back. I knew it was a goner. With my grim reaper powers I could see the soul of the tree hovering over the yard looking confused. I said "sure, it could happen" trying to make her feel better. Strangely the husband was moving a cot into a large, new looking doghouse. Some people go all out for their pets, I thought.
There was a particular tree in Center, Colorado that I had been checking on frequently because I thought it was an Apricot, my all time favorite wood. I drove by one day last fall and sure enough it had broken down the middle of the trunk and the largest part had fallen and taken out a fence. I asked the homeowner if I could have it and he said yes. I didn't have a chain saw with me so I took what limbs I could and left. I got busy and never went back for the main part of the tree.
Last week I had a customer who wanted a lot of stuff made from Plum and I remembered it. I packed up my trusty Huskvarna and away I went. A young boy answered the door. "Is your mom or dad home" I said. "My mom is" he said nervously. "Ask her if I can have the big Plum tree in the side yard", I said. He came back and said NO, I couldn't. I frowned as he slammed the door. I left feeling dejected. I got a couple of blocks away and turned around, my jaw set. "I am not leaving without that tree", I said. I knocked on the door again and this time a woman answered, looking nervous. "I would really like that dead tree. The one that has been lying there for 6 months." I held up a crisp, new $20 bill. "No, that's alright just take it" she said and closed the door. Sweet. That bill was back in my pocket so fast it left a contrail and caused a mini sonic boom. After all I am Scottish American.
Just as I was about to make the first cut a big black ford pickup drove into the yard right in front of me and two guys jumped out. Uh Oh. They both broke into smiles and the driver said "oh it's you. I remember you from the fall". "My wife called me , she wasn't sure about you". I can just imagine that call. "Hey you better get over here. There's this strange guy with a giant chain saw. He's wearing a black robe and I don't know, I can't see his face through the hockey mask. He wants our tree". O.k. I wasn't really wearing a hockey mask. I forgot it at home. But I do have a thumpin big chainsaw.
I offered him the twenty dollars and he said no, just make him a spoon. He told me to go ahead and take down the part that was still alive as he was planning to level everything in the side yard this summer and plant grass. Relieved, I turned back to the the tree. "O.k. old fella, you've lain out here in the snow and the wind long enough. It's time to go into the light."
One of the spoons made from the tree.