According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: We Love Trees Too Much!

Monday, January 23, 2012

We Love Trees Too Much!

Sam and I think that we are not likely to see a tree as lovely as a poem again anytime soon. Not since this week’s terrible snow and ice storm caused so many local trees to drape themselves or their big firry limbs across our power lines, causing us to huddle in the dark and cold going on four days now. Relief we’re told may still be several days away.

Normally, we like trees. We’re Pacific North westerners. I used to live in California where trees only existed if they were planted in the front yards of subdivisions. And those trees were mostly small and useless. They didn’t provide enough shade to even cast a cool shadow.

Central and Eastern Montana don’t have many trees either. But at least Montana, around the Bozeman area, features majestic snow-capped mountains surrounding the rolling wheat and alfalfa fields and that’s quite beautiful..

Unfortunately, the trees here in Western Washington are too much of a good thing sometimes. Our tall, stately fir, hemlock and cedars are majestic and awesome when all is well with the weather. But let a big blow come up or a snow and ice storm occur, and you’ve got widespread power outages. You should have heard the chaos occurring all around us here in Olympia on Thursday afternoon. We had 10 inches of snow dumped on us Tuesday night and Wednesday. The trees became so laden with white stuff their long limbs hung almost to the ground. To make matters worse, a freezing rain fell Wednesday night and Thursday and the overly-burdened tree limbs - made brittle by the freezing temperatures - just couldn’t handle the extra weight. Every time Sam and I walked outside we heard “Crack”! “Crack”! “Crack”! like rifle shots and tree limbs would go crashing to the ground. Around 7 p.m. Thursday night we were plunged into darkness, with the temperatures outside well below freezing.

Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace and even though you can barely feel heat more than 2 inches away, it does help. We’ve been able to keep the temperature in the main part of the house at about 64 degrees. Kathleen and I have closed our bedroom door to keep available heat in the family room. Crawling into bed at night is an Antarctic adventure, however, and reminds me of sleeping upstairs at my grandparents house when I was a kid and waking up in the morning with frost on the bed covers.

We have a gas hot water heater so we have hot water for cooking and for showers. Our camp stove out in the garage provides a nice flame to make coffee (Thank You God!) and cook meals. But waiting for the electricity to come back on is an excruciating exercise of patience. One is tempted to cuss a blue streak about it all, but we remind ourselves that the poor Puget Sound Energy crews are working their butts off round the clock to restore our power. We’re thankful for their dedication and pray that they are safe.

Trees are beautiful, but like our kids and our dogs, they sometimes cause us discomfort. We plant trees too close to our houses, too close to our power lines, and take too much pride in planting them along our streets. Those trees plug up our roof gutters, rot our roofs, clog our drainage systems and flood our streets, and still we love them.

One of the most difficult negotiations I ever engaged in as a state and local government right-of-way agent, buying property for road, bridge and drainage projects, was buying land with trees on it. What a fight property owners put up! I was forced many times to pay way more for someone’s danged trees than they were worth in order to avoid taking condemnation action or abandoning a project. And it was totally useless to point out to a property owner that paying ransom for trees just resulted in more tax money coming out of their own pockets.

I am dead set against passing many laws. They are too intrusive and limiting. But truly, I wish we had a law that required something like a 100-foot clear zone around all power lines. Our love of trees costs us untold millions of dollars in repair bills and hiked-up consumer costs every year. People who love trees too much and sit in them like that woman in the redwoods a few years ago, think they’re doing something good for society, but they really aren’t.

One bag of poop on loving trees too much. Get over yourself already!

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