Friday, October 29, 2010


This part of my psychic healing process is a result of a much deeper and longer relation. I say relation, as was the first part, I admit it, I am a tree hugger! There, thats out, now on with my story. All through our conjugal life together, we (mostly me) have always planted trees on our owned home lots.

Our first home purchase was in Orland Park, Illinois on three acres, just waiting for planting to start. The front yard sloped to the street and the septic field helped make a green summer lawn. Since there was obviously a good supply of water I cut ten small branches from a weeping willow nearby and stuck them in the ground near the street. It wasn't long before there were ten little willow trees sprouted.
Orland Park, Illinois - 1st house 1959
In the back yard was a beautiful large garden. Soon it was being prepped with my new rototiller from Sears. Late in the summer I got five hundred bare root pine trees from the Dept of Agriculture and planted several rows around the garden. Unfortunately we never got to enjoy our tree plantation other than when we passed nearby on our travels we would drive by the old home to view their growth. The next year (1961) Nalco Chemical Co transferred me to Anaheim, CA.

Soon we were living in our next purchase on Orange Ave, Anaheim in a Grove house left as they built new tract homes around it. It had the equivalent of two lots back to back from street to street. The garage and nice yard in the back and the old house on the front. Lots of room for trees! Planted a row of Eucalyptus next to the block wall fence with adjacent houses overlooking it. Within a year they had grown to about twelve feet. Made a very good screen. Folks did not mind because they got shade in the afternoon. They did require trimming though.
Happy Trails, Arizona, #1232 - Last house 2004
Acacia Salicina, desert weeping willow
Soon the Lady of the house began to feel loneliness for family back in Illinois. I was becoming disgusted with my job and the folks I worked with. At the end of the year (1964) we sold the house, packed all our belongings and six children in a big yellow bus and left, towing our VW Microbus behind. That exciting trip is another story. We ended parking it at my father-in-law's farmhouse yard in a snow storm. It stayed there for six months fully loaded until we moved to Rockford, Illinois in the spring. We lived (?) in the upper floor of the farmhouse. I traveled to Rockford every Monday, stayed with another employee and came back Friday evening. 

I was employed in a much better job, where I could put my university learning to use, at Pierce Chemical Co. A small company on the outskirts of Rockford in a country setting. Couldn't have that smell in the city! I was able to purchase another home, which again was an older house, but was blessed with a complete set of farm buildings, including a four car garage. The kicker? It was surrounded by seven acres of good farm land. Aha . . . trees! It didn't take long. Soon I had DA trees ordered and planted. All around the perimeter fence I planted alternating Arborvitae and Asian Elm. That took about 1,500 trees. Then about 500 miscellaneous Pine trees up the drive, in the goose pasture and fruit trees in the goose pasture. Much more went on there as we lived there for nine years. The call of the wild was heard again, in 1974 we sold almost everything we had, packed a big truck and headed west without employment . . . thats another story.
Happy Trails, Arizona - Sunset
The next few years did not bode well for tree planting. We purchased a house on Lodi a few blocks away from the one we had left ten years before in Anaheim, CA. No room for any landscaping. Next we upgraded to a larger home in east Anaheim on Trevor Ave. Backed up on the river bed, (not much water in it) surrounded by six foot block wall. Very nice, but mature trees that satisfied.

Then came another home further east in Norco, close to Riverside. Lots of room, but no time for anything except working to pay for the upgrading to the last homes. An electrical contracting partnership adventure that lasted for a few years and then electrical service work for a few more. After family moved out we moved to east Riverside near the U. of California campus to a smaller home on Mt Vernon Ave. The commuting not at all satisfying the work was OK, but another change, I decided to go into civil service work with the Riverside County inspection department.

The Mt Vernon home was a 1/2 acre adjacent to a dedicated City Park. I thought this to be my retirement home. It had 1/4 acre of completely vacant land. Trees were planted to fill that space. We had fruit trees, grape vines, eucalyptus trees and more. I even planted trees outside the chain link fence I had put up. The park was dedicated but not improved, so . . . somewhere around 83 trees were planted at that home.

I had retired and we were into the Recreational Vehicle travel mode.  It soon became clear if we intended to travel we would need a secure base we could leave for an extended time. While visiting children in the Phoenix area we visited Happy Trails, liked it, bought it, moved in 1999.
8:05 AM
So nine years later it became clear I would not be able to continue with the home care required to maintain our little home and a Recreational Vehicle. The RV was traded and we ended up with a tow trailer parked on our Happy Trails lot and a fifth wheel trailer on a lot in Juniper Ridge in the mountains of the Mogollon Rim. The two years later it became clear that change was not enough. (I was getting old[er] . . . dammit!)
8:10 AM
Now I am getting close to the crux of the situation. We had a tree (I knew it had to be a tree!) in our front yard that kept growing (sounds like a Cottonwood.) up out and around. The real problem was it bloomed mid October for about a month. The little yellow puffs blew around like snow. Then the blooms became beans that became very long. The beans popped open and the birds came and fed on them. The only problem being the pods had a difficult time becoming unattached from the tree. For months dropping and blowing around. The long thin leaves were continually dropping and blowing.
8:15 AM

Previous years I would vacuum, (yes, you midwesterners, vacuum) the leaves and junk twice, early spring and late fall. This took care of the problem, most of the time. As the tree got larger and larger there was more of everything and, I hate to say it, less of me. As old folks around these parts say, "To make a long story short." I got into trouble with the folks here at HT who have the job of 'yard police.' We were in the mountains when I got the first letter, I responded by asking our lot caretaker to contact them and do whatever was wanted. That was not enough. Rather than drive to HT I called and asked them to hold off, that I would remove the tree when I got back in October. OK.
8:20 AM

So there is the problem I faced. I dreaded coming back to face a worst scenario than"The Cottonwood!" Here it is: October 13th the tree trimmer came as promised at 7:55. He started at 8:00 AM. At 8:30 the cherry picker basket was set down on the truck, task done. I have another bruise on my tree heart. Two in six weeks.
8:25 AM
The last cut - to the ground


  1. Sorry you had to lose your tree, Bruce. I guess I may be following in your footsteps in a small way. When we moved into our house on Arden there was a sorry little rubber plant on it's side in a pot that had been thrown out and left by the previous owners.

    I set the pot upright and scrunched it into the ground a little - can you call that planting? ;-)

    Anyway, nine years later, we now have a beautiful (I think it is) rubber tree that's about 30 feet high!

  2. I've driven by some of these old properties, and the trees you planted are huge!!!!!! What kind of tree have you planted the most?