Early this morning I was standing in my living room, and I heard the sound of a chainsaw in my front yard. We're getting low on wood, and while we do have a back-up plan for dry firewood that won't cost us anything, we're still a little concerned about the fact that we didn't put up quite enough for the whole season (and, perhaps, were a bit wasteful early on when it was still a bit warmer, and we could have done without such a nice fire inside - lesson learned, right?).
So, I hear this chainsaw in the front yard, and I'm thinking, "What the ...? I look outside and there's this guy out there hacking branches off my maple tree.
I whip open the front door and exclaim, "Why, Mr. Chainsaw Guy? Why? Why are you cutting my maple tree?"
Okay, I didn't call him "Mr. Chainsaw Guy", but I did ask, in my best Cindy Lou Who impression, "Why are cutting my tree?"
He tells me that he's from the town, and they're cutting anything that hangs over the road so that it doesn't get in the way of their equipment. I guess with this latest storm that's moving toward our area, they're concerned about heavy, snow-laden branches either snapping and landing in the road (or on power lines) and impeding their ability to do their jobs.
Then, he tells me it's an "invasive species." Apparently, it's a Norway Maple. I tell him that we tap it every year for maple syrup, and as I'm talking with him, I'm hoping that his cutting doesn't damage the tree and prevent us from tapping it, because we're nearly out of syrup, too. Plus, it's the one that my clothesline is attached to, and I kind of need that tree.
This whole time he's looking at me warily ... and then, I ask if he could leave my branches.
"You want the branches?!?" he asks, increduously. He can't imagine why on earth ... and then, a little bulb goes off, and he asks, "For burning?"
I kind of shrug, yes, but really, I'm just thinking, they're mine, from my tree, and if we're going to cut down branches, then we should recycle them on the land where the tree lives, but, okay, I'll burn them.
Then, he asks if I want more branches, because he has a bunch of trees left on my road to trim, PLUS several more streets.
More? And the little bulb goes off in my head. FREE FIREWOOD, the neon light in my brain blinks.
"Yes, please," I reply.
He finishes up in the front of the house, and as he's walking down the road, I'm stepping outside to tend my animals, and I note that there's a broken branch on one of our trees that's way too high for us to reach, and we've been looking at that hanging branch for a year or two, and I ask him if he could get it ...
"I know it's not hanging in the road, but ...."
And he does!
A little later, another truck with two other guys pull up. They're the ones who clean up the branches, and they get the word that I want the branches. Not only do they make sure that my branches stay in my yard, but they make sure they are all the way in my yard (which is no easy feat given the amount of snow that's also in the yard right now, and they also trim any really long branches into smaller, more manageable pieces. So nice.
When they're finishing up and leaving, I walk out to ask if they'd like some coffee or hot chocolate. They decline, but the guy driving the clean-up truck asks me if we heat with wood, and I tell him we do. He says, "We'll take care of you."
So incredible! A reminder of how very much I have to be grateful for.
Looks like we're starting on next year's supply of firewood ;).