Before the alarm clock went off this morning (at 6:20), Samuel tip-toed into the room & whispered to me that a branch had fallen from a tree in the back yard. Umm, ok, that's nice dear...now go away so I can sleep a little more. He went back to his room & that was that.
A few minutes before the alarm went off, Sarah came rushing in to tell me that a TREE had fallen in the backyard & King was "squished" under it. What? By this time, I had forgotten Samuel's earlier explanation that a "branch" had fallen, but the idea that our beloved dog was "squished" under a fallen tree made me jump out of bed. Larry & I ran to the back window of our bathroom & saw this:
Umm...that's not good. (This pic was taken looking out my bathroom window.)
We threw on our clothes to go check the damage outside. Interestingly enough, all three kids were already dressed & ready to go out. Apparently Samuel woke up first & then woke the girls to look at the "branch" in the yard. ha! We ran outside & found a bigger mess than we expected. See?
This enormous piece of the tree had fallen. The part connected to the tree was easily 15-18" in diameter. It was the length of about 2/3 of our yard. While it didn't hit the house (praise God!), it did hit the front wall of our shed. Damage was VERY minimal, just some scraped places.
Check out how CLOSE it came to hitting the house. The yellow part you're seeing is the bathroom we added on in 2006.
Larry went to staff meeting this morning, then came home & began the arduous task of cleaning up this mess. With the assistance of my dad's chainsaw, he cut the branch down & cut it into a million pieces. He got one trailer load of it hauled off before I got home from work. After we picked up the kids from school, the 5 of us worked for several hours to load up the rest. It was after 7pm before we finished, but the yard is officially cleared out now!
This morning, we thought that lightening had struck the tree, causing it to fall. After all, this looks like a charred spot, doesn't it?
As it turns out, it's something entirely different. The tree is infested with carpenter ants. Apparently where they have eaten through the bark & into the tree, the tree tried to "rebark" itself, growing a new layer of bark down into a "Y" where the tree was bare, thus pushing the "Y" farther apart. Between that & the ants eating away at it, it was weakened & apparently finally broke off & fell. Thank goodness we were not outside at the time. Thank goodness it fell in the direction it did. Thank goodness no one was hurt & nothing was damaged.
The rest of the tree must be removed. There are other VERY LARGE branches to this tree hanging over our roof & others the size of the one that fell across the yard that look a little precarious. It's only a matter of time before they fall as well. We have someone coming tomorrow morning from a tree service to give us an estimate to take the tree out completely.
Oh what a morning.....there's nothing like standing in the yard in your pajamas at 6:30am taking pictures of a fallen tree. Ahhh...the joys of homeownership.