Ode to an Oak

Once upon a time, there was a tall water oak that provided much-needed shade and squirrel activity for a certain green blogger, her fiance, and their cat.  It provided balance to the front yard with a live oak and the neighbor's trees. It provided just enough nature elements for the green blogger to really appreciate their yard.

By 'once upon a time', I mean 'until last week'. In a few fell swoops, the tree came down, bringing much more sunlight, a metric crap-ton of sawdust, and about 15 brand new divots to the front yard. And the other trees in the yard were trimmed to keep the roof clear of any branches.

Obviously, I'm sad to see the tree go. It provided much-needed shade to our older, not well-insulated home. It was a popular hangout for squirrels, and our cat, Dax, very happily sits in the front window for hours.

I'll miss the leaves this having this beautiful golden glow from the streetlight in the evenings.

But I know. Water oaks are notoriously finicky when big storms pass through, and they pose more dangers than live oaks. And most people chop them down. And the neighbor who's been here 30 years said she's seen more than one water oak fall in the neighborhood. And yes, the tree company did point out where the tree was beginning to rot in the middle, making it an even more imminent threat to the house.

And don't tell Phillip, but it will be nice to have fewer sticks to pick up every yard day.

I am slowly accepting our new, very sunny yard. I do actually like the amount of sunshine in the living room, although I wish it didn't come with an increase in heat. (If anyone wants to help this blogger out with insulation or new windows...😉) And maybe our grass will be able to grow in once the stump is ground, giving us a less patchy and more lush front yard (and one that's easier to mow!)

Although I dearly love having trees in our yard (especially to protect the house from the summer heat), it can be just as eco-friendly to responsibly cut trees that become a hazard or that are rotting. The licensed tree company my fiance chose uses a lot of the scrap wood to produce mulch, which keeps the tree's life cycle going a little longer.

I followed a few very typical and very "me" steps in my tree grieving process. Starting with one final hug.

Then a little yoga. Tree pose, of course.

And then some research on planting a new tree in the front yard! The tree company told us to wait about 90 days after the stump is ground, so I've got a little time to decide what I want to plant.

According to SFGate, it's important to first remove as much sawdust as possible from the area and chop out the remaining roots before planting anything new. The new tree will need space for its own roots to grow.

This little tree I picked up at this year's Vermilionville Earth Day festival (for free!) is currently the front runner to upgrade to the front yard. (Look how much it's grown since April! Lil baby tree. It may not be able to provide the same kind of shade in the next few years, but it will give the yard a little something extra. And it won't grow to our former water oak's size for many, many years to come.

We may have said goodbye to the water oak, but I can't wait to say hello to a new bit of nature!

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