leaning pine treeMy house’s lot has a lot of trees on it. Generally – that is a wonderful thing – they provide a nice natural fence, making it beautiful here in the Spring and Fall (though raking never ends).

But sometimes, there can be problems to deal with when hoarding all this nature. The leaning pine tree here was something I woke up to last Thursday morning – the tree was long dead (it seemed) and had lost the top a number of years ago, and then last week after a bunch of rain, it pulled up out of the ground. It was leaning against another tree which kept it from falling over – but it was really close to my power lines, and was dangerously towering over the road. I live on a little dead-end street with only 6 houses, but even though we don’t have a lot of traffic, it was concerning.

So like anyone would, I called some tree services to see about getting it taken down – I knew I did not have a lot of time. Surprisingly, of the 4 places I called, only 2 called me back. One of the guys was very close (the other pretty far away), so the closer guy said he’d come take a look at it for me.

Now when I looked for places online, the guy who was close to me had a pin in Google+Local – which was why I picked him (proximity). However, I saw immediately that his company name was being hijacked – the local page was not his, it was a site that was using his name and serving up ads. I asked about this on the phone, and he assured me he had a real website – which was actually nowhere in Google, unless I typed it directly.

So he came over, and I was in my office working, my dog Zoey was out on her lead in the driveway. Zoey started barking (and I saw the guy’s truck out my window) so I started walking out to meet him. However, when I got halfway down the driveway, he takes off – we never said a thing to each other face-to-face.

So I went back in and called him again, and he said he didn’t think I was there, and heard Zoey barking at him so he left (??). I assured him I was here, and very anxious to have the tree handled – so he quoted me a decently low price, saying he was a man of his word. I said OK – and offered if he wanted, to maybe barter it out for his web problems – I would be happy to

help him sort out his web issues in exchange for the work, or pay him. He liked the idea of bartering, because like most small businessmen, he was too busy running his business to do his site needs too. Great, I thought: I love to barter. He said he would be back first thing in the morning to handle it, before he went to another job. I promised to have coffee and donuts for him, and set my alarm.

But he didn’t show.

I called, and a woman answered – I heard him in the background. She said they had a flat on their truck, so they couldn’t make it to my house after all. But he said again, he would come either that night (Friday) or Saturday morning to handle it for me. Cool I said – in the meantime, I will see about the local listing. I contacted Google, and reported the bad site…which has since been removed.

And as you can see in this picture, the tree was slowly falling over – making me and my neighbors pretty nervous. This pic was taken Saturday afternoon  – because unlike his “I am a man of my word” statement, he missed 3 appointments in a row.

This pine tree was huge though – much too much for me and my dinky chainsaw to do anything about – I needed help.

Saturday night, I invited a couple musicians over, and we made a great racket together…I was playing drums mostly, and we were having a really good time doing old Pink Floyd tunes, and just bashing about. In the middle of it, my phone rings and I see it is my neighbor – so I answered, and asked if we needed to turn it down (I have pissed off neighbors since I was a kid – drums are loud!). He said no, he had no idea we were playing – but he asked if I knew the tree fell. He asked whether it hit my powerlines which it hadn’t…but he said it was stretched out in the road and pretty dangerously so.

It was about 10 pm, so I grabbed a flashlight, ended band practice early, and went out to see what was what.

The tree had smashed down in the road, and covered about 3/4s of it. Limbs and crap were everywhere – just a monstrous mess. I tried to see if me and the guys could move the thing, but it was a couple tons, and there was no way we were going to move it at all.

I drove my car down, and parked it so no one could get past, and my neighbor (Keith) came down in his truck, closing off the other way. We had our headlights on to see, and the band guys helped me clean what we could off the road. I called another neighbor (Kevin), who is a concrete guy and very handy in these situations – he asked if I lost a tree, because he heard it fall…I guess he wasn’t playing drums at the time. I asked if he had a chain, so we might chain it up, and drag it off the road.

He showed up in a couple minutes with a chain and a bigger chainsaw – and we determined the best bet, was to cut the tree and then try to drag the top part off.

Kevin got right in there and made one cut, and we chained the tree top to Keith’s truck and dragged it to the side as best we could. It was still really huge, and really heavy – so Kevin limbed it, and cut it into 3 big sections that we rolled into the woods. The tree was nowhere near as dead as it looked – the wood was solid, and being a pine, very heavy. It took all 3 of us to roll the pieces off.

But in short order, we had the treetop in 3 huge pieces, and off the road – it had ripped another tree in half when it feel, so Kevin cut that off too. But in less than an hour, the band guys went home, and Keith and Kevin went home too. I went back out with a big push broom, and cleaned off the rest of the crap from the road which took about an hour.

I owe Keith and Kevin (and my mates) big for their help – it made me realize how lucky I am to have such great neighbors.

The next morning, I went out to get some pictures of it. In the last pic, I am standing in the road where the top was laying down so you get a sense of how it blocked everything.



So You might be asking yourself – “What ever happened to the tree guy?” and I am asking myself the same thing. Sill, days later.

No follow-up, no calls…nothing.

And then it made me realize why his web stuff was so awful – it was the way he ran his business. I had already talked to Google about his listings, which I got fixed for him. More than he deserves, but I did what I had said I would.

But I won’t mention by name who the tree guy is, because he is right where he belongs – invisibly struggling with his old, ineffective FrontPage site and his hijacked Google listings. His email links and contact form are broken, and he does not show up for anything like he should. I was amazed at his lack of follow-thru, and the fact he wanted to tell me a couple times that he was a man of his word. I’m calling bullshit on that one.

I got REALLY lucky here, in that no one was hurt, the powerlines didn’t get ripped down, and we got it taken care of so quickly.

But it made me shake my head at the way some people handle business (or not) – unbelievable. I was angry too, that because this “man of his word” made and stiffed me on 3 appointments, I didn’t call anyone else to do it. I should have been more proactive, but I thought I had it under control. And it could have REALLY been a problem if it fell about 10 feet to the right – it would’ve torn the powerlines down, not to mention if it fell on someone (shudder), or someone hit it in the dark, as we don’t have streetlights.

So hopefully, no more tree needs this year…but if they do come up, I know one place that won’t be getting the call. But I can’t say I won’t be calling out more neighborly favors. 🙂