Friday, March 18, 2011

After a year, they're gone

Just over a year ago, in February 2010, the wind storm called Xynthia moved through our region (after causing a lot of damage, injury, and death on the coast). The damage we suffered was minimal: about twenty tiles were blown off our roof and our two plum trees blew over. The tiles were replaced the day after the storm. But the trees stayed on the ground for a year.

The two plum trees lying on the ground. I had started to cut before I remembered to get the camera.

There are two reasons for that. First, the trees still had half their stumps in the ground and there were buds on the branches. Ken and I decided to let the trees flower and see if they produced fruit. They did, and the crop was one of the better ones we've had. I wonder if it wasn't the stress of being knocked over that put the trees into high gear to reproduce.

One tree is gone. The branches are piled up on the right. The brown spot is where it was lying.

I was planning to cut the trees up in the fall, after the fruit crop ended. But we were busy painting the remodeled attic, and then I injured my neck, and winter came early. The trees stayed on the ground through fall and winter. Until now.

Both trees are gone (mostly). Those little saplings are plums that sprouted and grew through the debris.

I got the chainsaw out and with about three days* of work, cut both trees up and stacked the debris. I still have the stumps to deal with, but I'll need to wait for Ken to get back from his trip to help me with those. And there's one section of tree trunk that didn't get cut before I took these pictures because I needed to tighten the chain on the saw.

We'll spend a few weeks working to cut up the branches for kindling and stacking it over by the wood pile. It will take a while because it has to be done in between all of the other yard work and stairwell painting that we have on tap for this spring.

*Remember, a day of work for me is just a couple of hours long. I start late, take a long lunch, and quit early!


  1. You start again after lunch?

    Far too conscientious, to my way of thinking...

  2. You've been in France too long and have embraced way to many local customs!

  3. Sounds like a long working day to me! ;-)

  4. Come on Walt, you forgot the Rosé :-)

  5. Walt, those little plums are probably suckers, not seedlings! The porte-greffe / graft carrier for plums is the Myroballan, or Cherry Plum. It suckers like mad! You've probably been mowing them off when you do the lawn. You'll find that out when you try and remove them.
    They don't produce sweet fruit, but what they do produce makes the most superb Plum Liquer if you soak them in Rum, Brandy or Vodka for six months.

  6. It's too bad you couldn't have just propped them up again.

  7. Only in two of the eight years we've lived in Saint-Aignan did those trees produce a significant number of plums. Our neighbors propped up a plum tree after the storm, but a slight breeze promptly blew it down again. For all those reasons, those trees are gone. We'll plant something else.

  8. Two years ago an ice storm ripped apart a 150 year old sugar maple of Fritz's leaving only an 18 to 20 foot high piece of the trunk standing. Bizarrely, the next spring the trunk was just gushing with sap when we stated sugaring -- the roots hadn't yet gotten the word that there was nothing up top that needed sap.

  9. Xynthia?
    I didn't know your storms were named like the hurricanes.

  10. simon, not always. Sometimes.

    craig, are you referring to my work schedule? ;)

    antoinette, well, there are a lot of holidays.

    beaver, I NEVER forget the rosé.

    tim, you may be right about that. I have been mowing them for years.

    starman, Ken answered you!

    will, I believe that!

    michael, they name the big ones.


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