This past weekend at the farm, cooking was secondary to another, more pressing, task: removing a pair of 125-year old trees, that had succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Wind and birds and children have played in the sturdy branches, that eventually fanned out to form an arch in front of the old homestead. But in recent years, fewer and fewer leaves appeared.
It took two days for a professional crew to remove the sagging limbs and 3-foot diameter trunks. I winced as the wooden giants, that had withstood storms, heat, drought and disease for more than a century, snapped and fell with a great thud against the earth.
My View Has Changed
From my kitchen window, I’ve watched the sunrise through the bent branches on many a morning. I will miss the wondrous display. Yet there’s comfort in knowing the sturdy elms, that once gave cooling shade will now provide warmth as well. There’s enough logs to heat our farm house on cold, wintry evenings for several years to come.
Even so, it was sad to see the old trees fall. The loss gives the house the stark look of an Andrew Wyeth painting and “leaves a lonesome place against the sky.”
The Comfort of the Familiar
Looking for solace, I turned to familiar foods for the weekend. Robin made a Peach-Blueberry Cobbler, a quick, light, fruity dessert and one of my favorite mid-summer treats. As family and friends shared the ice cream-topped cobbler, we reminisced about the old farm house and the splayed branches that marked its front yard.
But we also spoke of replanting. What might fill the emptiness? Perhaps a red maple someone suggested. Or a pair of Dawn Redwoods (far smaller than its California counterpart). Maybe a fast growing Bald Cypress. Or even a couple of large bushes. It’s a decision for the fall of the year.
In the meanwhile, a piece of art from a portion of the trunk is in the planning.