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I have a Zombi Maple and a Vampire Daughter. Let me tell you first about the Zombie Maple.

This tree and I have been through a lot together.  When I first moved in to the house, I was renting.  My neighbor on the maple tree's side of the house hated that tree, and did all she could to have as much of it cut off as she could legally do - which is every bit that overhung her yard. She hated trees of all kinds, not just this maple, so I can't say she was attacking it specifically or me because of it.

But her hacking on the tree opened it up to a bad case of wood borers.  My landlord at the time didn't think it was a problem.

When I ended up buying the house, it dropped a large, rotted limb so I had an arborist come look at it. I thought all it needed was pruning to balance out what my neighbor had done to it.  That's when I found out it had wood borers and the core of the tree was rotted. It was a Zombie Maple - dead, but didn't yet know it. And it dropped limbs all the time, even though it kept leaving  out in full glory.

We tried radical pruning and treating it for the wood borers (that was expensive), but the decay was too far advanced.  There was no saving the tree.

I couldn't afford the $3,000 that was the lowest bid to chop the tree down, so I plotted how I could do so myself. With my itty bitty electric chainsaw.

There was this one huge limb that, if I cut it, would take out my power lines, so as I was pondering how to do it anyway, Mother Nature stepped in and dropped it clear down to the ground.  1/5 of the tree was felled -and Mother Nature kindly avoided ripping down the power lines.

It took me 2 years to hack and chop that trunk and its limbs and branches down and get it all out to the curb. It was a 60' length of tree that was nearly 6' in circumference at its largest point.

That was a relief.  I didn't have to worry about the power lines.

That neighbor developed senile dementia and her grandson moved in with her.  He didn't care about the tree, and she stopped going outside so she didn't care about the tree anymore either, so it sort of grew over the fence.

It was still a zombie, though, and it kept dropping huge branches, sometimes right on top of the fence, flattening it.  I have access to a forge, so I would take the top support pipe that was bent and heat and straighten it and put it back on, attaching the link back again each time the Zombie Maple did this.

And worried about this one huge limb that, when it fell, would land either on the corner of my roof or my neighbor's. I couldn't figure out how to chop it down without damaging one of our houses. My solution as I thought about how best to chop it down was to tie a heavy rope as thick as my wrist around it and secure it snugly to my mulberry tree, hoping that if it fell, the rope would swing it away from my neighbor's house. I was OK with it landing on the fence. I could fix the fence cheaply.

Mother Nature took pity on me night before last and brought it down for me.  The smaller of the two remaining trunks on the left is 5 feet in circumference, to give you some perspective. The other trunk is almost 7' in circumference.

Limbs Down

Here's a closer view:

Zombie Maple

And look!  The rope that guided the limb away from my neighbor's house - and mostly missed the fence!  What a good rope! That rope, remember, is as thick as my wrist and it looks so small in the picture because that tree is huge. In the picture above you can see how it warped the fence, but the fence is still standing and there is no tree crushing it down. What a very good rope!

Zombie Maple

Here's a side view - there's probably a good 60 feet between the maple and the mulberry that the maple is nestled under, and it's all filled with Zombie Maple.

Zombie Maple

The redbud did not escape unscathed, either, as either the boom of the falling Zombie Maple or lightning or something cracked it. I've slathered it with a paste to keep bugs out and bound the tree with burlap to help the crack grow back together again. I'll have to change the bandage a couple of times during growing season so the tree doesn't absorb it, but it should be fine.

Lightning Cracked Tree

Itzl and Xoco don't care about the redbud or the Zombie Maple.

Itzl and Xoco

They went with me to the Tag agency today to renew my car tags. It was the funniest thing.

I walked in and saw a sign that directed people to sign in and be seated to wait until they were called.  The room was full, every seat taken. The parking lot was full outside, too, and I just lucked into a parking space.  So I signed in and went to stand in a corner.  Before we'd made it to the corner, Itzl alerted on my name being called. I looked around, and sure enough, it was my turn.  The room full of people looked at me as we walked up to the counter and handed over the insurance verification card and license.

And then there was a virtual stampede as people lined up to sign in.

Because none of them bothered reading the sign - or perhaps they thought the sign didn't apply to them? - I got in and out of there very fast.  By the time we got back to work, I'd only been away for 30 minutes. The middle manager who covered my desk while we were gone was as surprised as I was, and let me have an extra 10 minutes to walk the dogs.

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