Because...Hurricanes

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying the bathroom updates, I really appreciate all the sweet comments you have sent my way! I'm here today with a side note of sorts. We had a couple *must tend to* items pop up in the middle of the bathroom reno...welcome to home ownership, womp womp. I'll share one today.

In light of Hurricane Matthew being a bully at the beginning of the month (I hope everyone impacted is on the road to recovery), I thought I'd throw back to Hurricane Hermine which prompted an emergency tree removal operation at out house. 

We have a rain tree in the back yard over the deck. We love it because it offers such great shade and has gorgeous yellow and pink flowers. Annoyingly, all the pretty flowers and leaves fall all over our deck and make a huge mess. Its a lot of maintenance to keep the deck clean when the tree is dropping all its leaves. We had a limb from the tree fall on the deck a few years back right after we rented a man lift to trim all our trees and we sealed the deck

We were a little worried after that limb came down because it fell due to rotting from an improper cut. Looking at the tree...there were a lot of other similar cuts so we knew there had to be rotting in other areas. We went back and forth about taking it down, and it comes up before every hurricane season. We especially discussed it before Hurricane Hermine came by. 

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Luckily, at the time Hermine passed by Tampa it was a tropical storm and still well off the coast. It was north of us by the time it reached hurricane status. We got a decent amount of rain, but nothing major. Until the darn tail of the storm would. not. leave. us. alone. 

The storm was moving out of Florida, but the tail end of rain bands were raking over Tampa all night.

What's up with that Hermine? These were screen shots I took on my phone at 4:30 in the morning to show The Engineer (who was conveniently out of town) why this happened:

WHATS UP WITH THAT HERMINE?!?!

Just like the previous limb that fell, this one was rotted in the middle due to an improper cut. So maybe blame was a little more on the tree than Hermine...but Hermine helped! I believe I texted The Engineer at 4:30 am to tell him that the rest of the tree was definitely coming down ASAP. We were so lucky that the limb fell away from the house instead of toward it. It was really loud hitting the ground because it was so heavy (that's what woke me up), but I can't imagine what it would have done to our roof if it had landed there. The limb landed in a perfect spot, causing minimal damage to one tiny section of deck railing and it even spared the potted plant that was sitting there!!

We had previously gotten a quote to get the tree removed for $800 (!!!). We also weren't too fond if the idea of hiring someone right after a tropical storm/hurricane passed by ($$$). The primary reason we even considered hiring someone was because the main portion of the tree was over the house (thankfully it stayed up there during the rest of the storm). In the end, we convinced ourselves that we could rent a man lift and pole saw and do it ourselves. 

So we did. The Engineer climbed up in the tree and we got rid of the rest of the limb that had broken off, leaving only two of the three main branches to take care of. 

We rented a pole saw in the morning and The Engineer pruned everything he could reach from the roof. Then we rented a 50-ft man lift (and we got away with only a 4-hour rental!). We had to go with 50 feet in order to reach the top of the tree...but man, we barely got the ting in our back yard!! We're lucky we have an over sized gate and mad trailer skillz. The Engineer finished the rest of the pruning from the man lift.

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We let the smaller branches fall and we tied the larger ones with a rope so I could guide them away from the house as they fell (note the protective plywood on the roof and over the skylight!). After the tree was trimmed back to the two main branches we had to go with what I like to call the 'cut and catch' method. Because we were working above the house, we couldn't risk dropping anything on the roof and causing damage. We both went up in the bucket and The Engineer cut sections of the main limbs small enough for me to 'catch' and throw to our debris pile. It's not super fast, but we were able to get everything down to the main trunk without any incidents. 

I was pretty nervous about taking the trunk down. I knew it would be very heavy and wanted to be sure we were thinking everything through before executing our plan. We decided to take it down in two pieces...I was scared that if we took the whole thing down (it was about 12 feet tall) that it would be too heavy for me to pull it in the right direction. I primarily didn't want The Engineer to get hurt if I was unable to control the trunk after he cut it....but I also didn't want it falling on the deck! Or at least what was left of the deck. We went ahead and took all the railing down since the tree damaged one section when the limb fell, there were a few rotting sections, and we knew we would probably damage more while we were taking the rest of the tree down. 

Don't worry. The Engineer was no where near the trunk when it came down. The above pictures are the preliminary cuts where he took a wedge out to direct the fall. He used the pole saw to make the final cuts to be sure he would get hurt in the event that things got out of hand. :)

As if the two fallen limbs weren't validation enough for taking the tree down, here's how rotted a section of the trunk was. 

The limb over the house was even worse...only about one inch of wood remained, the entire middle was gone!

We were exhausted by the time Monday came around and were so glad we had the day off to recover. So that was our Labor Day Weekend 2016!!! 

I'll be honest, I had a minor freak out when I realized how barren the back deck looked without the tree and the railing. After putting the patio furniture and potted plants back, it grew on me. I did make The Engineer immediately buy an umbrella for the table though to give a little relief to the relentless sun that the tree no longer protects against. 

Even though Hurricane Matthew didn't do much more than blow a few leaves across our driveway, I'm very glad that the tree was gone. If Matthew had been any closer I would have been terrified with that tree up there. 

I hope everyone has recovered from Hermine, and that everyone recovering from Matthew has the resources they need. 

<3

Be back next week with more on the bathroom!