Plum Blossoms


Did you know it will officially be spring next week? I’m so glad! We’re seeing signs of it throughout our neighborhood, little splashes of brightness here and there – daffodils, crocus, candy tufts – and our daphne smells divine! But most of all, I love seeing the plum blossoms start to open. Every year about this time, I take a moment to bust out the good camera and document the opening of their tiny pink buds. So sweet and serene and lovely.

This plum tree is actually in our neighbor’s yard. A few years ago she allowed us to dig up a runner that we placed it in a pot. It hasn’t gotten much bigger, but just last week David planted it in the back corner of our yard. Someday we’ll have plums! I’m looking forward to it.

Taken with a Canon T4i, 50mm 1.4




Fear and sadness


Our last backyard tree fell this morning. It is the second tree to come crashing down in our yard alone this year. Totalling four tall, mature trees that have died or fallen in our yard, nine trees in all from three adjacent backyards. So depressing. And VERY scary. It was hard for me to initially comprehend, but maybe that was because it was scarcely 6am. We were lucky it landed sideways, missing our house and the neighbor’s, just shattering the fence and doing minor damage to our neighbor’s yard. We had three removal bids today and it is going to cost us almost a thousand dollars to deal with. Basically, a small fortune gone in one fell swoop.

One thing I learned today is that in Oregon, a tragedy like this is considered an “act of God, ” meaning that we are not responsible for the tree or damage in our neighbor’s yard. Technically, we could cut the bottom of the trunk off at the fenceline and leave everything else for our neighbor to deal with. Apparently, it is quite a common occurance. But who would do such a thing? The tree was ours, in our yard (although very close to the fenceline), and the way I see it, we are responsible for it’s removal. This neighbor is very old, and stays in his house most of the time. He didn’t even hear it fall (!), so luckily he’s in no rush to have it gone.

Photo from last spring. Sadly, no one can seem to identify this tree.
Every one of the trees shown has either died, fallen or been removed this year.

What I’ll miss most, the fragrant white petals that drifted down like snow in early spring.

The wind has been terrible this year, and the rains worse than usual. The ground here is mainly an underlayer of clay. As far as anyone can tell, the surplus of water has simply rotted the roots of the trees in this particular area, allowing the high winds to sweep them over, ripping the roots out of the ground and pulling up grass like thick carpeting. Even now I can hear it howling outside and feel afraid. Our backyard may now be barren, but there are two huge, mostly-dead remaining poplar trees in our back neighbor’s yard (his enormous oak fell a few months back). We’ve all been very lucky so far, but what about next time? What if one falls and crushes us as we’re sleeping tonight? Both bedrooms sit together at the other end of the house, offering little protection for us or the baby. It is a weird situation, and I feel helpless. Short of sleeping in a hotel during windy days there is not much I can do. So I hope for the best. Hope that his remaining trees will have deeper roots that are impervious to the excess water, or that they’ll fall as serendipitously as ours, or that he’ll soon be able to afford to have them removed as he did with the others in his yard. I don’t know, but I pray that we’ll all be safe. And that Barkley will stop nervously pacing and panting, as if he knows something else is going to happen.

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