Paradise Tossed…

As mentioned previously, I took Tuesday off from the bookstore to get my seedlings into the ground in the garden.  I wish I hadn’t been home that day!

The weather was glorious…sunny and warm…quite a change from the cloudy, wet days which had dominated most of April and May!  I put on a tank top and a pair of shorts, pulled my hair back in a ponytail and slapped a baseball cap on my head, slathered all exposed skin with sunscreen (I thought…more about that later!), and off I went!

I had been outside for a couple of hours (worked through lunchtime) when I heard heavy equipment in our driveway.  I knew the men must be coming to continue working on our septic bed.  The guy Jim had talked to about it a month ago had warned us that we would probably be losing our lilac bush, and that they would have to come into our back yard to do the work…we had come home to see a small hole at the edge of our yard Monday night, with a backhoe parked beside it on the other side of the fence.

I was putting my little peat pots of seedlings into the ground when the backhoe started tearing up the lilac bush…I watched with tears streaming down my face as most of the lilac bush (he left one small piece right next to the deck), and all of the alders behind it were destroyed in front of my eyes…bird habitat, shade and privacy all gone in a few short minutes!  The scoop of the machine caught in the wire fence, and broke it…the driver barely paused from his horrible work…

Later, the backhoe operator climbed down from his perch to view the destruction he had wrought.  He was a young, well-muscled man wearing sunglasses, a ball cap, a black tank top, and jeans.  He strolled into the yard and waved to me as I stood, staring, in the garden.  I felt like I should talk to him.

Slowly, I walked over.  I was so angry, I didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing makeup or hadn’t shaved my legs in recent memory, or that my face was sweaty and tear-streaked, or that dirt from the garden was stuck to my sunscreened ankles!  “You’re going to have to fix that fence!  It belongs to me!” I said, realizing that I was still crying.

The guy looked at me and probably wondered what he’d gotten himself into. “Um, yeah…I caught it by accident.”

“I don’t care what you do, even if you have to twist it back together with pliers…just make sure that it’s closed before you leave.  If the deer get into my garden, it’s not going to be pretty!”

He assured me that he would.

“I’m sorry…I know you’re just doing your job,” I said, wiping the tears angrily from my cheeks.  “But, do you see all those bird feeders?” I asked, pointing to the eight bird feeders on our deck (Jim hadn’t put out the three hummingbird feeders yet this year).  “That lilac bush was where our birds sat!  Please tell me that the apple tree is going to stay!”

“Oh yeah…I’m going to just do a track wide enough to drive through,” he assured me.

“Thank you,” I said.  “Well, I guess I should get back to my garden.  I’ve got a bunch more plants to get in.”

I finished up in the garden just after 4:00.  I was using the hose to rinse off my metal trays when the backhoe operator came up behind me…

“Excuse me…could we get you to unlock the basement door so we can see where the pipe comes into the house?” he asked.

“Okay…just let me finish up here, and I’ll run down and do that.”

I let them into the basement and warned them not to hit their heads on the low beam…I laughed as I told them how many times I’d “brained” myself on it.  They located the pipe and I closed and locked the basement door after them.

Later that night, I was getting ready for bed when I absentmindedly scratched my lower back…ouch!  Looking in the mirror, I realized that I’d been squatting in the garden for nearly six hours, and that the back of my tank top must have been riding up…I had a lovely red stripe of sunburn above the waist of my shorts.  Jim put some aloe vera on it for me.


We were driving home from work on Wednesday when I mused, “I wonder what death and destruction waits for us at home!”  I was joking.

Arriving at the house, I ran to the back door to see what the workmen had been up to…the first thing I noticed was that the apple tree was GONE!  That little @#$%er had lied to me!  The fence was now open on two sides, allowing the deer full access to our back yard.  The backhoe had obviously been digging all day, and sat in the middle of the hole, surrounded by dirt.

View from the corner of our yard on Wednesday...there were solid trees and bushes between the house and the backhoe by Anna

What the yard looked like when we moved there in the fall of 2008 (we later planted our garden between the fence and the row of trees)...Hope is beside the by Jim


The guys were back yesterday and spent the day bringing in truckloads of dirt and dumping them in our yard.  I was home from the store again because I had a migraine…I successfully resisted the urge to throttle a certain young backhoe operator, and stayed in the house all day.  Jake barked his head off.

View from my deck this morning...there used to be an apple tree where all that dirt can see the few pieces of the lilac tree at the right...

It’s a good thing for him that my landlord is out of town right now…otherwise, he’d be getting an earfull from me…I am not a happy camper!

To be continued…


Filed under family, gardening, nature, rants

54 responses to “Paradise Tossed…

  1. Poor thing! This sounds awful. I can feel you seething through your post. Let us all know if you need us to come and have a protest sit-in there until they plant a new tree.

  2. Oh, my. (Repeat that about 10 times). It breaks my heart.

  3. 😦 boo. This is a sad thing. I am sorry–you know how I feel about the death and destruction of green things…

    big fat hairy bummer deal.


  4. I think I know the cause of your migraine.

    How absolutely sad, Wendy.

  5. I second Leanne’s observation, the source of your migraine is clear.
    I hope they are able to ‘fix’ the mess in some way, shape or form – preferably with something that grows and has leaves. ~ Lenore

  6. 1959duke

    I think its time we call in Vito to have a small chat about the situation and how it better get fixed. Yesterday! There is no excuse for that at all!

  7. jacquelincangro

    Ugh! This stinks. I don’t blame you for being so distraught.
    Let’s hope that you can get some new greenery in there real soon.

  8. Oh.. breaks my heart. I’ll be yelling, screaming at that guy…

  9. Wendy, I’m shedding a tear for you and the loss of your beautiful trees! I can really relate, for we were having some landscaping done when one of the clumsy oafs chopped ALL the new growth off the crepe myrtle I’d so lovingly planted last year. And it still hasn’t put forth any more, meaning it might be dead 😦

  10. So sorry–another example of the downsides of property development! But I’m sure you’ll have it looking fantastic again very soon.

  11. It’s fun and you’d be good at it because you’re already used to herding cats!

  12. Hey that’s a good idea – do as Tom did. Get your friends out on a good Saturday or Sunday – give them the tools, the saplings and other plants, feed them and give them copious quantities of wine. The job will be done in no time and you will be left with happy memories rather than the awful memories you now have.

  13. Lordy, Wendy! You let them off easy! I would have seriously wanted to KILL them. OR at least vandalize their machine. My husband dug up the septic himself, by hand, because I didn’t want any trucks in our backyard. When the cement truck came to pour the porch supports I made sure he drove between our spindly little seedlings. The guy saw the look on my face and let me direct. I might be a control freak, the plants that do survive me survive everything else too. I honestly don’t know how you held it together as well as you did.

  14. What an ASSHOLIO. I’m sure you were furious. Is there a reason you can not confront the company about how they lied to you about the tree? Write a post for a local paper about the company or land development? Does it benefit you not to say anything because if it doesn’t I would go for it…

    So sorry that happened….they are the one’s that deserve the migraine!

    • I’m assuming that the kid who promised to leave the tree wasn’t the boss, and was overruled, Katybeth. Unfortunately, my landlord also owns the company doing the work, so there isn’t much I can do…it’s been pretty good to us up until this point…

      Thanks for the sympathy, though…

  15. That’s just lame, Wendy. I know you must be furious.

  16. Jess Witkins

    Oh, Wendy, I’m so sorry your yard is dug up. I would be upset too if they tore down a tree they said they weren’t. You really should talk to your landlord or the contracting company about compensation of some kind, especially after they wrecked your fence. Wow, what a pain in the butt. I hope they finish up and CLEAN UP quickly so you can get back to normal life and your garden. Take care.

  17. Oh, that really does make a person mad, doesn’t it?! It’s terrible when some people seemingly have no regard for someone else’s property. And in the end it’s done and nothing can bring it back – makes one feel helplessly frustrated. Sorry to hear about the trees, Wendy.

  18. What an invasion. I will never let the electric power guys in my yard to cut trees again. They are merciless.

  19. Good God, Wendy, my heart hurts for you! So, so sorry about your beautiful trees! And I remember how much you love lilacs!

  20. I couldn’t stay mad at the young lilac killing, apple tree uprooting, bird habitat destroying machine operator each time my mind repeated:

    “I didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing makeup or hadn’t shaved my legs in recent memory, or that my face was sweaty and tear-streaked, or that dirt from the garden was stuck to my sunscreened ankles! ”

    LOL you’re cracking me up in the midst of your tragedy!!! Laugh now, kick butt later right? Go get’em!

  21. I can understand why you’d be upset, Wendy. I’m upset just looking at the photos. I don’t know why people don’t understand our attachment to trees and bushes on our property. Couldn’t the lilac bush have been moved some place else rather than destroying it altogether? I know people who have dug up large bushes.

  22. That absolutely sucks. I give you tons of credit for keeping your cool though. With the non-existent fuse on my temper there probably would have been a police, a news article and a surgeon involved. Taking out a tree for no reason is just criminal.

  23. I feel your pain – sunburned back and psyche. But the view from your deck is still very lovely. Just tell yourself you’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place!

  24. Oh Wendy…I definitely can feel your pain. A few years ago we had to put in new electric service from the meter to the house. I told them they could put it anywhere but to stay out of my flower bed. I’d even pay extra to have it routed around it.

    I came home from work to find all my periennals tossed left and right uprooted and laying on the ground. They trenched right though the middle of my garden. This was after two previous years of attempting a vegetable garden in the same location. The first year my vegetable garden was uprooted by three rogue pigs from the neighbor’s farm and the second year trampled by a herd of sheep that got loose from another neighbor’s yard.

    I felt like I just wasn’t meant to garden no matter how much I liked to do it.

    • Oh no, Jeanne! That’s terrible! They pulled up two of my peony bushes and left them lying on the lawn (I would have rather lost the peonies than the apple tree)…they’re still there! I hope they replant them at some point… Wendy

  25. Pingback: Things I’ve Learned Since Last Tuesday…NEW POST! | Herding Cats in Hammond River

  26. Oh No Wendy! I am so so sorry! I do hope the work on your tank actually requires all this destruction? Nothing can be worse than losing a whole tree 😦 My sympathies.

    Hugs, H.

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