Barefoot in the Rain or The Dead Elm

Barefoot in the Rain or The Dead Elm



I was eating my breakfast this morning when there was a knock on the door. The young man at the door was greeted by an old lady in her pajamas, long hair unbrushed and wild, feet bare, but smiling. He had come from a local utility company to look at our poor dead ash tree, over 40 feet high. I had called all over the place about it, trying to find a way to get it felled before it started to fall down. It was ailing last summer, and died over the course of the winter.

Since he was here to help, I didn’t hesitate to step outside in my pajamas and bare feet, to show him which tree was in trouble. I stood out in the rain chatting with him, it was about 6C, as he assessed the tree. I don’t know if he felt sorry for sorry-looking me, or if it was just the right decision for his company, but he said, “We’ll take that tree down.” Music to my ears!

They don’t know when they will come and fell the tree, and they won’t take away the brush and logs, but they will bring it down on our property so that Attila can deal with it, he has the equipment to do it, as we needed all of that when we lived at the country house and heated with wood. Here we do not have a wood heater, and outdoor burning is banned in the area, it seems permanently, so we will have to get creative with it when it comes down. But what a relief! Taking a tree down on a bush lot is one thing, taking it down on a town lot is another thing altogether.

I will miss that tree!

So my day started with good news. Actually it was great news. I have spent the last few days trying to figure out where I would find the funds to get the tree felled, it is a pricey endeavor. So having a utility company fell it will allow us breathing space, to recover from the vehicle repair bills that have meant so much juggling to pay off and recover from.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Friday 3 May 2019
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 9.8°C
Dew point: 9.5°C
Humidity: 98%
Wind: N 7 km/h
Visibility: 16 km


“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.
So our prospects brighten on the influx of brighter thoughts.”

Source: Henry David Thoreau, Walden or, Life in the Woods and On The Duty of Civil Disobedience, Chapter 17, Spring.

Every single act of kindness, compassion, tolerance; every single small act of bravery, consideration for others; they are each a single gentle rain in the human garden.


  1. I’m glad not to be the only one who answers the door in her nightwear sometimes! Though we don’t get too many knockers.
    Last time I kept driving my vehicle after the power-steering belt slipped off, it wasn’t long till the transmission went. I always felt it was related to my not knowing better than to keep driving another 20 miles to get home. Whether it really was, I don’t know.
    Damn vehicles. Always something that costs money and is a pain to deal with. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to come up with the cash to insure mine when that comes due this July. Not that I really need it, but it’s nice to have it handy.

  2. Vehicles are a pain in the patootie Kate! The way the world is structured these days, there isn’t much you can do in the wider world without them. I hope the transmission doesn’t go, but what will be will be. Still looking into things though, getting a lot of excellent advice and support online from fellow owners in the know, they know a lot more than I or Attila do, but we can learn. It is not time to give up yet.
    Power sterring is nice though, it takes some strength and concentration to steer without it. I got used to it after about a half mile of driving, then it was OK, but still required muscle power. I remember the days before power steering, like riding a bike, it all came back to me.

  3. Diane, it is sad that the tree died. The Emerald Ash Borer killed it, although I didn’t see any sign of them until the bark began to fall off the tree over the winter months. I have government literature coming in the mail on the subject, as we have another ash tree on the property and would like to optimize its chances of survival. Apparently it is expensive to treat the trees to protect them, and it has to be done annually, a little out of our league financially.

  4. Joan, it is such a relief that we don’t have to come up with funds to bring the tree down! None of it will go to waste, firewood, and the brush will be used in hugelkulture garden beds. We are already thinking about what kind of tree to plant in that spot this autumn.

  5. Teri

    Our entire street is lined with ash trees. Sadly, they seem to have met their natural lifespan. I was getting very nervous about driving down the street as numerous large limbs devoid of leaves all year were arching over it. Fortunately, They’re on the outlaws and the city has begun taking them down and replacing them with another tree type. There were 4 downed and replaced in the Fall and another 6 have large red dots on them, telling the workers which should go next. I think ours will be one of the last to go. Only a couple of small branches dead on ours, so far.

    OTOH, last Fall we had to pay to have a birch felled at the cottage. It was $400 to bring down the 100 ft birch that had no branches left as a good windstorm would have brought it down onto the cottage.

    We have the wood left from that. DH will split the rounds and We’ll be able to use them for our fire pit this year.

    I’ve had DH home from work the last 2 weeks. He has a pinched nerve at the base of his neck and has been unable to lift his right arm. It was quite the adventure to take him to Emerge. They totally ignored what we were telling them and did a work up to look for a heart attack. Nope, no heart attack. But the horrible pain from the pinched nerve has made his blood pressure skyrocket. Had to go to our doctor to order xrays, ultrasound. Everything looked normal. He finally started physiotherapy last week and it seems to be helping.

    DH is back at work this week, but they’ve had to change his desk to a sit/stand desk and he has to walk away about every 20 minutes.

  6. Teri

    Sorry about the incorrect words. This new tablet has a seriously flawed autocorrect that also won’t learn, and it changes the words on me after I’ve typed on, so I don’t always see the changes until after I hit the Post button. Outlaw equals outlawn.

  7. Teri, so sorry to hear DH is dealing with pain and mobility in his arm! I hope that clears up completely for him, sooner rather than later. Pain wears a body out.

    It is so sad about the Ash trees! We love our trees, so will be planting another beside the ash stump, I doubt they will remove the stump, and we certainly can’t do it. If the other three Ash trees on and around our property go it will be a sad, sad day! I guess it is only a matter of time.

    I HATE autocorrect, it is slower than the naked eye, and has a way of sneak attacking you.

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