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An Engineer in the Woods, Installment 18: Oak Trees, Part One – Tree Love

Thursday, November 1, 2018

In the fall of 2015 we had just started major work at the house, and it was obvious by the number of people working and the dumpsters moving in and out.  “You must be excited moving into your childhood home,” a friend and soon to be neighbor commented to me after a business luncheon.

“We are! It’s quite an undertaking, but it will be worth it.”

“Are you going to cut down those trees?  They make the house so dark!”

For once in my life I was able to overcome the effect of a verbal tase into my chest and snapped-back, probably too quickly, with a snarky retort.

“I would never cut down a tree, they were there first and they share their yard with us!!”

We love our trees!  So much so, that when we decided that we wanted to put a hex sign on the house as a decoration, we chose one that celebrated the oaks that fill our property:


The oak tree is known for its strength and long life. With the eight repetitions of the oakleaf symbol,
this sign calls forth an earthly manifestation of the oak's blessings,
reinforced by the small central design of a yearly blessing hex.
The scalloped border calls forth the blessings of smooth sailing through life.

That said, we don’t believe in hexes we just think of it as cool artwork,
although the history of the symbol is neat to know.

Our property is defined by the massive oak trees and as the following Google Earth image shows, there’s really not much else to see from the air (or the ground either):


Dad and Mom loved the trees as well.  That is why the house is shaped the way it is, so that it could wedge between six of the oaks (though we have many more) and limit the number to be removed.  The garage roof has two cut-outs specifically for two of these “protected” trees, the entryway surrounds two more and the final two are close to the side deck and the lanai.  My dream garage expansion project would remove one of the garage oaks and that fact, along with my inability to spend unnecessary $ keeps me from achieving garage and workshop nirvana.

In the summer the trees keep us cool by providing shade (too much shade to grow anything under them but dust) and in the winter after they have dropped their leaves they allow the sun to warm us.  But spring, summer and fall I curse them more than I praise them. It’s currently our 3rd fall in the woods.  This time of year, I agree with my business friend and I think about cutting those trees down every damned day!  My next blog will be devoted to my annual calendar of tree cursing.  As  a teaser here is what my pond looked like this past weekend:




Turning over a new leaf, every fall!