Optimism is usually my byword. Power of positive thinking. Glass half-full. Lemonade out of lemons.
However, the windstorms that blew through our valley recently made it hard for me to have a sunny disposition. It took 24 hours for me to agree with that annoying song from my youth, that, to paraphrase "the sun will come out - tomorrow!"
A bit of background: My mama passed away 14 years ago, and my daddy needed a project to cheer him up a bit. A tree house for the grandchildren! The perfect plan. So the Lowe's truck beep-beeped its way back into the driveway with an inordinate amount of lumber, and the tree house became a summer project for family and friends. With a wraparound porch and cedar shakes stained to match the house, it became part of the Busse landscape. The kids loved it.
Fast-forward to last week. The headlines called attention to the destruction throughout the South and Midwest. And while our loss is nothing compared to someone losing a home or a business, we were devastated. The mighty oak that housed the tree house succumbed to the 40-mph gusts, and a significant part of our kids' childhood fell into a pile of wood, shingles and nails. We all were sad.
But then I took my usual "bull by the horns" approach and called Richard Settle, who has lots of heavy equipment. I realized then that the tree holding the house was truly rotten, and I counted my blessings that the tree house hadn't fallen on anyone or anything more than a row of very hardy forsythias. I was thankful that Mother Nature took the hit for taking it down instead of making me the bad guy when it was time for the house to go.
Another bit of background: A couple of years ago, my husband gave me a chain saw for my birthday. His friends have not let him live that one down, but I loved it. But power tools pale in comparison to my newest dream gift. Earthmoving capabilities - now that's the stuff of which dreams are made!
So Richard and his strong young helpers used the backhoe and Bobcat and dump truck and made short work of our rubble pile. And that's when the optimistic Sara reappeared.
I have been trying to get rid of 17 years of tired, weedy ivy in my front circle bed for the better part of a year. That backhoe took 20 minutes to rid me of most of the offending vines. A truckload of beautiful soil mixed with aged manure and a bit of shredded hardwood mulch arrived and was spread to replace what the backhoe took away.
I doused the bed with a good layer of Preen, and in the midst of another windstorm, managed to get landscape fabric down. I'm not a big fan of the fabric, but I think it's the only way to keep that ivy at bay. Mulch was delivered (by that big ol' dump truck!), and the bed is ready for planting.
Because the backhoe was here, I had the fellows move some huge boulders from the edge of the driveway to the newly prepared bed.
I'm plotting out what goes in: a mixture of dwarf evergreens in varying shades of green and blue. There's a dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce, Picea pungens 'Montgomery,' in the front of the bed, and I would like to build on that. I'll let you know of my progress as I choose new plants for the bed.
It was about then that I realized I could continue this windfall (pardon the pun) of good fortune. "Honey," I said into the phone, "since the equipment's already here ..."
Not more than an hour later, Richard and the fellows had taken out the three oaks we had been babying for years. They, too, were only a windstorm away from falling. Now, those trees are beautifully cut sticks of firewood, seasoning themselves before they land in the Buck Stove next winter.
My teenagers are thanking me and the fellows who ran the equipment all day for that. Honey, add a gas-powered log-splitter to that birthday list, OK?