Once, I bought a house.
This house came with a tree.
Ordinarily, I like trees, but this tree and I do not get along. Its a wild mulberry tree, which means it grows extremely fast, several feet in one year, quickly negating any trimming. This tree, grows in a fence row, in the alley beside my property. The alley is only a walkway, about 3 fee wide, its no place for a tree.
Two or three years ago, this tree had branches rubbing against my house and roof. Not good. I scampered up a ladder, and trimmed things back as best I could. I then crossed my fingers and hoped a family of beavers would move in. Much to my dismay, the beavers never arrived. The tree, sensing opportunity, attacked.
This past spring, my tenants reported leaks in the back room near the tree, it seems branches had already returned, used the wind to their advantage and rubbed some holes in my roof. The tree was proving to be a worthy adversary. Like any good landlord, I had things fixed, costing $500, and then got an estimate for full removal of the tree.
Yikes, that’s a bit pricey. If this tree were growing in a field, it would be on the ground, and burning in a wood stove by dinner. Unfortunately, its a city tree, all its branches are spread over neighbor’s back yards and a couple electric wires just to liven things a bit. All the yards have fences, obstructing equipment access, and branch removal.
I formulated a plan. I’ll take one limb off today, and anther next week, and slowly but surely down the tree would come. Best of all its winter, so the tree can’t regrow. Sensing opportunity, I counterattacked. I greatly underestimated the size of the tree, and the complexity of the job.
Like a beaver to a redwood, I arrived this past Monday, with a hand saw, a pole saw, and a step ladder. I worked like a dog for 6 hours, gradually chewing off one branch, then another, dropping them expertly into the neighbors’ backyards, scaling fences, further trimming branches on the ground to a manageable size, dragging them over fences, out the alley, and filling my trailer wood. If a stream was nearby, surely a beaver would have come to watch.
Without a careful look, there is no noticeable evidence that I was even there. I now have a personal grudge against this tree. I will continue to chew away, branch by branch. But really, no beaver would ever attempt to chew through a giant redwood, am I being foolish?
Certainly my time must have some value?
The value of time is specific to each person. Oddly, I totally enjoyed my 6 hours of work on Monday, it flew by, it was exhausting, but I liked the mental and physical challenge. Additionally, I don’t currently have any easy ways to quickly earn $1,800. I’m not missing out on any opportunities that would provide me with a higher value of my time. Possibly, I can recruit some other beavers to help me with the project. I could rent a poll saw with a gas chain saw attachment to improve the efficiency of my work. I could also use my 20 foot extension ladder, allowing for safe access to the upper branches of the tree. The bottom line is that this project is doable, I have the skill, ambition, and most importantly time to make it well worth the savings of $1,800.
How hard would you work to save some money?