Death of an Apple Tree

Where the tree was. The remaining trunk is in that little clump of weeds just to the right of center.

Last night before going to bed I saw that there were severe thunderstorm warnings for our area, and even a tornado watch until midnight.  I went back out to the barn to close and secure the double doors to make sure our hay stayed dry.  At that time there was a lot of lightening to our west and north.  Not too far away – we could hear the thunder – but we got no rain.  That was a good thing because our oldest son had ridden his motorcycle to work and would be on his way home.  He works south of here and to the south the sky was almost clear.  He said the lightening had freaked him out a little as he drove home, but he arrived safely.  The storm continued to go away from us and at 10 we (well, Keith and I) went to bed.

After sleeping for a while, some new, closer thunder woke us up.  Then the wind picked up.  I went downstairs to make sure the windows were closed.  They were and I said goodnight to the oldest son who had been closing the windows before he went to bed.  I climbed in bed  and then decided to go back down and check the weather report on the computer.  I didn’t know what time it was, so I didn’t know if it was before or after the tornado watch was scheduled to end.  And even if it was after midnight, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t a new one.  I wanted to know if we should start gathering children and head for the basement.  As it turns out it was after 1:00, and there were no tornado watches or warnings in effect – just very high wind.  Up to 60 mph.  And possibly hail.  We looked at the radar picture and saw that the worst would be over in about 10 minutes and the big storm behind it was likely going to pass north of us, which it did.  And we never heard hail.  I commented that I was glad that I had NOT planted my tomatoes yet.  Keith commented that we’ll never find our garbage cans because our middle son hadn’t brought them back from the street yet.  I was thankful that I don’t have children that are woken up by storms and tried to get comfortable.  We mostly slept the rest of the night (no worse than any other night).

Apple tree trunk in the middle of weeds

At 7 I got up.  I realized that the peacock hadn’t been crowing on and off all night like usual.  That was a nice change.  Keith was already at work.  I went to the front door to let the dog out and saw that our trampoline was missing from it’s usual location.  I looked to the east and saw that it’s in the farmer’s field.  Not too far away, but far enough to be really annoying.  The hard part will be bringing it back without destroying his field, which I’m pretty sure he planted last week.  It’s going to be rather wet.  We’ll have to try hard to walk between rows, if we can tell where they are.  One trash can, at least, is in the field across the street.  Not bad.  I didn’t see the other one, but haven’t left the front door yet.  I’m sure it’s not too far, either.  Three of the youngest children were up.  Ben, the 6-year-old, went to the dining room window and exclaimed, “There’s a bush next to dad’s truck!”  A bush?  We have no bushes in that area that could be uprooted.  Just fruit trees.  With a minor sense of foreboding, I put on my shoes and went back to assess the damage in that section of the yard.  Just as I thought.  The “bush” is my largest, most productive apple tree.  The wind snapped the trunk about 6″ above the ground.  Quite cleanly, actually.  The empty space in the photo above where you can clearly see the barn…  Yesterday from that angle, you’d only see the barn roof.  I have one other equally mature tree, that’s a moderate producer when things work well.  I have two other new trees in the front yard, but they’re a few years from producing any fruit.  *sigh*  Oh, well, it could have been worse.  No tornado, no other damage except small branches down here and there.  But I am sad about losing that tree.  Oh, and the peacock?  He didn’t blow away.  He’s still in his tree and just now crowed.  I’m guesing the storms freaked him out a little bit too.