Trimming the Trees

We have trees growing around our house. This may seem like a little thing to most people as there are trees growing around most every house. But we planted each tree ourselves and made the yard just how we want it. We live in a farming community and we cleared the land, drilled the well, built the house and each step was lots of work.

We have a blue spruce tree in our front yard that we bought from a street vendor in our town when the tree was just about two feet tall and it cost fifty dollars. For us at that time $50 was a big investment. It is now about thirty feet tall and we still call it our fifty dollar tree. Other evergreen and Russian olive trees we planted from seed are also in the 20 to 30 foot tall realm. I really like our trees. They get babied because I remember getting a tree as a gift from a friend right after I was married. I was very young and not too savvy about growing things back then. I remember it was about six feet tall when I planted it. It was a poplar that was pretty and tall and green and a bit skinny. I watered it and trimmed around it and each year as spring sprung that silly tree got shorter and shorter and shorter until finally the last year I just mowed the thing off at ground level and put it out of my misery.

That memory haunts me to this day when ever my husband gets the pruners, loppers and chainsaw out to trim our trees in the spring or fall. Sometimes in mid-summer he will come in after mowing the lawn grumbling about a low limb or a wayward branch and I reach for my crying towel. If it were up to me our yard would look like an Amazon jungle. It would take a machete could get around because I just don’t prune. What kind of a word it that anyway. Prune. Dang, sidetracked again…

Yes I wear my heart on my sleeve. I admit it. I am one of those people that name their cars, spell the word vet in front of my animals because I know they can understand what neuter means, and I feel the trees know when it is time to cut their limbs off. Just makes you shutter doesn’t it? I mean how would you feel if you saw a man come towards you with grin on his face and a chain saw in his hand?

So the two of us have this little non spoken ritual that occurs when pruning time comes around. It’s no big thing really, he just does tree trimming when I am not home. That way I can’t hear the little tree screams! I think he starts planning a few days in advance. I notice the chain saw sitting out or the loppers have appeared on the back porch with a new edge put on them and the smell of fresh WD 40 is in the air. So I nonchalantly say I am going to visit so and so and will be back in a couple of hours.


When I return home the deed has been done. We, each year as the trees grow, talk about getting a chipper/shredder. So much so that it has become a joke. Since the movie Fargo came out so many years ago and there is a scene in it where a guy is stuffed into a chipper shredder and all you see is a leg sticking up out of the top, we have laughed about getting a chipper/shredder. When we walk by a shredder in one of those industrial stores (men like to go into these stores walk the isles and smell the testosterone), we look at each other and one of us will say in a Northern Wisconsin voice, “Ay, you want me to get this chipper shredder for ya, der?” So far no leg shredding device has make it to our home, thank goodness.

All my mind gaming aside, I know trees are just trees and my pets don’t know what neutering is, so in the end I am glad he prunes. (Still—the word is weird.) I do notice he has pruned as soon as I pull into our yard and things look better, cleaner, tidy. He has an eye for these things. But I still name my cars. I can still hear my 1973 yellow Pinto named Bippy sniffling as I left it at the dealer when I sold it. But I got over it and went on to have Lucille, Bluebell, Miss T, and Tornado… Come on you have a name or two in your past don’t you?

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at