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Sunday, August 27, 2017


What a macabre way to resurrect the blog...

No, those are not satanist altars in our back yard. Those are the remains of the once mighty white stinkwood and jacaranda trees after they were hacked down because they were in danger of damaging our little house as well as the precious boundary wall that separates us from the boozing gangster at Egoli Villas, the fancifully named flats next door.

It happened on Saturday the 8th of July - the day after The One's birthday. I suppose in a sense it was his birthday present.

The tree felling team I had selected after careful consideration (they were the cheapest) arrived at 7:00am as arranged. The driver had a spot of bother to reverse the vehicle and trailer up our narrow driveway but he succeeded after a few attempts. The team went about their grisly task, unloading a frightening array of various sized chainsaws, hacksaws, axes, hatchets, machetes and other murderous tools.

They started with the white stinkwood (celtis africana). One of the guys scampered to the very top like a squirrel, chainsaw dangling from a strap around his neck. He knew exactly which branches would bear his weight even though some of them looked too flimsy from where I stood. From his precarious perch he started cutting down branches, beginning with sprigs and methodically moving on to large boughs. He handed manageable chunks to another guy who had climbed onto the roof. The second guy carefully chucked the limbs onto the paving below; another two guys chopped large branches into smaller pieces and dragged them off to the trailer waiting in the driveway. The team leader gave instructions and assisted where needed.

It was fascinating to watch and even though it was awkward I could not stop staring. I wanted to photograph the process but then I felt like a tourist, running around and clicking like a fool.

When the tree was hafway gone, a woman from the flats screamed from the other side of the wall, complaining about the early morning noise. The team paused but I instructed them to ignore her. We are extremely quiet neighbours; however, we often have to put up with the deafening drunkery at the flats so I did not feel guilty in the least. Other residents quietly watched from their windows while the chainsaws continued hacking.

It was like watching a well rehearsed acrobatic performance and in less than an hour the tree was reduced to a glum stub.

The jacaranda (jacaranda mimosifolia) was next. Having fallen over before, there were many branches that extended far over the wall and the guy with the chainsaw had to contort into odd positions to reach them. Still, not one branch fell over and it took even less time to finish the tree off.

By 9:00am the team were blowing the last debris down the driveway with a leaf blower. The One had slept throughout all of it even though the action happened right by the bedroom windows.


It was up to me to get rid of the stumps before they started growing again and after a bit of research I found that I simply had to drill some holes into the wood, fill them with Epsom salts and seal them with candle wax. Apparently you can use weedkiller as well; however, I'm sure that would poison the entire area around the stump so I went the more environmentally friendly route.

My drill wasn't really up to it and drilling simple holes into the wood proved extremely arduous as the drill bit kept seizing in the damp, dense wood. I damn near burned the thing out. Anyway, after taking longer to drill 30 holes than the experts had taken to hew down both trees, I finally filled and sealed them.

I never considered how much privacy the trees actually afforded us... the boozers and their hellions can see much more into our yard now than I like.


With spring around the corner, our garden will be a dismal place without the wind whispering through the bright green stinkwood leaves. Flocks of birds cheerfully chirping will find other roosts at dusk.

Without gentle cascades of purple jacaranda flowers there will be no bees industriously zipping around, no delicate fragrance on the evening breeze.

Written by I