Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
I love the silver maple in my back yard. Or perhaps I should say, I have loved it.
It is the defining feature in my yard, a stately giant whose sheer size inspires awe among visitors. The base of the trunk is at least four feet across, and the canopy looms over my house and the neighbor’s house. The arborist who takes a look at the tree every few years once told me that the only bigger silver maple he’d seen was in a Minneapolis park.
It was healthy, too. Not that it made much difference on Friday night.
When the wind zoomed into high gear and the power flickered I was in the upstairs bedroom , retrieving a weather radio. The world outside the windows turned white with rain, the wind howled and there was an ominous thump on the roof. The house shook. There was a wrenching sound outside and a deafening crash. I scurried down the stairs in the dark, heart pounding.
Later, when I looked out the window, I thought the entire tree had fallen. In reality, only two very large branches fell. They ripped part of a new second-floor balcony off the side of the house, crushed a corner of the porch roof, dented the air conditioner, put a hole in the deck and tore the electric service wire from the house.
But I was lucky, and unnerved by what could have happened. The garage and fence were just feet away from the tree and were miraculously untouched. The neighbor’s house was undamaged.
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