Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The demise of the Grand Old Dame..

It had been raining for three days, heavy, drenching rains that don't retreat. We walked the Hollow and counted all the  ponds and rivers and gullies that had been newly born. The Ducks were filled with absolute joy at all the splashing opportunities and could scarcely temper their mirth in deciding  which body of water to enjoy next.
We stepped into the house, removing our rubber boots and yellow rain jackets. 10 minutes later, I glanced out my window and could scarcely believe my eyes, when I saw the Beautiful old Maple tree lying across the creek and
sprawling across the bridge with twigs and branches and moss and buds scattered hither, thither and yon!

   This majestic lady has graced our front drive since before this house was built, over 110 years ago. It is more likely around 200 yrs old. She fell so silently, we didn't even hear her.

 I felt as though I had lost an old friend. That splendid, silent sentinel that welcomed visitors, provided numerous homes for wild creatures and shade during the hot and humid Southern summers. When I went outside to see her, there was a small owl sitting in bewilderment amidst the wreckage. Fortunately, he flew off some minutes later, so he must not have been harmed, ( aside from losing his home!)
 It looks so naked without our dear friend standing there in her glory. Now, she is naught but firewood to warm our neighbors homes next winter.

I am pondering what to do next. I know many woodworkers, perhaps I could have a piece of furniture made..... I don't know.  I think I may have the trunk cut to about 8 ft, set upright again and just leave it here, perhaps I will carve something wonderful into it, plant a garden around it and let it be. This tree must be honored in some small way. I will miss the Grand old Dame.
"Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?"
  Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

But the rains did leave some wonderful signs of Spring in their wake...
The new Narcissus I planted in the fall,
and the daffodils that naturalize all over our fair state.
 and little blue squill,
and just a few of the 800 iris I planted 2 years ago.
So all is not lost, new plants are born and others regrow.
I am sure the OLD MAPLE has little sprouts all over the Hollow. just waiting to follow in mothers footsteps..


  1. Oh, what a sad day!!! And what a massive tree trunk...I'd definitely try to preserve most of that...and use as much of the other wood and bark in garden beds and as edging or 'pavers' sliced into disks, and larger chunks as birdfeeding tables or impromptu garden seats. What about trying to get someone to carve a garden bench/seat from her trunk?

    If I were you, I'd plant a new tree in her spot, to honour and commemorate her and provide shade and beauty for future generations as she did during her long life-span :)

    I really enjoyed the lovely image you painted so vividly in words of your ducks enjoying their new splashing places. Thanks once again for sharing the magic of your special world with us :)

  2. So sad to see a old tree go. The ground was too soft and it soil could no longer hold her. I think you should contact someone to make planks for you. Old hardwood growth is a rarity and it actually quite collectible.

  3. oh my gosh
    there is something so stirring about a tree that falls to it's death
    trees are a wonderful presence
    yes a lot of fire wood
    or furniture
    i like your idea to have the 7' trunk, could even carve a seat in it to enjoy your garden
    or plant a new tree there, or close to there?
    you look so small next to it ~

  4. Oh, what a shame. It was a huge Maple. I always hate to see trees toppling. I wonder what happen to her big roots? It will change your landscape. I hope you can make something out of its wood. When I see a big old tree like that on my hikes I wonder what stories it could tell if it could talk. Our area is full of Native American sites, caves and mounds, so I wonder how many of them or others had walked under that tree.It is just too bad. Jerri.

  5. Oh how awful for you to lose that wonderful old tree. I think standing the trunk back up and planting a beautiful garden around it is a wonderful idea.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  6. I hope you can find a use for her wood. No, actually I know you will, Jeri!

    Our oak transformed into an elven table and stools as well as several benches, a nutcracking platform, and paraffin-ed chunks for a woodcarver friend.

  7. OOOOoooo OUCH! I hate when that happens :-(
    So I wonder if that "silent fall" of a HUGE OLD SOUL answers the age old question "if a tree falls in the woods....."?
    The OAK TREE is my favorite! That is the tree that you don't expect to go down, they always seem ageless and firm.
    Hope you shall achieve the perfect momento...and an easy clean up too!
    Blessings and HUGS, Linnie

  8. You should cut a big round slice of the trunk...smooth is all nice...paint some gesso on it...but leave the bark on then you could do a drawing/painting on it...make it into a clock to memorialize your old friend...I get so sad when I see these old trees go down...I truly believe they special. Sorry for your loss! Hugs Susan

  9. What majestic tree and how sad that it fainted dead away. A tree is like an old friend that graces our lives by giving so much. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost such a wonderful part of your landscape.

  10. That is sad. How strange that it fell so silently too. I'm sure with your creativity you'll do something wonderful to honor her. It's just amazing to think how old that tree was and all the things that happened in our country since it was just a seedling.

  11. Somehow we all just know when it is time for us to go. The thing is, if we can leave something behind for those to remember us by, it is a gift. I think the idea of having this lovely lady made into a piece of furniture is a fantastic idea. Things of such beauty and grace never leave, they are just reborn.
    xx, shell

  12. Ooh, deary me....
    How very sad, indeed a grand old dame fell silently to earth.
    I have witnessed large trees around here, after all the rainfall we've been having, lifted up from their roots and fell meeting the same demise.
    I become so upset when I lose a tree, it's as if a part of me has been taken.
    Do make yourself a lovely table or piece to remember her by.

  13. Precious friend,

    I read this post yesterday on my lunch break, but am barely able now to comment. To loose a tree such as this is a shock, indeed. We often loose trees here, with our STRAIGHT-LINE winds or tornadoes that hit in the more open places. Our street was once graced with huge Dutch Elms, but now, no more. These things fall over so gently it seems....I think you idea of making a piece of furniture would be so lovely...to keep a piece of history in your home and preserve LA GRANDE DAME in a special way. Have a great day dear heart, and your flowers are looking GREAT! We on the other hand, have SO MUCH SNOW!!!! There is hope.....love, Anita

  14. I mourn with you the loss of your wonderful old Maple friend. I lost a beautiful old apothecary rose several years back and after much thought decided to weave a thorny basket from her canes. It's one of my most special treasures. Relect a bit on how you'd like to honor your friend and I'm sure it will come to you what is the most comforting thing to do. Maybe a dough trough would be pleasing to you. There's a certain peacefulness that comes from kneading bread and you'd be touching your dear friend each time you make bread.

    I send you wishes for a better day today.

    A friend in North Carolina,


  15. O..this is sad....maybe you can make a cabinet out of this beautiful tree?
    I have this old cabinet in my livingroom ..its made out of an cherry tree!
    My great grandfather made it..and its in the family for years and years. I could be a wonderful way to keep the grand old lady with you always..
    Hugs from all of us
    T.D and Company.

  16. Oh no ! Poor marvellous tree. I hope you keep a little of him by a table, a bench, a piece of furniture...
    Your Springtime flowers are beautiful, but they don't console this loss. He left as a Lord, silently... It hurts me, it is sad to see a tree on the ground.
    I wish you a nice evening.

  17. Dear Jeri,

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your tree! We have three maples out front that look just like her, and I pray that they stay standing while we're here, since they're my favorite part of the house!

    I'm sure that you'll come up with the perfect way of honoring her.

    Blessings to you,


  18. Holy Moly - she was a giant, and will leave a big hole in your life. All living creatures are on a journey, and now she is still a huge part of yours. Have fun and do her memory justice.

  19. Oh, I do know how you feel about your tree. We have a small park across the street from our home,in which we've lived for about 30 or so years. The park feels like an extension of my own garden. It is filled with elms and maples over 100 years old. A few have started to lose their branches, and a couple have actually fallen. A small piece of my heart breaks every time, but as you say, life has its cycle, and everything old, becomes new again, in the seeds scattered, and the deeds we do.

    I have so enjoyed reading your blog. I've longed for a blog just like yours to appear. It is real, and delightful.

    A dear friend gifted me with an inscribed to me autographed copy of Hopalong Jack. I treasure it. Thank you.

  20. Sorry for the demise of your "Grand Old Dame," but so happy that you've honored her memory and that neither you, nor home, nor family, nor animals were injured when she fell.

    Now you have LOTS of possibilities and more sunshine. What gorgeous wood she will share with woodworkers.

    All spring joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  21. WOW, thank you all for the kind words and wonderful ideas. A Dough bowl, a teeter totter, a bench and table, a cabinet, slabs of maple, a clock and elven chairs! I will be so thrilled to show and tell when the time comes. You are all so great!

  22. OOOO I am so glad you were pleased! You have that magical spirit like Tasha had! ;-)
    (and I love that you share your world)
    blessings and Hugs Linnie

    (the Mousekins are looking forward to meeting the new friend) ;-)

  23. Dear Cousin Jeri,

    So sorry you lost your big old tree! We are just glad that you and your husband were not out there when it fell and that the little owl flew safely away! We're sure you will find something special to make out of your old friend's wood!

    Your Cousins,
    Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant


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