Mon 14 Apr 2014
For years, this was my view of Mitchell cabin as I drove up my driveway.
The cabin was framed by a large Monterey pine on the right and two others on the left.
It was an ideal setting for a cabin, I’d always thought.
My former wife Cathy and I built the cabin in the winter of 1976-77, and we planted the pines soon after moving in.
They’ve also been people-friendly. A year ago they inspired my stepdaughter Shaili (left), who was visiting from Minnesota, to try her hand at climbing.
The only chipmunk I’ve ever seen around Mitchell cabin showed up one summer morning at the base of one of the pines. _________________________________________________________________
Wild turkeys have become accustomed to using the pines for lookout posts. ________________________________________________________________
Here a bashful possum peeks around one of the pines. _________________________________________________________________
And here a coyote prowls underneath the same trees. ________________________________________________________________
Tragically, this stand of pines became doomed. The nearer tree died in the drought, and the further tree had begun to lean precipitously over the cabin. With great reluctance, I called Nick Whitney’s Pacific Slope tree service to cut the pines down and haul away any sad reminders of them. ________________________________________________________________
The pines had become so much a part of my home that I remembered how I felt when I had to take a sick, old dog to the vet to be put down. But there was no avoiding it, and Monday morning, the Pacific Slope crew showed up and got right to work. Here climber Ignacio Franco (left) listens to my lament. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) ______________________________________________________________
A large limb comes floating down after Ignacio cuts it loose with a chainsaw. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) ________________________________________________________________
Here José Luis Franco, better known as Pepe, (in light-colored shirt) feeds the chipper while David Antonio Lopez (in yellow shirt) drags limbs over.
Ignacio, meanwhile, prepares to cut the top off the dead tree. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)
Hoisting the bottle from ground level was his brother Ignacio, who used a block and tackle already in place for lowering cut limbs. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)
Ignacio (left) uses a pulley to lower part of a limb that Pepe has cut while David drags off another. The limbs were too close to the house to be simply dropped. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) ________________________________________________________________
As Pepe descends at the end of the day, these skeletons were all that remained of what had once been a familiar stand of Monterey pines. Tomorrow morning, the Pacific Slope crew will be back, and these too will disappear. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) _______________________________________________________________
Here Pepe appears to be dropping a section of trunk on David’s head, but David is tough, and the impact didn’t faze him. Perhaps because he was actually standing a safe distance away. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) ________________________________________________________________
Mitchell cabin has survived, but to my eye, its west side now looks starkly naked. For the sake of decency, Lynn and I will soon adorn it with something floral, but for the moment we’re just pining for a couple of old friends.