Sunday, May 11, 2014

It has begun...

Late autumn 2014
7 years old

It's a little earlier than expected, but its time for our canopy tree to be cut down. David has started trimming the branches first, as they were overhanging the roof and a small tree underneath. By cutting the branches on one side, it will also make the tree lean to the heavier side when it's felled.

Tree bling

But there is still time for one last snake skin, to glisten in the afternoon sunshine. How many skins has this tree helped remove from growing tree snakes and pythons? Many I suppose...

Late afternoon

And there's still time for one last view through the leaves and the blue sky. A real treat for Peter and I in the afternoons, when we sit underneath our canopy tree and talk about its journey. It was the first tree to shade him, when he first came home from the hospital. It was Sarah's favourite tree to play under for so many years of her early childhood. And I told him recently, the tree was going to fall soon, with its branches and trunk to kiss the ground, one last time to feed it.

The stalker

There is so much life given by just one tree. It's a miraculous gift. Our cat now well on the mend, had time for one last adventure, underneath its branches in an entirely new way too. I know she will miss this tree as well. But the good news is, we have another tree growing underneath, which needs the sunlight to help it grow - starting life, somewhat like this...


And after five more years, it's grown quite a few more branches. Our hot-pink frangipani will love the new light conditions, even though it's almost due to start shedding leaves for the winter.

Shaded by canopy tree

Maybe it will become our new canopy tree. A longer living one, and not quite so tall as to shed its leaves in our gutter. Being deciduous, it will let in the sunlight during winter too. But I think it needs a companion, to replace the one we are taking. I like to think with every tree we take, another two can be planted. That's how important trees are to us. They bring the animals right to our doorstep and offer a calm place to sit in the garden.

There was a reason the tree had to go slightly early - we were planning to take it down mid winter anyway. But more on those reasons soon.


  1. A frangipani! Such a beautiful tree. I am happy to see you have one. That snake skin doesn't scare you? lol. I also want to know if you saved it. I am trying to get over the fear of snakes currently but I know that i need to only worry about them on the ground. I would not want to also deal with them in the trees above my head.

  2. I'm happy to say, we still have the frangipani, after a few close shaves with falling branches. Only took off a few leaves, thankfully! They're actually quite flexible, but I would rather have not tested that.

    I really love the green tree snakes and pythons, as they're not poisonous and take care of any vermin. One particular python took up residence in one of our chicken coops - up in the rafters. I didn't see it, until I felt something clip my head as I walked through the door. I turned and saw this python raring its head back from up in the rafters.

    I still respect and adore them as a feature here. I was given a warning clip (that was all) because I probably scared the crap out of it. Snakes would rather avoid trouble, unless they're cornered, and I guess I didn't realise I was doing that by walking through the door. Needless to say, I always look up now, when I walk into that particular coop, lol.

    I would probably freak if any fell out of a tree, onto me, but I know they're harmless and do everything possible to avoid us. I actually had a close encounter with a lethally poisonous brown snake a few months ago. Luckily, I think the neighbours cat had it spooked, so by the time I approached the same area a few seconds later, it was sliding as quick as it could away from me!

    1. I love your attitude about serpents. I will need to learn more about them since I think my fear is fear of the unknown. Once I know an animals behavior I tend to calm down about it.
      I am glad that you survived the brown snake encounter! I remember be warned about them when we visited Southport. My sister in law said they liked to hang out on the top of doors at their house. She was trying to scare me-I do know they do that but my brother in law said they had never done that there. At any rate we went to that bird sanctuary in Brisbane I think? They had a snake show and talked about how deadly that snake was. I was ready to pack my children into a suitcase and come home by then. lol.

    2. I've never known a brown snake to prefer heights around here, they're more a ground dweller. Most of their prey are ground dwellers too, and that's why the preference. I imagine different locations have different food sources though, and birds eggs or tree snakes could be why they climb.

      There are brown "tree" snakes, which I'm wondering if that's what your sister in law was referring to? They have weak venom and a poor delivery system with their bight. The more feared Eastern Brown Snake however, is much larger and can be lethal if the patient doesn't get anti-venom in time.

      Those are the ones we get around here, but they're like hermits, as they'd prefer to stay unseen and away from any humans. We watched a reptile show when Sarah was just a toddler and it was incredibly helpful too. They said the best way to avoid a snake encounter in the bush, is to walk with heavy footsteps, as snakes have poor sight but incredible sensitivity to vibrations. This alerts them to your presence, and they will try to avoid you.

      Even though we have a high proportion of venomous snakes in Australia, most snake bights which are treated, are for (ironically) snake handlers. There are still those who get bitten in the backyard, or while spending time in the outdoors, but they aren't the higher percent.

      If you want to get more knowledge about snakes in your region, try joining a snake discussion forum. A lot of snake handlers and enthusiasts have knowledge about the more gentle and predictable side of these misunderstood creatures of the animal kingdom. They will also show you how to avoid encounters, etc. You could ask some newbie question, and I'm sure they'd be happy to help you out.

      But its always healthy to give snakes the respect (and distance) they deserve too, lol. ;)

    3. Your last sentence sums it up-the healthy respect. I don't have exposure to many snakes so cannot identity one from the other most of the time. We have rattle snakes not far from us so I know to use my ears but there are lots of water snakes in the river too. Being alert and respectful is the best way to approach as you said.

  3. it is always so sad to have to take down a tree! I was really sorry when our old oak had to come down last year. It was a relief, however, especially when seeing how rotted the inside was. It's a miracle it hadn't come down on the house earlier. This spring there is a new little oak tree growing about 3 feet away from the old one. Even though I'd already planted two to replace the one, I was delighted to see we have an oak replacement!

  4. I know what you mean about big trees and deadwood becoming a problem. We have borers in ours, weakening the branches which attach to the trunk. All it would take is a pretty furious storm to knock them down. Why wait for that to happen?

    But three replacement oak trees! I'm very impressed. My hat goes off to you. I figured out recently that deciduous trees are the best soil builders. If all we ever plant are evergreens, the soil lacks and whatever grows there will never do well. It's only for plants which naturally shed their leaves, that we get soil food on a continual basis.


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