Jendocino Grove.

It all started last week...

Last week, the landlord came out and took down a big tan oak, and a little fir tree. To tell you the truth, when he first called to schedule the work, I was pretty excited about it.

Two guys with harnesses, tree-climbing spurs, and chainsaws?

That is so me!!

Plus, the tan oak was threatening a power line and the little fir was such an itty bitty thing... Besides, there are hundreds of trees out here at the hippie cabin - I couldn’t imagine that the removal of these two trees would have too much of an impact on the overall surroundings.

Boy was I wrong.

Here’s the thing about taking out trees. It’s hard to take out a tree without taking out the whole understory of the forest along with it. So not only does the removal of a tree leave a big, gaping hole in the upper canopy, but it also leaves a gigantic gap on the forest floor. And it's not just pretty flowers like these that suffer...

Don’t even get me started on all of the pine cones and acorns and huckleberries that are no longer around for the birds and animals to eat.

So when the landlord called this week and said he wanted to take out three GIGANTIC trees out back so that his apple trees could get more sunlight, the first thing I thought of was the regret I felt over the removal of the two trees the week before.

Then I thought, he couldn’t seriously be considering removing three big old native trees for a couple of apple trees that already look like they’re on their last legs…

Could he?

Not that his apple trees aren’t beautiful; they are. And they produce fantastic apples.

I mean, the raccoons seem to like them anyway.

And look at this gorgeously charming view from my back door down to my chicken coop - framed nicely by one of the landlord’s apple trees. In fact, when this particular tree is in full blossom, it’s hard to imagine a prettier sight.

Unless it’s this.

Two Doug Firs and one California Redwood tucked away in their own misty little grove. I’m no tree expert, but I’d guess that these trees are seventy-five years old, easy. Babies in redwood terms; great-grandfathers in human terms.

But the landlord was determined that they had to go. Unless he could be persuaded otherwise, these three trees were gonna wind up cut, corded, and piled.

But don’t worry, trees. I will forget-you-not.

You either, little redwood snail. I won’t forget you. Or your redwood home. Or your brother. Who I stepped on out on the trail shortly after snapping this picture. How ironic. Ironic and gross.

So although I apparently have a gift for destroying redwood snails, I wasn’t going to stand idly by while those three trees came down.

I came up with lots of plans.

One involved convincing the landlord to dig up and transplant the apple trees to sunnier locations on the property.

This was a good plan.

The other plan was to just go out with my hacksaw and chop down the apple trees. The apple trees that my septuagenarian landlord planted when he lived out here as a young buck of a hippie with all of his endless hippie dreams and possibilities stretched out in front of him.

This was not such a good plan.

If you can't guess which plan I went with, then you don't know Jendo.

Out I went, hacksaw in hand and smile on my face, glad that the problem would soon be resolved - and with a resolution that wouldn’t have me living on a platform, chained to a tree, unable to check my email or shave my armpits.

Everyone wins!!

But I couldn’t chop down those apple trees any more than I could let the landlord chop down those Doug Firs or that Redwood. So when he showed up to do the deed, chainsaw in hand, spurs and harnesses at the ready, I did what any self-respecting tree hugger would do.

I begged.

Turns out, the landlord was easy to convince. He didn’t REALLY want to take those trees out. Once a hippie, always a hippie, after all. But he didn’t want his beloved apple trees to die, either. So, one cup of tea later, a compromise was reached. The trees were vigorously limbed and thinned. One small redwood came down because the landlord demanded sacrifice - you cannot draw a chainsaw without it tasting bark - but the three bigger trees still stand. And my landlord made some slick benches for me out of the little redwood he felled.

Plus, now I have my own grove.

I also got a nifty lesson in being a badass.

Beginning badassery...

(Between you and me, I could probably have moved up to the intermediate class.)

And yes, the redwood I’m climbing is the very same redwood I saved. I have high hopes for that redwood. High hopes. Heh...

3011? That’s gonna be a good year in Jendocino Grove...


  1. My stepmom once climbed on top of a bulldozer to keep a developer from destroying some property. I like your way better :)

  2. What a great narrative!

    I was "rooting" for the trees from the start.
    Gotta love compromise.

    It often makes life easier for all concerned. The photos were excellent.

  3. Nancy, your stepmom has guts. I was worried that I'd have to take similarly drastic measures, but I got lucky.

    You're right, Dave - compromise is always the best way to go if you can manage it. I feel fortunate to have managed it this time. Whew!

    And Jonny... My hair isn't as blue as my soul would have been if I hadn't been able to save those trees. And as you point out, my hair is pretty blue...