The Root Cause

Michaele AlexanderOur Yarden

At the end of last week it had become quite obvious that the chill days of winter were to be left behind in a blaze of pasty knees peeking out from below shorts and sunburnt noses daubed with ointment, shaded by hats. And with this kind of weather it was time to consider, nay focus obsessively (if one is of the younger crowd especially) on the desire for water to paddle around in.

So from under the covers of the sleeping beauty of an RV comes the folded above ground swimming pool. And kayaks, and paddle boards and spiders, oh my. The attic and garage swarms with squirt guns and water toys and discoveries from ancient times that are drawn back into the light. Bathing suits are found to be a year too small. Except for us oldsters, ours can be a year (or more) too young.

But none of this matters in the greater scheme of things. The new and ever improving version of our Yarden has us considering putting up our 18’ round online purchase pick it up at the box store for free shipping and wonder how they ever got it in the box in the first place once it has gotten out four year old pool in a different spot in the backyard.

One of our beloved towering, aging and now slightly sickly poplar trees had sung it’s last Spring song and needed to come down a week ago. The guys came with ropes, saws and considerably diminutive stature to my 6’3” hubby, shimmied up the trunk and safely dismantled it before it dismantled our home, the neighbor’s home and or the fence between us. And you know what they say about fences and neighbors.

But instead of leveling it to the ground or some facsimile of a stump, they only took it down to a height of ten or so feet. “Why?” you might ask…

I asked too. It seems that hubby was heartily bent on growing in this arid high desert climate, drum roll please, mushrooms! Except in his busy schedule he neglected to make the call to the mushroom people (who reside in a cool wet area in Oregon) to confirm: a) can they grow here, b) can they grow on a poplar and c) IF they can grow here on a poplar how does one do it. In his vast consumption of reading material, the information culled regarding such things (tempered with quite a bit of time) was distilled down to knowing one could grow edible mushrooms on a stump. The enthusiasm was there though.

I thought to ask, “If it can, does and will, do we want to eat those kinds of mushrooms?” A call to the fun guys that work with fungi was made on the spot.

Turns out that yes, although not the best of circumstances, we could. Except that they would need great administering to, would likely be ready to eat when we would be out and about in the RV and, the piece de resistance, they are the kind of mushrooms which tend towards the “slimy” side when cooked. Hubby not like “slimy”. Child really, really not like “slimy”. Dogs happy with just about anything dead or alive so slimy no problem. Cat ambivalent. Wifey now want to put pool where tree was.

We turned a delighted eye upon the remaining trunk, a sizeable thing and imaginations danced wildly with possibilities. Table tops and benches and borders, oh how do I count the ways! But it had to come out first. And so did the ancient chain saw the size of a serving spoon on steroids that our friends bequeathed to us when they had gotten a new one and afterwards discovered that they had two (ah, the things one can loose in a garage). It was to go up against a beast. David and Goliath all the way.

But manly man knew better. And had purchased a “tooth sharpening” attachment to fit on our Dremel tool which would combat the dulling fatigue on the chain saw’s blade. With a few growls of the saw, an axe, a wedge and a sizeable hammer the trunk fell to it’s victor and lay there ready to submit to repurposing.

I was delighted to be that much further towards getting the pool up because if I heard one more time “When is the pool going to be ready?” from the kids I would certainly loose my marbles and begin to squirt at them with the garden hose. Whether or not they were outside the house. Instead I dragged out the “kiddie” pool which was, surprise, surprise, also under the RV and with great ceremony and a few words of caution (like don’t make the doggies go in the pool if they don’t want to), handed the hose to them with some toys and towels and went back to contemplating the bump that was the stump.

It poked a mere few inches from the ground. In my lifetime I had seen others take a saw and buzz around in the root base, cover it up with dirt and go on about their business so I was already mentally on to how we could level the lumpy portion of the yard into a suitable home for the pool. I left the kids splashing in the tiny plastic drink of water and went up to feed the horses their snacks and thought nothing more of it.

But when I returned an hour or so later I found my husband, sweating profusely in the sun, bent over a hole in the ground spanning a good five or six feet that he had dug with a pick ax and shovel around the remains of the tree. I thought not only that he had taken leave of his senses, but that the lovely vision I had of “popping up to the horses and then back for a bit of light ground leveling” before erecting the pool was shot to Hades.

I asked him if he was contemplating an “in ground pool” to which I got, “Just look at this root!”. Huh? It certainly was the size of a good tree trunk in and of itself and had ample buddies stretching out like the arms of a gigantic octopus, but… But what about my well dreamt plans?!! To wit he says, “We don’t want it re-growing up through the bottom of the pool now do we?!!”

“Er, no. No we don’t.” was all I could reply.

I tried hard to think of the rate at which said root would have to generate growth for it to come raising up from the dead through the plastic floor of the pool before it was disassembled again in the Fall. I was willing to risk it, but it was too late. The beast was unearthed and there was no turning back. So here I sit sipping an ice-cold smoothie as the temperature rises, endlessly telling the kids “soon” and waiting not exactly patiently for the Root Cause of our delay to be addressed…