Friday, June 26, 2015

Tale of a Tree - and what a tale to tell!

While we were visiting the grand baby we received a text message from our house sitter asking if we had dug around one of our trees. What? We asked her to send a picture.

How very odd! Our Blue Spruce seemed to have sunk about three feet into the ground.

Uh oh!

Just before we left for our San Francisco trip I turned on the irrigation system for the first time this season. Apparently something terrible had gone wrong with the system. Mr. Dreamy called the sprinkler guy and he stopped in to check on the system. Nope. Not his problem. All is working as it should.
Our next thought was that we had a leak in the water line that runs from the well to the house. However, our housesitter dutifully checked on the pressure on the tank, and reported that the pump wasn't running.
So, perhaps the sinkhole was an aftereffect of our rainy spring and most recently, a 3 inch rainfall in less than an hour.
When we arrived home we looked at our sunken tree and scratched our heads. It didn't make sense....
until Mr. Dreamy checked the historic aerial photos on Google Earth... and talked to neighbors... and found out that the existing farmhouse on the property was located in that area, and was burned down in 1993 prior to the construction of our home.

Aerial photo from the 50's.
The farm house was located to the left of the drive.
No buildings from this photo remain.

Current satellite photo.
If you look at the new house relative to the trees
which appear in both photos, 
you can see that the farm house was behind our home.

The firemen were invited to practice and the burned remains were pushed into the earthen basement and covered with soil. Over the years things began to disintegrate, allowing the soil to compact or wash away with all of our rain. We have a bonafide sinkhole in our yard!

When I put lights on the tree at Christmas, I needed a pole to get to the top.

Mr. Dreamy begins to excavate.

We took turns digging where the tractor couldn't reach.

The hole grows deeper.
The dirt pile  grows taller.

Getting deeper, still...

Getting wider...

More digging...
The tree was finally pulled out of the hole.

A new hole is dug.

The tree gets planted.

There is a bit of difference in height!
Our next step will be exploring the sinkhole. We have found some "artifacts" - nothing spectacular, however!

From upper left, going around clockwise:
broken plastic fork
bit of bone
plastic mouth piece for a small cigar
bottle cap
piece of a china bowl
castor wheel
metal top of jar
pieces of glass

From upper left, going around clockwise:
plastic binder "hinge"
crackled glass piece (due to the heat of the fire, perhaps?)
A small table leg - maybe a TV tray
Small pieces of 'wrinkled"
remnants of a can or package - some writing is visible
a thick piece of white porcelain - part of a toilet?
piece of metal
remnants of a carpet
a beer can
ham bone
and in the center, 
a nail
base and element of a light bulb

Lower portion of a squeeze mop

We will continue to explore our mystery sinkhole. We are curious as to what we night find. 
Wouldn't it be lovely to find a hidden treasure trove?
Probably not gonna happen!
The next challenge will be filling the hole, and ensuring that it doesn't happen again!


  1. Maybe you'll find a buried treasure chest (and wouldn't that be nice? ;o)

  2. Wow, what an incredible story, and very cool digger you have. I look forward to hearing more of your mystery. Very interesting.

  3. Long live the tree!

    Great job and with the bonus of treasure.

  4. Wow that's crazy! Hope the tree thrives in it's new location.

  5. The poor tree must have been terrified as it slowly sank. Glad you rescued it. I do hope you find the box full of gold coins :)

  6. Glad it found a new home! Scary that it almost sunk out of sight:)


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