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During the worst windstorm in the memory of Bend, Oregon’s old-timers, my house was hit by a falling Ponderosa tree. Four other trees fell within striking distance but only one hit the house. Another one took out a chunk of our backyard fence, and in addition, a large spruce tree in the front yard got stripped of all of its branches on one side. It’s the side facing the street so passers-by for the next hundred years will be looking at a damaged tree.

A chunk of the front of the house was knocked off and the guys that restored the roof might have taken it away with the remains of the ruined roof, but they set it to the side of the house. That was finally removed today by a specially hired team who took  it to the city dump. They also took five forty-two gallon bags full of tree detritus, mostly chainsaw chips, which I wanted to be removed before the 4th of July annual fireworks extravaganza. That annual insanity is guaranteed to burn down our tree-covered city to our house foundations, in the long run. So far we have been lucky with our annual fire and only Pilot Butte gets burned. The last 4th I watered everything possible around the house but after watching a YouTube demonstration on how houses catch fire it made sense to scrape everything close to the house down to raw dirt. Particularly dangerous are flammable things that accumulate around the base of the house, like pine needles, tree leaves, and little windblown seeds. They catch fire easily and if the pile is more than a few inches high the flames can reach the underside of the eves.

People generally don’t face ugly facts until they have some personal experience, and a big tree woke me up.