The End of an Era--the Pear Tree is No More
I can't remember if I've ever told you the story of how Mr. Magpie and I got married under a pear tree. I will have to tell you that story some time. But it was part of why we bought the house we live in now, which we call Pear Tree Cottage. When we moved here, there was a big 'ol pear tree in the backyard. It was about the only thing in the yard that was worth saving.
For all these years, almost seven, that we've lived here, we have tried to make the pear tree work. We have pruned it, not pruned it, sprayed it, not sprayed it, watered it, not watered it, fed it, not fed it, ignored it, hacked it, climbed it.... Everything. But what did we get in return? A mess. The tree didn't produce any pears if we pruned it, but if we let it grow it only grew pears so high we couldn't reach them. The ones that fell to the ground were nasty and full of worms, and were always found by wasps before us.
We tried. Valiantly. But in the end, it became clear that the tree was too much work for not enough gain. So it had to go.
I wasn't sure how exactly I was going to do it, since I didn't think I could do it myself and I don't have money for that kind of thing. But after getting all the work done in the Shed Garden, I knew it was time. A friend's husband is a woodworker, and when I asked if they would be interested in the wood, he said he would be there that afternoon.
So by the end of the day, instead of a tree I had a pile of branches.
The next day my friend's family came back and we all worked together to clear all the branches away to be chipped by the local compost company, and I was left with a big, blank canvas of a yard. One, on this particular day, full of sunshine.
I had known for some time that the pear tree was weighing us down instead of lifting it up, and while I used to be sentimental about such things I am no longer. The tree was stressing me out. It was making me worry. It was making a huge mess. And while I used to scoff at people who wouldn't plant a tree "because of the mess," I totally get it now. Some of us have room in our lives for things that need extra care, and some of us don't. Or, more accurately, some of us have chosen different extra-care things (or people) to take on. So I don't regret it, I don't regret it one bit.
I thought for sure I would plant another tree in it's place, one that could take care of itself, but the garden is so open and sunny now, I don't think I will. It's like the garden can breathe again, finally. It feels fantastic. And I also know that the wood is going to make beautiful, beautiful things by a very talented family. I love that.
Now the only question that remains is this: Should we still be Pear Tree Cottage without a pear tree? Would you keep the old name or find a new one?
P.S. The opening photo is from several years ago in May.