The Last Smiles of the Year …

They came dressed in black and red, hard hats, visors and ear protectors; carrying chain saws, ropes, sacks, rakes, leaf blowers and ladders.  The day had arrived – the Willow tree trembled in anticipation of being denuded, shorn – the branches that once reached for the sky would soon be gone, shredded and pulped to oblivion.

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One last picture taken as a reminder of  how much it had grown and how beautiful it looked in the early morning sun.

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They toiled and tarried until dusk threatened; sawing, chopping, carefully lowering branches, taught ropes  and the coarse rasping of the saw – at last the garden was silent the chain saw stilled, dangling from the woodsman’s waist – it’s work was done – the hand-saw sheathed.  Out came the rakes and sacks, evidence of destruction removed.  Branches, leaves and twigs dragged to the shredder, the noise of the machine echoing round the village on this calm, sunny day.

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The next morning we see the results as the curtains are drawn back – the mist across the fields highlights the bare raw stumps – all that is left of the poor old Willow that had provided somewhere shady to sit in summer, somewhere for the birds to perch waiting for us to fill the feeders.  I shall miss the swishing of the branches when the wind is high and the changing colour of the leaves as the season turns.

It will grow back – I know that – but for now I will have to get used to the change of  light in the garden – seeing more of the sky and the view beyond.

--ooOoo--

Whilst out and about in the village later in the day everything was bathed in sunlight giving a golden glow  as the light filtered through the trees

“ I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne”

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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” ~ Joe L. Wheeler

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“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons” ~ Jim Bishop

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“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn – that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness – that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” ~ Jane Austen

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“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools” ~ Henry Beston

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All in all a good week

– we can  see clearly through the windows now - some that were suffering from condensation have been replaced – the sun is shining again today – it is mild and the sky is clear – a good day for gardening and thinking happy thoughts.

See you next week – same time, same place.

Comments

  1. Si sad if necessary to see the tree stumped.

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    1. Yes, necessary indeed - although the birds are a little miffed.

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  2. Poor tree, but what a fine energetic bout you've had of Making Things Better, and you'll be sitting happily under the willow again next summer.

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    1. It looks awful doesn't it - still, needs must.

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  3. A shock to your system (and the tree's!). But extra light is a good thing....Freda.

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    1. Hello Artist Friend - how lovely to see you here. As the tree is the main feature of the garden I hate it when it has to have a haircut - but it will hopefully grow more lush next year.

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  4. Happy thoughts for you as well. At the beginning of the post I thought you were describing trick or treaters, though I don't think your children celebrate Halloween where the children dress in costume and go house to house knocking on doors :Trick or Treat they will say as one opens the door. Those behind the door must give a sweet treat if they don't want their home vandalized. Anyway. It is quite a process to take down a tree and what an empty spot will be left, but what a view from your window. Have great day; follow Hawthorne's advice.

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    1. There is to be a Halloween party for the children of the village this evening but as you say we don't really go in for it here. I am just off out into the garden now - the late autumn sunshine is too good to miss. Have a great weekend.

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  5. I love the phrase 'the last smiles of the year' and we've certainly had some warm smiles this last week. The tree does look a bit forlorn but at least you know it will eventually be back in all its glory:)

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    1. It has been glorious hasn't it - still is today, but for how long.

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  6. 25 C as I write this. Can it last? No of course not; rain next week. What an amazing month we've had.

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    1. I've just planted a Weeping Willow, hoping it will become like the one you've just pollarded. We need it to hide an unsightly neighbour's wall.

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  7. Lovely post and wonderful pictures.
    It's always sad to see this happen to a tree but at least in this instance it will, as you say, grow back over time. The change in the view must have been a bit startling at first.
    Have a good weekend. Flighty xx

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    1. The light in the garden is totally different now - and as you say, startling. But the tree just wasn't weeping as it should so a good chop every few years brings new life to it.

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  8. LOVE those golden autumn photos. Breathtaking! Have a super weekend my friend :)

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    1. We are having a real Indian summer at the moment - so many lovely days. Enjoy your weekend too.

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  9. I know you'll miss it for a while but it clearly had to be done and will grow back abundantly. Lovely images of autumn :-)

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    1. Thanks Su - it does look a bit of an eye sore now - I can't wait to see the re-growth.

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  10. Dear Elaine - so sorry to see your lovely willow cut back. May it not take too long to return to its glory. In the meantime enjoy that extra light and view. Your photos are fabulous. It was as if I was walking with you in that afternoon sunshine. Have a great week-end.

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    1. Yes, it is sad but it was becoming top heavy and next year will look all the better for it. I don't so much walk, as amble, there is so much to see and take in and of course so many photos to take. Have a lovely weekend.

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  11. WOW! What a job to cut back your willow! How often do you cut the willow back??? How exciting to have new light in the garden...those are the little things besides blooms that I look forward to in my space! And your photographs from your town are just amazing! The light that you captured is stunning! And what a beautiful part of the world you live in! Wishing you wonderful things this weekend dear friend! Nicole xoxo

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    1. It was too big a job for us to take on without doing some damage to the greenhouse. It gets cut about every four years although we do some light trimming inbetween.I think this last week has been the last of the higher temperatures - next week we will be back to what the weather should be like at this time of year - wetter and colder. Oh well - it was nice whilst it lasted.

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  12. Hi Elaine, we had a willow topped a couple of years ago - to look at it now, you simply wouldn't know. It'll be back in no time. Dave

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    1. Last time we had it done I was amazed at all the little green sprouts popping out everywhere. At least giving it the chop means we won't forever be raking up its leaves this year.

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  13. Elaine, Your images capturing the sunlight through the village are so lovely.
    Sarah x

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  14. Quite a shock isn't Elaine even when you are expecting it. I cried when our willow had some drastic surgery a couple of years ago but it came back good the following spring. I still miss the creaking of the branches though and think it might be a few years before I hear that sound again. I imagine that the occupants of the greenhouse will appreciate the extra light. Have a good weekend.

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    1. Yes, it's amazing the difference in the light levels.

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  15. It's always a little sad to cut a tree back isn't it, good to know that yours will grow back AND that no damage was done to your lovely garden.
    I must say you have surpassed yourself with the beautiful pics and quotes today, the light is lovely and I can almost feel the sunshine, such strange weather but who's complaining.xxx

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    1. It does seem cruel - we have had three trees given a really good chop back this year - so the garden is looking unnaturally tidy at the moment.

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  16. Crikey. They were working perilously close to the greenhouse!

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    1. I know - but I had every faith in them - they are complete professionals.

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  17. So many beautiful shots in this post. But like Jessica I was worried for your green house!!

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    1. Thanks Annie. Yes, I did hold my breath a few times whilst they were working.

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  18. We have our trees cut every february and I hate it but, they grow back so quickly …… just something that us gardeners have to suffer !!!!
    Beautiful images as always Elaine. ….. your photographs always have such a beautiful aura about them. XXXX

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    1. When the trees are cut it changes the whole feel of the garden - but as you say, they soon put on growth - but personally I do like to see a more natural look - until it gets out of hand that is.

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  19. HI Elaine,

    The willow will come back but I so understand your thinking.
    Everything changes but I suppose that is what a garden is about.
    I do love the artistic shape of the tree now though......

    Gold is the most beautiful of autumn colours. Just like the yellows of Spring.
    Each colour taking us on different journey through our garden.

    Love the images Elaine.......make me feel quite mellow ............

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    1. It always seems a little drastic to me but they assure me that it will be all the better for it.

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  20. What a dramatic haircut for the willow! I love the Hawthorne quote - just how I feel!

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    1. Yes, pretty drastic - and yes, that's how I feel too.

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  21. Oh no, I believe they call it Pollarding it will grow back stronger I am told

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    1. Yes, pollarding is the word and we have had it done before so I know it will come back next year.

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  22. It is far better I think to maintain a tree, even if that means it that they have to be cut back a bit before they grow again. I am sure that it will be beautiful again in future years to come! xx

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    1. Hopefully next spring will see it sprouting once more - hope so anyway.

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  23. It must be that time of year! We had a haircut for our sweetgum the other day and were relieved when the chainsaws fell quiet to see that it was still beautiful. We also had a huge (allegedly dwarf) conifer removed completely.
    But your willow will continue to look good once it grows again, as I think that sort of shape, with the branches like a waterfall, comes naturally to it.
    Lots of mists and mellow fruitfulness in your pictures!
    All the best :)

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  24. The birds seem to have taken umbrage since it was done it was their favourite perching place. Our pet garden rook has taken to standing on the stump to survey the landscape.

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  25. I so enjoyed looking at your photos, Elaine. They always have a peaceful vibe about them. The willow will definitely grow back; I'm always amazed at how strong they are xxx

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    1. Thanks Isabelle - at least now it has had its haircut we won't have to spend every hour raking up its leaves this year.

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  26. Nice haircut ... ;) I love your pictures, Elaine, they have such a soft, peaceful quality, I love it when the autumn is full of warm and delicate sunlight.

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    1. Thanks Marielle - the light at this time of year has a very special quality.

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  27. Hi Elaine,
    Your borders will appreciate the light and, as you say, it will grow again next year. Lovely photos of the village and very apt quotations : )

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  28. I barely dared to read on - we used to have a large willow tree in our garden when I was a child in England. It was very beautiful, much like yours and my main place of play.
    When we sold up, the new owners wanted to use the big space as a market garden and chopped the tree down. My mother had a nightmare about it and when we went back, it was true - the tree had gone.
    How grateful I was when I did read on and found that you have just found it necessary to cut it back and will it grow again!

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