Kurt’s Tree

Written October 10, 2013

One of the toughest parts of moving from one home to another is leaving behind the things you cannot pack in a suitcase. For us those were the wall of incremental height markings chronicling Drew’s growth from 3’ 3” to 5’ 10” and the array of nicks and scratches on walls and floors, each with their own infuriating, yet now amusing story of how they came to be. Also not in the suitcase was the awesome deck surrounded by a perfectly orchestrated choir of perennials, 12 years in the making, that had one thing blooming just as one ended. And, of course, Kurt’s tree was at the very top of the list – a gift from my extended family to Joel’s planted three years prior to honor the life of his younger brother.

In the months before moving, the three of us, Drew, Joel and I, would sit at the dinner table and tick through the memories of our Dunlap home, reminisce, and let go of these treasured things one by one. A photo of the growth chart would suffice. The knowledge that in another 12 years a new garden of perennials would be singing in perfect unison was enough of an assurance. But Kurt’s tree niggled at us. One day we’d feel confident we could leave it in place. The next we’d second  guess and chat about moving it. We finally brought discussions to a close one evening, concluded that we weren’t ready to leave him behind, and made plans for transplanting.

Our new yard is small, so it took us awhile to find the perfect spot where this lovely sugar maple could spread its roots and its canopy in the years to come. It required a bit of jackhammering of the front walk, but that was OK with us since we have a long term plan for that path anyway. (Trust us, neighbors, we really do have a plan.) Joel and Drew fully enjoyed the task of operating large, noisy machinery. You can see a couple of videos of them doing just that here.

With the space prepared, the tree movers dug the needed hole and then drove that ball of removed dirt over to Dunlap Lane, dumping it alongside the tree to be moved. For some reason I loved the idea of a bit of earth from our new home being integrated into our old. Kind of a blood-brother pact of sorts.

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Then they dug out Kurt’s tree and drove back to West Washington, first taking the time to shovel the West Washington dirt into the hole. (Shout out to Rob and Natalie who were very gracious to allow us to return to a home we no longer owned and cause some ruckus. They have since planted a new tree it its place.)

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The tree movers took their time getting the tree planted in its new home, moistening the ground substantially to ensure that it stood nice and straight.

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Voila! Kurt’s tree is in place and setting about the business of acclimating to its new home.

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We think it’s pretty happy here as it thrived over the winter and leafed out fully this summer. Welcome home, Kurt!

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If you’d like to view some exciting video footage of the transplanting process, you can click here and the playlist of five videos will begin, moving from one to the next automatically.

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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