Well, 2020’s been a shit show so far. And as a matter of fact, this week has been one too at The Beck Street House. Not sure what we’re talking about? Take a look.
You’re looking right at. Part of our beautiful, 100+ year old maple tree came crashing down in the storms on Wednesday. Sad face.
And there does seem to be a little bit of confusion as to what tree fell down and where the branches came from. So, let us explain a little bit, using the image above as a reference.
Our house is flanked (well, kinda) by two-ish giant maple trees. These babies are historic to the house, and they’ve gone through some tough shit in their days. Below is a picture of the original Beck family who built the house sometime in the 1890’s. If you look close at the photo below, you’ll see the baby saplings on the very left and the very right of the photo, in front of the steps of both porches. The trees grew and the house changed, and the owners before us eventually added the garage and front porch, building the front porch around the tree on the right. Note the historic gingerbread trim that we still have to this day.
Oh, and I love telling this story. From what we’ve been told, the maple trees were a gift to the original Beck family. Way back in the day, the farm across the street had cows that they wanted to breed, and the Beck family had bulls. So, umm, the trees were a form of payment for the bulls’, well, services.
But like we just said, these trees have seen some shit. In 2011, exactly nine years before this week’s storm, the tree on the right side of the house (again, the one “growing through our porch”) was hit by a similar storm, and from what we’ve been told, it was quite a mess with branches almost to the road. The remaining part of the tree are “on the list” to tackle someday; we’d like to get the lumber milled (it’s maple!) so we can do something special with it. Once the tree comes out, we’d like to redo the deck boards and fill in the porch ceiling so it looks like the tree was never there.
Here’s a picture of our house in its glory days as a duck hunter’s bed and breakfast. Look at how big the tree was! We love seeing old photos of our house.
Ah, and then nine years later, and not a day more, this shit happened.
It happened so quickly. We were working at our desk (hello, finally finished office!), when it started getting dark and eerie. Like Harry Potter eerie (we’ve been reading a lot of HP during quarantine – we’re both proud Gryffindors by the way. If you want to ask Laryssa about her wand or her patronus, we’ll leave that up to you.) Then it started raining and hailing like crazy, and branches and debris were flying across our front yard. We couldn’t even see the road. We lost all power and phone service. Laryssa had just yelled “I think we need to get to the basement!,” while I ran upstairs to shut windows (no central air, so we gotta capitalize on cooler days). I didn’t even hear the tree fall, but Laryssa did. In a matter of minutes, it was over. Still rainy and windy, but not nearly the energy the storm had just a few minutes before.
We really lucked out. The tree missed our house and front porch by a matter of a few inches, and other than a bent gutter (which was kinda ratty to start with) and a piece of siding that needs to be reattached, our house had no damage. Laryssa’s car has a little of damage liked a cracked windshield. Our landscaping took a hit, but to be honest, we’re both so over that garden bed anyway and wanted to redo it one of these days anyway. Our biggest upset was that our annuals (a mix of celosias and coleus) were crushed underneath, but now that we’ve cleared most of the branches, we’re hopeful that most of them will pull through.
We were out of power for about and a day and a half, which is rare for us in town. A big thanks to our town’s light and water service who worked around the clock to restore power. They’re the best. And also a big thank you to our wonderful neighbors who let us run an extension cord off of their generator so we could plug our fridge and freezer in. If our fridge would have sat any longer, we would have probably needed to toss out a bunch of healthy fruits and vegetables we just bought. But hell, let’s be honest, we’ll probably be doing that in a week anyway.
We have lots of trees on our lot we want to cut down, but not this one. It was beautiful. We’re hoping the remaining part of the maple tree that fell this week will be okay. But we’re not sure. It’s looking pretty sad and we’re a bit nervous that it might not fare well if another storm hits. And as we were cleaning up the mess, a lot of the main branches were completely hallow inside. But the thought of cutting this old beauty down makes us want to drink.
We spent most of the next day working to clean up the mess. A big thanks to Dan, Bonnie and Dalaney for all of the help. There’s still some work to do, but it’s looking a a million times better (and we can see out our front window again!) To anyone who’s graduating, getting married, having a baby, or confirming in the next few months, enjoy your gift of firewood from your favorite newlyweds!
Losing a big part of the beautiful maple tree really sucks, but we’re thankful that it wasn’t any worse. We’re happy we’re okay, and that our house is still standing. We joked that our house withstanding this with just a few knicks and scratches was like when they unsuccessfully tried to implode the Pontiac Silverdome, and she just sat there, smiled and laughed, and said “really?” We love this place, and even on the not so great days (like Wednesday), we love having this old house as our home.
We’ll be back early next week with another post about yet another project we’ll be working on soon that we picked up today!