We got home at 1am this morning, after a seven hour drive from Vermont. The drive was a breeze. I don’t think that we hit a single spot of traffic. Not even a minor annoyance. Basically I was free to drive the entire way, which is rare.
Only being gone for a few days, we were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of change that welcomed us upon our return. Hurricane strength winds uprooted a towering maple tree from my neighbor’s yard. The fallen tree now sprawls across the border of mine and a few neighbor’s yards. For the size of the tree, the damage to my yard is fairly minimal. I got very lucky. Mostly my shed is a little mangled and one of my trees was stripped. My brother and his chainsaw took care of most of the initial cleanup work, and now we need a professional to step in and remove the tree.
Since I was out of town for the whole ordeal, my neighbor Chrystal got the entire scoop for me. The people who are living in the house where the tree was uprooted are renting. These folks don’t speak much, or any English, but they are just renting; we need to get in touch with the owners. Chrystal has been trying to contact the owners since the tree fell, but no one has responded to her voicemails.
I know that I will be fighting for days or weeks to get this resolved, but I’m pretty happy that the damage to my property is minimal. Everyone is saying that I could get a new shed out of the deal, since it was mangled when the tree struck it. I will definitely be getting a new shed, but I don’t think that anyone owes me anything because the wind blew a tree down. These things happen.
I wasn’t surprised to find this situation. Heather’s parents were nice enough to be watering our plants while we were in Vermont. They would stop by the house and check in on things, and it was a good thing that they did. They took a bunch of pictures of the yard so that we knew what we were dealing with when we got home. Thankfully my brother was able to head over to the house while I was away to clear most of the problem areas. (Thank you Mario! That was a huge help.)
What surprised me when I got home, was a distressed chipmunk that needed my help – at 1:30 in the morning, after a seven hour drive. I saw the poor fellow staring at me from the bird feeder, but something was wrong. The brave little sucker was stealing some food from the feeder, and managed to get himself into a situation from which he could not remove himself. His head was sticking out of a small hole where bird food is dispensed, and the back of his body was snaked out through another feeding portal. Both of his front legs were through the hole, and he could not retract his head. His hips and legs would not make it through the hole either, and I was completely lost as to how I might help this critter
I fumbled with trying to ease him in the right direction, but it became obvious that he had been there for a long time. He must have panicked, as he crushed his back legs in an attempt to pull them through the portal. He was afraid, and his bowels released all over himself. I soaked him a bit to cool him off, as it had been almost one hundred degrees earlier in the day. As I worked with him, he slowly realized that I was not trying to hurt him. He went from lashing out at me to accepting my help.
Heather suggested that I cut into the metal that was holding him, so I got a pair of wire cutters. Being careful not to cut into the animal, I started cutting and soon had opened the hole through which his head was poking. He was still quite stuck. I placed the cutters on the back piece of metal and clenched until the metal tore apart. Although he was mostly freed, he could not get himself out of the feeder.
I hollered for Heather to grab me a pair of pliers, and she brought me 4 pairs. I used two pairs to hold and pry the openings wider, and then I helped the chipmunk to free himself. His posterior was mostly paralyzed, and I was at the same time joyful that he was free and sad because he was perhaps beyond repair.
Our dogs would finish him off, but I thought that he might have a chance to recover, if only he could heal his wounds. I did the best thing that I could do at the time, which was to get him out of the back yard so that the dogs could not get him. I put him in the hosta garden, and hopefully he was able to get some rest.