Blogging, learning

Three lessons learned from my favorite tree falling

before - last view

I’m not necessarily the tree-hugging type. Although these days my husband and a few family members might disagree. Having to cut down a big beautiful tree in the front yard of our cottage touched me in ways I didn’t anticipate.

A huge limb randomly fell from this beloved tree the other evening. Sitting on the patio, we heard a strange crackling sound. We turned our heads to watch a big branch break away and fall onto our neighbor’s roof and yard.The sound was startling, the falling limb frightening and the experience one I won’t soon forget. Thankfully no injuries to report, however it has left a very obvious void in our yard.

limb down limb decay

Viewing the decay causing the limb to fall, it was apparent the tree had to go. The process was not going to be simple. The Box Elder tree was enormous and tucked tightly between cottages in our yard. A crane was required for the job. The four-man tree removal crew included a guy who’s job involved riding up with the crane into the tree and repelling to cut limbs for the crane to lift onto trailers. It’s a skill the young guy in his 20’s learned from the 70-year-old owner of the company, who was up in a tree himself repelling and cutting within the last year. Owning the tree company for 40 years, John has climbed lots of trees and cut many limbs. Only a few years ago he began employing the help of a crane operator to expedite the removal process.

crane truck tree man guy climbing tree guy with ropes in tree guy in tree 2

 

Cutting down and removing the entire tree, which they estimated to be more than 60 years old after counting the rings in the base, was an amazing process to watch.  I never realized such equipment existed to do these kind of jobs and the type of skills and training required. I have tremendous respect for the crew involved in each part of the removal process, from limb cutting, log loading to stump grinding.

stump counting lines

As the “family photographer” I recorded the entire procedure and shared photos with my husband while he was stuck working. Included below is a collection of photos of the tree removal experience.

tree & crane

Along the way, I took away a few lessons that I never expected. Here’s a rundown of what I learned from the loss of our favorite tree.

  • Embrace change … of every shape & size. I consider myself a change agent. I typically welcome change. However, when it involves removal of a tree, particularly a tree that has a very long history, that tends to strike a different nerve. Following the tree removal, I admit to appreciating the additional sunshine in our yard. I’m coming around and getting used to it being gone. .
  •  Don’t get too attached … probably easier said than done. In the case of our beloved tree, it served as our umbrella over our fire pit and shaded our yard. However, the sunshine is nice and we shall buy big umbrellas to keep on hand,
  • Appreciate good service … the tree company we hired was a small local guy, referred and highly recommended by a neighbor. Good idea and good job done! With 40 years experience, it’s easy to see how this 70-year-old has built a solid business cutting down trees. His knowledge, experience and care for doing the job all the way to the end is clearly why his business has thrived for all these years. And he has hired and mentored an enthusiastic crew.
  • Crane operating is great business … in watching the entire process it hit me — the guy who owns/runs the crane has a pretty good thing going on. He was young, maybe early 30s, had purchased the crane (a very big investment), was trained in operating it and subcontracts himself and his crane out for hire. Not a bad gig, considering John our tree cutting owner says he’s given this crane operator about $68,000 in business in the last year, and he’s only one of the crane operator’s clients. Heads up to all the young guys (or gals) out there wondering what major to choose in college.

upside down tree in air tree stump cut tree man tree limb guy tree in air tree in air over Barretts tree decay tree coming down stump rising stump in truck log in air limb on crane limb in air limb cut last branch cut stump cut broken limb

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Blogging, Habits, happiness, learning, Personal growth, Resolutions

5 habits for personal happiness every day

With all of content related to being happy hitting my radar lately, I’m feeling prompted to write about happiness. I’ve come across a few bloggers who’ve selected a “word for the year.” Perhaps happiness should be mine.

I shared a post on my Facebook page recently — 7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People — and it caused me to consider my happiness habits. Looking at the list, I’m not in bad shape. Admittedly, I need to work on a few listed such as no. 4 exercise and no. 7 ignoring my itches. I tend to be a half-full person, and I’m told it’s contagious. I’ve learned you need to guard your happiness and never allow it to be determined by external sources. So, I guess I’m good on no. 3 .

The next article to hit my news feed was this one  from Fast Company6 Simple Habits to Keep You Consistently Happy Every day. While I am an optimist, being consistently happy every day isn’t always the case. However, I like the sound of it. In reviewing writer and founder/CEO of Buffer Joel Gascoigne‘s list of habits, I related to some and came to the conclusion that maybe daily happiness is possible.

Happy habits

In order for me to experience happiness everyday, I decided I ought make my own list of habits to help me get there. Here’s my personal list of happiness habits. It may not be possible to do each of these on a daily basis, but I’m confident practicing a few of them every day can make for more happiness.

  • Share yourself. I learned a number of years ago that my skills are gifts, and these gifts were given for a purpose. Sharing what I know and have learned over the years to help others grow their business or navigate life is the right thing to do. And when you’re doing the right thing, that makes you happy. At times I even get goose bumps, which confirms that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That always makes me smile.
  • Smile. Smiling represents happiness and smiles are contagious. Flash a smile at someone and you’re sure to get one in return. And once you’ve received a smile from someone else, just try to not smile back. I wrote a post about smiling a few years back and just like Buddy the Elf, smiling is still my favorite.

Happy people

  • Surround yourself with happy people. I believe “you are the people you surround yourself with.” Like it or not we are influenced by the company we keep. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. So choose carefully. And be willing to weed out the Debbie Downers in your life. Kicking off this year I shared a post vowing to surround myself with more creative people in 2014. Happy to report I’ve been making strides on this New Year’s goal. Creative people are also happy people!

“Your mind may be the closest thing to the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”

  • Learn something new. Your mind is the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness, according to the U.S. News ebook, How to Live to 100, “When people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”  I find I’m in a happy place when I’m engrossed in learning, which of course doesn’t just happen in classroom these days rather online, in a book, an article or best… in a conversation.
  • Pray. Forgetting to practice all of the above can potentially impact the happiness of a day. Neglecting this one is guaranteed to diminish the possibility of any true happiness. I try to start every day by handing the reins over to the one who’s truly in charge. I tend to encounter the greatest challenges when I try to takeover the reins. Keeping myself clearly focused on my “true north” leads to happiness. It’s not always the path I’d planned, but it gets me there if I continue to follow.

Do you have habits that lead to your happiness every day? I’d love to hear them and possibly add them to my list.

happy people shine