By Susan Fogel
El Comitan Real Estate
Early afternoon on a windy, sunny Saturday in La Paz…
We were just sitting down to a gorgeous bowl of homemade chicken soup. “It looks like something from Martha Stewart Living.” I said to my beloved. “ The white chicken, the clear broth and the gorgeous green vegetables. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.” I was raising the spoon to my mouth when there was a knock at the door.
It was Juan, the man that had cleaned the hula skirts from our nine venerable palms. Hula skirts are the dead palms that hang down below the green swaying fronds. They drop off at inopportune times and hit people on the head. Our hula skirts were not near the danger zone yet, and my lunch was calling. I said “ No gracias, proximo vez,” Which means: “I want to eat my lunch, go away!” Well it really means: “No thanks, next time please.”
Well the tenacious guy was not leaving if he thought he could make a few pesos and buy himself some beer.
So he pointed to our recently decapitated double palm at the end of our row of nine stately palms. This double palm was 30 years old and close to 30 feet tall. But a disease struck many palms in our neighborhood, and this one fell ill and died. Just before hurricane season we had it cut. We feared that it would fall on the house during the storm. It made us sad to see it come down.
The stumps were about five feet tall, and our dramatic landscape lights were still illuminating the sorry site. Our regular gardener and his two sons tried to dig out the palm, but it was too big and heavy for them. He told me he would see if he could find someone with a backhoe willing to take on the task.
So the stump stood upright from its three foot deep hole, but no longer illuminated since the dramatic landscape light was now buried in the pile from the hole.
So back to Saturday. “How can you do this by yourself?” I asked. And Juan replied that he would use the might of his Ford pick-up and a chain. He would be back shortly with the chain. Seeing a chance to get to my lunch while it was still fresh, I agreed to his price of $500 pesos ( about $40 US).
A few hours later Juan arrived with the chain and a friend, an ax and their determination.
They chopped at the trees roots, dug around it, hitched up the truck and started to tug. Well gravel flew and wheels spun, and the tree pulled the truck smack into its wher e it bounced off the trunk and shattered a tail light. Juan smiled and said “No importa, senora.” ( it’s not important) “Honey”, said I, “Move our car please, I don’t like the way things are shaping up.”
And so he did, thankfully.
I could regale you with more details of this misbegotten afternoon activity, but I a made a video instead. And yes , Juan is deliberately smashing the back end of his shiny red pick up into the tree trunk.
After he was all finished, Juan said he would be back on Monday to shorten the stumps, clean out the root ball, and turn them into planter for me. And I did not even have to ask! Dead palm trunks make wonderful planters, the root ball area is rich ansd fertile.
The stump is turned upside down, the wide part is the planter. they are elgant, and an example of recycling at it’s best. More ont this tomorrow.
So here is the video proof…don’t try this at home!