The ‘contorted birch’ demised a season ago, and did not come back. It was the centerpiece tree of our front yard.

Now, meanwhile, we decided to use a licensed spraying company for our gravel paths rather than kill ourselves trying to weed it all.

This means we had to scramble to get all the accumulated junk of winter AND the pond disaster picked up and the paths raked, the front likewise picked up and waked, dandelions removed in all the flower beds to which we are adding pre-emergent on our own—and having done all that in a few hours, aching in every bone, we plunked ourselves down in the living room while the spray guys were doing the work…

At which point I thought: two healthy guys who do outdoor work and may want to do some tree work for extra…So Jane asked if they could pull the dead birch and plant a tree. Oh, indeed. They recommended where to go to buy same (biggest supplier in the PNW [pacific northwest] and a good lot, too. And they’ll pick it up and plant it. So we decided to change species, birch having not liked the variable water levels next the water feature (seasonal). We went for a full-sized Japanese Maple, Emperor One. They don’t like sun that much, but our other Japanese maples are doing well, and we do have some shade during part of the day, thanks to the Fat Albert blue spruce and the towering firs or hemlocks or whatever they are. So we decided to risk it. The new tree is already an inch and a half thick, pushing two, and about 8 feet tall, though willowy. It’ll shade the water feature. And its thin leaves won’t cause much cleanup.

And we don’t have to pull the birch or plant this one.