Scorched Earth Policy Courtesy of the Electric Company
The past two years have been a running battle with our electric provider. The front line is the right-of-way running through our farm. On a small section of this access there are/were dewberry canes, two pear trees and an ornamental plum tree. The old man who owned the property previously planted them there around 1995. We purchased the farm in 2000. 2012 rolled along, and the plum and the dewberries are still there, but are dead, dead, dead. The pears survive, but require vigilance. Why did these plants suddenly become offensive starting in 2010?
The first visit of or provider’s work crew occurred when we were off property. We came home to crew-cut pear and plum trees. Shock and outrage followed, but not surprise, as the crew manning the saw on the extensible pole truck finished trimming along the wires fronting the road the day before. Why take a third of our trees’ top growth, “cutting” the fruit production severely? Regulations require branches trimmed back six feet from the wires, not ten feet! Damage done is done when pruning, and there’s little recourse on issues on the right-of-way. Not even when the tent caterpillars the crew brought from another location hatched out and festooned the plum tree and one pear tree with their tell-tale tent-like webs. The only cure is to cut off the branches infected and burn them. More loss.
Last year the butchers returned, stealthily creeping up the right-of-way from the neighbors¸ toting pruners and loppers. To my delight, our dog saw them and barked thunderously. Hah! You thought you could sneak by us this time? I thought. From the foot of the porch I yelled, “STOP!” as the first pearbbranch fell. Startled, the culprit turned to face me. “Wait for my husband!” I shouted.
Robe flying and slippers slapping (it was very early), hubby rounded the corner of the house, and cut loose with his own barking. Phone clutched tightly in his fist, he called their supervisor. They quit eying our trees, and ambled down the right-of-way to their next victims. We should have known they retreated too easily.
Next morning the hairy intruder alarm sounded again. Scrambling for shoes and glasses, I stumbled to the living room and shoved the curtain aside. Villains! Villains carrying a sprayer, fanning it along the row of dewberry bushes! What were they thinking? Dewberries never get within six feet of the wires; three or four foot long canes are the most they can do! Another irate phone call resulted in a personal visit from the supervisor and a promise to quit spraying. Notice nothing was said about sawing, pruning, clipping or any other cutting words in relation to our trees.
Don’t worry, guys, I’ll be waiting. You may have “rights”, but I have my “ways.” We’ll talk next time you visit.