Most of you who read Starting from Scratch can tell I adore plant nurseries. With summer around the corner, I would enjoy spending time gathering plants to be potted for our patio, not contemplating purchasing a new tree. I’m sitting in the living room admiring the branches of our oak tree waving in the breeze.

I love going to plant sales and nurseries, don’t you?

If you follow me on Facebook you know that our oak tree was struck by lightning several years ago. One strike in the whole city on a relatively calm cloudy day. Can you believe it? At first, I thought a stick of dynamite had ignited on our roof. Then I noticed our alarm system had been zapped out, along with our electric water-kettle, and many light bulbs. Even our sprinkler system went dead. Thankfully, I wasn’t washing my hands or in the shower, because the electrical current from the lightning strike zinged through our house with lethal potential.

Our oak tree as seen right outside our bedroom window!

It took several minutes for me to figure out our oak had been struck by lightning, leaving an ugly scar. Three years later I look up to see if the upper branches are leafing out. And they are. Good news. Right?

Recently I was talking to a friend about it and she said how she had a Greenleaf arborists in Austin TX inspect some of her trees because one looked a bit unhealthy and they were able to help her. Anyway, after hearing this I asked an arborist to give us a bid on pruning another tree. He immediately asked if he could climb up the oak to survey the damage, which he said was severe. His prediction: It was only a small amount of time until the main branches blew off in the wind.

The arborist up in our oak tree surveying the damage.

The arborist up in our oak tree surveying the damage.

Did I mention this tree is outside our bedroom window?

Both my husband and I were in shock and denial. We love that tree. It’s probably the favourite part of our garden. We always had it cared for by quality arborists like Big Orange Tree Care to make sure it was in its best condition. It’s grand in stature. It provides shade in the summer and looks beautiful in autumn when the leaves turn all those fantastic colours. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a pain when all those leaves fall off, but we have a leaf vacuum mulcher that makes clearing it up manageable (for anyone with a large tree in their garden, I suggest you check out these reviews of the best leaf mulchers – – they save hours of work). Nevertheless we wanted to keep our tree, but an open wound served as a reminder of the damage. Phooey! Estimated take-down is two weeks away. A four-day project that includes a crane, a license from the city, and a bundle of cash. Plus, I need to find a replacement tree. Which species is a challenge.

I'd rather be buying planters or filling pots!

I’d rather be buying planters or filling pots!

When I see the devastation caused by storms across the country, I remind myself this is a small inconvenience compared to what our fellow Americans are enduring. Yet, I’m mourning the removal of our beloved tree. Yes, the tree surgeon did it wonderfully, but it still saddens me deeply. To cheer myself up, I’m holding a giveaway.

Enter to win this Amish-made darling and practical purse from Lancaster County

Please enter to win this Amish-made darling and practical purse from Lancaster County, plus a signed book. Either Starting from Scratch, A Letter from Lancaster County; or one of 3 books from The Legacy of Lancaster County TrilogyLeaving Lancaster, its sequel, Pennsylvania Patchwork, Forever Amish; or A Portrait of Marguerite. US and Canada only. Winner has 3 days to respond.