It was Christmas in July. We were fresh off being awarded the keys to our new mid-century home after waiting nearly seven months through a short sale. What a better time to cut down a Christmas tree?!
I know it sounds crazy. A bright sunny Florida day – 88 degrees and more humidity than many parts of the Amazon – and I was off to cut down a Christmas tree. In our backyard!
Now I hear you. Douglas Firs don’t grow in Florida, zipper-head! We’re not talking about a traditional Christmas tree but a Brazilian pepper-tree. During the 18 months that this house has sat empty, a tree that mid-18th century residents brought to Florida as a decorative tree for Christmas because of its berries that reddened during the month of December had grown nearly 20-feet tall. These days, the State of Florida sees the Brazilian pepper-tree as the Al Qaeda of agricultural tropical south.
This particular terrorist ate our dock. Well, part of it anyway. Our new house comes with an alleged canal-access with a nice view up to the river but the pepper-tree grew beside and under the dock with its thicket of branches wrapping and ripping their way through the fence at the edge of the dock.
Self-deputized with a handsaw and a fistful of determination, I set out to rip this tree to its roots.
As you can see from the pictures, I’m happy to report that despite one wasp sting and a few nibbles from some recently-evicted and ornery fire ants, I grinched out the unwelcome Christmas tree and reclaimed our dock.