Shock and Awe

As is my luck, just a few months after moving in it was announced construction would begin on an industrial park behind the new house.  Worse things could happen since the barren acreage was home to little else than mine tailings and stunted birch, but it was open land and I still prefer open land to warehouses and truck parking.  In any case all the trees were gone within a few months.

construction site as my view

Baby pictures of a garden.  The two green shrubs would go on to become the aspen which now dominate the meadow garden, and the wisp of chartreuse surrounded by a mulch ring is now a 20 foot high dawn redwood.

I still miss the large white oak which sat directly behind our yard but over the intervening years new saplings and seedlings have come up to protect us from whatever eyesore progress put in our way.  “Things will be fine” I told my neighbors as we trudged along through the bulldozing, blasting, dumping, uncertainty, and endless windblown dirt as the on again off again construction continued…. for eight years….

summer potager

Last summer’s view, with a respectable wall of trees coming up to shield us from the construction.

Earlier this month the final addition to our end of the park was completed, and the lights went on and the trucks moved in.  The neighbors complained.  The township was involved.  Agreements were reached.  I knew nothing.  One evening I got the text that “they cut down all the trees” and that night when I got home it was quite the shock to find the industrial park had moved right in to our kitchen.

industrial park lights

Looking out onto the deck.  Adios sunsets.

We have a new view now, the scene off the deck just isn’t quite as sorta suburbia as it used to be.  The trees and scrub are gone and with the fence down we’re just a few steps away from barbed wire, chainlink, and tractor trailers.

industrial park construction

I guess it’s better than a highway next door, or a power plant or something…

The tree removal is part of what the industrial park has agreed to do in order to block the light and noise of the development.  The trees came down, dirt is going in and new trees will be planted. I have faith that it will all work out but for now I miss the aspen and sumac and all the other surprises (and nuisances) which had shown up on their own.  They, as well as milkweed and coneflowers and a bunch of other interesting things are now buried under about eight feet of fill.

industrial park construction

The pines which were almost blocking the lights have already been moved to behind my house where they now mostly just block the mountain view.  At least they’re far enough back and not looming right over the fence.  

Word is that over the next few weeks several 30ft Norway spruce will be lifted from another site via giant tree spade and trucked down to take up new homes between us and the lights.  They’re not my favorite tree but beggars can’t be choosers and hopefully they’ll be planted far enough away that they don’t suck up 100% of the winter light which comes from that direction.

industrial park construction

Just a few weeks ago I was back here admiring how well the aspen had returned and planning the work I still needed to do.  Now it’s all changed, tons of dirt has been dumped, and this is where “we’re going to plant a forest”.  

The quote I’m going with has been “you don’t want to see us and we don’t want to see you”, and I’m hoping that works out to be the case.  I liked the wide open but maybe a nearby forest won’t be the worst thing, and in any case finally being done with all the uncertainty of what the future holds might be a relief after all these years.  Wish me luck!

22 comments on “Shock and Awe

  1. Cathy says:

    Oh my goodness. A nightmare view but hopefully with an improvement soon. Housing development is the main reason we have moved further out into the countryside – next to my old garden with the rockery and giant trees they are going to sell off plots for 40 houses… building will be by the individual buyers, which means at least five years of building noise. Their garages will back almost up to our fence, which means there is just enough room for them to put their rubbish bins, compost bins and any other unsightly stuff on our border… But we are lucky and where we are now (most of the time) we have absolute peace and quiet amid farming land. Let’s hope it stays that way! I do wish you lots of luck Frank. Keep us posted on the tree planting.

    • bittster says:

      Oh no Cathy. I always imagined your garden as a mountain retreat with nearby fields and woods to wander through and few and far-between neighbors. 40 new neighbors (right next door) is a lot.
      As far as closeness, our zoning prevents the industrial park from building and operating too close to the property line, which I think would be a different case for housing, but last night the weather was warm enough to have a window open and the truck moving and beeping noises were quite annoying. I far prefer crickets.
      We’ll see how it goes…

  2. Ouch. And are those the high-intensity sodium lights? (although they don’t look to be that telltale orangey-pink in your photo) Hopefully they will get those trees in place sooner rather than later. Looking forward seeing your forestry work! 🙂

    • bittster says:

      I’m anxious to see the trees in place so I can get a definitive idea of how much to complain. Right now it’s terrible, but….
      I don’t think they’re sodium lights, there are a few older ones which I believe are, but these are more likely retina frying LED lamps. I’m still hoping they can tilt them a bit so the light goes down more rather than so much out.

  3. I am so sorry. I hope they do right by you. I am dubious about the longevity of transplanted 30ft. Norway spruces.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, that was my first thought as well, but they’re up for it and I’m not paying, so….
      While I wait for the trees to live or die I’m sure a few seedlings will go in between and behind. I’m thinking either Serbian spruce or Green Giants 🙂

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh Frank, I hate this for you. How disappointing. The only good thing is that they are trying to do something. I hope it works out well for you.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Lisa. It sure is a change from our dark and silent former neighbor, but I’m still hoping it will work out for the best and it doesn’t annoy me every time I look out a window!

  5. Hmmm… To think you picked a quiet spot for your new home a few years ago…

  6. Christina says:

    Oh dear Frank. I know you are trying to be positive and good for you for trying but my heart goes out to you. Noise and bright lights – my worst nightmare. Plant some good trees your side of the border too, that way you’ll at least loose the boundary and you can plant them strategically where they will work best.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Christina. I will keep that in mind and put a few things in even though I treasure my full-sun, still relatively open backyard. I guess I will have to make a choice though, and it might be worth it to loose the border and make the yard feel larger again.

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    I admire your determined positive attitude. Hopefully all will be well.

  8. Peter Herpst says:

    I hope that the new “forest” does block the horrible view! Fingers crossed that it doesn’t take them eight more years to accomplish that feat.

    • bittster says:

      Hah, yeah. I could grow some decent trees in 8 years if I know I have the time, so hopefully they keep moving.
      Right now they have markers for where the trees will go. I don’t know what forests they’ve been looking at but this looks more like a line of trees to me. I may need to talk with them again.

  9. I am so very sorry, Frank, that you are going through this trauma. Hopefully, the Norway spruce trees will successfully block the view without obstructing too much light. (Otherwise, I can see you’ll be planning a new shade garden.) I applaud your positive attitude and am praying for the best result. P. x

  10. ARGH! That’s awful! Well, I hope the Norway Spruce work out. Anything tall and thick and green would be an improvement.

  11. Years ago we visited the Lawrence Rockefeller estate in Vt. We stood on their beautiful front porch and looked at the view of the Green Mts. as we were told they purchased the “view shed” to protect it. Money certainly helps in these situations. Though I must add they also created the first conservation national park in the USA in that area. I would think about adding a few different evergreens on your side as Norway Spruce are not the prettiest trees and they usually have a lot of bare branches on the bottom. It’s always something, isn’t it!

    • bittster says:

      I’m glad you agree Norway spruce are not the most attractive trees. They’re not terrible, but I’m picturing the whole yard taking on a gloomy cemetery vibe as the trees grow and begin to suck up all the sun and loom over the yard. That must be a 100% gardener opinion since the other neighbors are excited about the trees.
      I will definitely be planting other things. I’m still hopeful that I can get a few loads of soil dumped in my own yard for leveling and planting. If that happens it’s bad news for the meadow garden but easy come easy go I guess…
      Unless we still win the lottery and can move to somewhere we own the view shed!

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