Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

VDOT (Virginia's Destruction of Trees)

Spring in rural Virginia is beautiful. Flowers burst forth in a riot of color, the trees green up, nature is at its most spectacular—well, you get the idea.

This morning promised to be beautiful, until the sound of a chainsaw ripped into the stillness.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which doesn't have money to keep the roads in repair, apparently has plenty of money to send a crew and several pieces of equipment along the roads to hack up the trees, destroy wildlife habitat, and generally make a mess. For no good reason.

This is what I saw when we went to feed this morning:

I stood in the shop driveway and took this above picture while the crew—more than half a dozen guys hellbent on destruction—ripped into the trees across the road.

They lopped off branches willy-nilly, threw some of the branches into a chipper and the rest along the roadside. Any saplings along the road were changed to pungee sticks. I don't know where the birds went. The flock—the robins, mockingbirds, jays, titmice, grackels, and a cardinal pair that usually feed at my house and then roost in the roadside trees—took off.

Before long, the beautiful bushy cedars—shelter for a lot of the birds I feed—were caricatures of their former selves.

The VDOT crew turned their attention to the lovely white pines that line our property. Two along the road apparently were a problem. I begged them to leave the trees alone. They didn't.

Now the lower branches of my big pines are lopped off. I stood in the road and cried while VDOT desecrated them. The VDOT folks didn't give a damn.

Down the road to the farm, things were just as bad; even worse in places. This was the typical view along Blacksmith Road, a gravel road that few people travel:

Things were just as bad on my farm, which starts just before you come to Dinner Creek. Where the creek goes into a pipe under Blacksmith Road, VDOT threw limbs into the creek:

I have a picnic area just up from the creek. I'd even planted wildflowers in the trees along the road. Here's how it looks now:

Here's the entrance to the horse trail where they threw some limbs and shreds:

A little farther up, they shredded a bunch of trees:

Further up, I was looking forward to seeing this dogwood bloom. Dogwoods are dying of a blight, but this one had looked healthy. Or it did until VDOT cut it down:

Across the road from the ruined dogwood is my hayfield. Look how beautiful and green it is. Saplings along the edge used to prevent erosion; now they're shreds:

At the intersection, the stop sign was broken off a couple of years ago. Instead of replacing it, VDOT just put the stubby post back into the ground. VDOT can destroy trees but they can't replace a stop sign?

Here's what they use to trim along the roads. The bush-hog part goes into the air and takes out anything in its path (woe be unto any critter who gets in its way):

Now, VDOT can afford crews, equipment, and gas for its mass destrction of nature, but it can't fix the puddle and cracked pavement near my driveway?

Or the crumbling pavement and pothole across the road?

I don't understand. Can anybody explain the reason for VDOT's destruction?

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Anonymous Polly said...

The only thing worse is Asplundh's destruction on behalf of Dominion Power. They're "just doin' our job for Dominion Power, ma'am," hacking into our big old crepe myrtles. They have to cut them low enough that they don't have to trim them again for TEN or is it TWENTY years. I didn't make it easy for them!!!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Asplundh does the same for Appalachian Power around here. Between AEP and VDOT, the countryside is a mess. Especially since litter isn't picked up before they leave their mess on top. Neither AEP nor VDOT does much cleaning up, so the roadsides are unmowable after they've been through.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

I know it. They are a bunch of morans. They send 25 men to watch one man destroy property, meanwhile there are potholes all over our roads. I'm so sorry. File a complaint with VDOT. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. One very smart lady taught me that.

10:56 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

I'm with Amy - call and complain. Call your county supervisor and complain to that person, too.

11:47 AM  
Blogger The Blue Ridge Gal said...

I can't explain their destruction, but these photos make me thankful that we live on a private road. We may have to pay for our potholes and road maintenance, but at least we the homeowners get the say in how the place looks.... VDOT can just go suck eggs.

The Blue Ridge Gal

10:03 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

This is what you get when the contract goes to the lowest bidder, Asplundh... You get a bunch of unskilled clowns working fast & dirty, and not caring in the least about people's property. Yes trimming has to be done, but there is a right way, and unfortunately there's Asplundhs way. Anyone up for a class-action lawsuit? I 'd guess that hundreds of people in Frederick County Va would like to get in on that.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

You should see Fairfax. What a disgrace.

8:55 PM  

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