One of the earliest photos I posted on this site, when I was still getting the hang of digital photography in 2002, was of a fungus on a tree in our front yard. Here’s what it looked like…

old fungus photo

…and here’s what I had to say about it at the time.

There also seem to be some hints that it might indicate a rot problem, but most sites say nothing about that and the tree is clearly in excellent health so I’m not inclined to worry.

Maybe I should have been more inclined to worry, because here’s what the tree it was growing on looks like now.

broken tree

Some time on Monday, during the most torrential downpours I can remember since I was growing up in New Zealand, about half the tree ended up either in our neighbor’s yard or across the hedge, having snapped about six feet above the branch-stub where the fungus had grown. It wasn’t all rotten in there, but now that it’s all down on the ground it’s easy to see that quite a bit of it was. The neighbors say it fell around 4pm; Cindy and I didn’t notice until a little past 7pm after Amy was in bed. We immediately trimmed some branches to minimize damage to our neighbors’ small Japanese maple, which I think will survive minus a branch or two. Cindy and her parents did some more cleanup on Tuesday, but the thickest part of the trunk is still lying across the hedge until the tree-removal people take care of it.

The funny thing is that, when I got home around 5pm in the pouring rain, I remember thinking, “Somebody’s going to drop a branch; I hope it’s not one of ours.” Well, it was, but we were a bit lucky. The tree that fell could just as easily have fallen toward the house, or onto the fence, or it could have wiped out our phone lines. Alternatively,we have some other trees with sizeable dead limbs or branches, including the one close to the road that I had actually been worrying about. Oh, the joys of home ownership.