Just as Grieg and Mari Lea Mayberry were getting ready for bed Sunday night, a ground-shaking THUD sent the couple scrambling to the back window to see what was amiss. What they found was a 100-year-old live oak tree lying on the side of their Stephenville home - the casualty of excess ground saturation.
“We thought it was either an earthquake or a car that hit the house,” Grieg said. “It shook our whole house.”
Grieg said they couldn’t believe it when they saw that all of the commotion was caused by one of their backyard live oaks that had crashed onto the house. When the self-professed “over-reactor” picked up the phone to call 911, his wife discouraged it.
“She thought I was overreacting again, but I told her, ‘If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know what is,’” he said. “The lights were flickering off and on and I was afraid the house would burn down.”
Grieg said the fire department arrived quickly at the scene to assess the damage.
“They (the fire crew) were concerned that the downed power lines would electrocute someone so they instructed us to stay out of the backyard,” Grieg said.
On Monday, crews from Jim’s Tree Service were on hand to chop down the tree that caused minor damage to the Mayberry’s home and damaged a neighbor’s tree and knocked out power for a short time.
Joey Prichard, a certified arborist and owner of Jim’s Tree Service, said the recent deluge of rain in the area caused the soil to become so soft that the tree tipped over. This particular tree was a multi-trunk tree that grew in close proximity to seven others. As the trees increase in diameter, they begin “pushing each other,” Prichard said.
“When we get this much rain there isn’t a lot of support left in the soil for the trees to hold onto and they just fall over,” he said.
Meanwhile, as the Mayberry’s deal with the hassle and try to get back to normal, they remain grateful that the damage wasn’t worse.
“Our neighbors have two young girls that play on their backyard swing set — and I’m just happy they weren’t outside playing when this happened,” Grieg said.
And as the clouds parted and the sun began shining in his backyard, the man who said he sometimes overreacts turned optimistic.
“The good news is we’re going to have plenty of firewood,” Grieg said, laughing. “We’re turning lemons into lemonade.”