Category Archives: lifestyle

Why we are arborists

Tree work is difficult at the best of times. It is performed outside, in all kind of weather. We lift heavy loads, with uncertain footing. It is seasonal, and weather dependent. We deal with dogs, neighbours, physics, insurance companies, and all the challenges of small business ownership!

So why the heck would we choose to do this kind of work?

Believe it or not, we think it’s fun. Unlimited vigorous activity! Fresh air! Suntans! Cool gear! We don’t need a gym membership (we still have one for the winter training and hot tub!)

 But really…

  • We like making the world a better place. I love pruning apple trees! Deadwooding and shaping an apple tree will ensure that it will have a long, and healthy life, bringing beauty and fruit production to your yard. It is so rewarding to remove dead or dying trees close to homes, and buildings. And understanding and applying the physics of tree felling, rigging, and pulleys makes me occasionally want to time travel back to Grade Two Reta and say, Simple machines will be useful!
  • Nature or nurture – its just the way we are! Chris and I both came up in heavy construction (it is actually part of the story of how we met. I made a smart ass comment and he asked how I knew that. I replied, I’m a truck driver. He says, me too. Ahh, young love!) Chris grew up in a gravel pit, and started driving gravel trucks as soon as he was tall enough. In a similar theme, I started driving the grain truck as soon as I was tall enough, on the farm I grew up on. We both grew up seeing our parents face the challenges of entrepreneurship, and enjoy the benefits.
  • Our customers – It sounds super hokey, but it is the truth. Many of our customers have turned into friends, and aunties or grandmas for Isobel. I love running into our customers at Superstore or Canadian Tire, and chatting up a storm. As we enter our seventh year in Brandon, I am filled with gratitude and amazement at how lovely our customers are. Thank you!

If you would like to change things up in your yard, call Reta to schedule a quote at 204-730-0368 or use our handy online quote form here. And before you hire any arborists, check out 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

Smoky nights and hot days!

I remain positive and enthusiastic all the time, even in the face of adversity. I am excited at 6am when we get to drive trucks and run heavy equipment. I can summon a dizzying hustle at the end of the day, even if there is a huge pile of logs standing in my way of getting home. This is my super power. It is a must if you are going to be an entrepreneur for more than ten minutes. It means scrubbing the toilets when staff doesn’t show up (another lifetime); it means emergency trips to the equipment dealer in Winnipeg, it can mean long days and longer nights. We are in the middle of an epically challenging year. From the weather (too cold, too cold, too cold – OMG IT IS TOO HOT), to the fires and construction that Brandon has endures (our shop is right across the train tracks from the fires that hit Brandon, and our post office box burned down), and it seems like every piece of equipment we own has needed serious repairs (new transmission for the big truck, new engine for the little truck, an overhaul for the stump grinder, and a tune up for my truck. Oh and then a tree fell on my trailer. Sheesh.)

We have had trouble retaining employees. Tree work is heavy, can be repetitive, and we work in all kinds of weather. We are up front about the unique joys and challenges of tree work, but maybe people don’t believe us? Underestimate us?

And all these problems we have been having, I hesitate to bring up because of the terrifying shifts in global politics. Chris is a first generation Canadian, and I was oft reminded of my farmer pioneer ancestors as a child. It seems like a deeply polarizing time in the world, where we have forgotten all the hard won lessons of the 20th century.

I am here at the office on a Friday night, catching up on paperwork because of the babysitter being sick for half of the week. Isobel is super helpful with many things, but not so much the paperwork. My take out was late, my credit card would not work….

So the cherry on top of this whole thing is that I had one more packet of papers to staple and I had just run out of staples. I went to the supply drawer and opened the box backwards, dumping all the staples out. And I started laughing. Not in a worrisome way, but weird because I am by myself. The thing is, I don’t know if I would choose another path. Chris’s quote of the summer has been “I barely survive, but I do so on my own terms.” Crazy as it sounds, I belong to a group of people who will sometimes succeed, and will sometimes fail, and sometimes do insane things – but they do it on their own terms (remember that dog rescue, Lydia?) I come from a long time of lady business owners, producers, and farmers. I do not want to tempt fate, but I am glad I can surf these challenges, and hopefully land on a peaceful shore (whatever that looks like)

My friend Teri at Brown Sugar Produce (who grows my delicious vegetable CSA) says something about taking care of the important things so that they will last. To that, I am only going to do a bank deposit and three quotes tomorrow, then go to the beach with Chris and Isobel.

If you would like to see my superpower in action, call Reta at 204-730-0368. If you would like to heed my wisdom, stay in school and hug your family.

If you are thinking about hiring an arborist, read 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

What makes us different

When we started Bee EZ Tree Service six years ago, we would often ask ourselves, “What makes us different from other tree services in Brandon?”

I would usually come up with ninja air slicing, and declare that we would be the best chain saw tree surgeons ever (which we are).

But over and over again, our customers tell us how much they appreciate being able to get us on the phone, and are thankful that we return calls. They love that we show up on the date we say, at the time we said (unless we change the date and time, which we communicate with them) They marvel at how tidy it is when we leave. Of course, I took these essential traits about myself and the business that Chris and I were building for granted. I overlooked these habits, because I thought you were supposed to pick up the phone and return phone messages? I thought that you were supposed to show up when you said you would? Business 101

And when you make a mess – I thought you were supposed to clean it up.

So despite becoming a pretty efficient chainsaw wielding team, it is these basic things that people love. When our customers tell their friends, it is that we are nice, polite, and tidy.

So if you would like an arborist that you can get on the phone, who shows up when they say, and who cleans up when they leave – call Reta at 204-730-0368 to schedule a no-cost yard assessment or we can talk about the good old days!

A handy list if you are looking to hire an arborist 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

Renovations in the yard

While we are cozy behind windows, and underneath blankets, is a great time to dream about how we want to change our yards next spring. It is an excellent time to assess the shape, growth, and some aspects of the health of trees – when they are naked without leaves!

We like to ask what people would like to use their yard for – relaxing respite from the modern world, for the kids to run around, to grow food – there are many ways to design the space around our homes. I suppose the fancy name for how we look at your yard is “holistically” meaning the parts are interconnected, and part of a bigger whole. An example of a question I would consider is how does one tree being pruned or removed affect the rest of the yard? Or how do you want to use the yard? We once did a large removal of five spruce trees – lovely – but planted very close to the house. The homeowner couldn’t walk outside because there was so much sap on her patio and the surrounding area. It was a tough decision, but one that the homeowner ultimately was delighted with. She re-landscaped and now has the backyard sanctuary that she wanted!

My seed order came today, which means that soon we will be out there, puting our dreams and plans into action!

If you would love to talk space and possibilities, or marvel at this late in the season snow dump, call Reta at 204-730-0368

Life happens

Several times this summer, folks have told me how they should have taken care of this tree five years ago. Or they apologize for how overgrown something is. Basically, something is not the way they want it (tree, hedge etc) and it has been that way for a while. One lady told that she had lived in the house for seventeen years, and had been worried about the tree falling for that long.

Who knew I was in the good sleep biz?

There is an old Chinese saying “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is right now.”

There are lots of things we “should” have done yesterday, last month, last year etc. But life happens. People get sick, or busy, or sidetracked, or focused on the kids, the job, the team.

If that tree is a worry – let’s talk about it. If those hedges mean you are losing sleep – let’s get on that. By all means, call Reta at 204-730-0368

DIY Homesteader Fest – June 24, 2017

We are back by popular demand! (Someone must like us…)

Chris and I will be attending the DIY Homesteader Fest, on June 24, 2017, in Teulon, MB. This is an every-two-years festival, bringing together a really neat group of people, to learn, and share skills.

Chris will be teaching you how to make nearly anything into delicious booze (Country Wine) I (Reta) along with my best bud Danielle with be co-facilitating two workshops – Everyday Kraut – basic how-to make sauerkraut, and Seed Crackers!

Let me know if you have any questions or where the party is – 204-730-0368

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Look out behind those bushes!

Look out for this guy!

When we look to solve problems, we often look to our own professional experience. Makes sense! An accountant may suggest that a budget makes owning a home easier (but not as fun!) A contractor may suggest a new bathroom (good idea!) A locksmith may suggest a new lock (do you see where I am going with this?)

A recent article in Popular Mechanics about home security listed the normal “update your locks” suggestions that you already know, but what jumped out at me was the importance of landscaping. Read article >>>>

Being able to see clearly out of the front door and windows means that someone cannot hide, or get close to the house without attraction notice. It would be helpful if burglars wore little black masks and striped shirts, but in real life, I don’t think they do. A well lit home, with nicely pruned trees is an excellent start.

Call Reta if you’d like to talk security strategies 204-730-0368

It is the season for snuggling

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Smiles 2016

As the snow has finally hit, after an uncertain month – ones thoughts turn to the important matters. “Do I have enough hot chocolate on hand, if I get storm stayed?” “How much turkey can I eat this month?” “Are cheese grilled sandwiches their own food group? Or some sort of crazy synergy between butter, cheese and bread?”

But all joking aside, as the pace of life slows, we tend to look back and look forward. 2016 had a lot more challenges than we could have anticipated. It was also one of our busiest years ever. Maybe it just felt that way as we juggled diapers and logs.

We completed some of our largest removals ever.

Chris is the poplar guy at the party

It was estimated by our firewood guy, Bill that he loaded nearly 20,000 lbs of wood from these trees. THOSE were some big trees!

We dealt with a lot of logs! We made up log dances, and log songs – but in the end, we just moved a lot of wood!

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Logs logs logs!!

We developed new ways of dealing with juniper…which at one point, may have been the bane of my existence. I had totally underestimated the depth and involvement of this juniper bush a few years back and we were there for way too many days. The homeowner was very patient, but it was tough. It was 40 degrees, I was pregnant, tough times!

So Chris developed the truck removal! Which involves chains. Now this is normally something we would advise against – when the stump breaks free, it does not have brakes, and therefore, that clump is technically out of control. He advanced, braked, and then backed up. Repeating this action means wiggling the roots back and forth, then popping it out like a tooth. Low speed means more control.

Chaining juniper up is the only solution

What a beautiful day to take my juniper for a walk!

Once again, we entered into a storm season. Every year, we think, all the trees that would be affected by storms have already been damaged/removed/pushed over. And yet every year, there seems to be a tree on a house, a tree on a car, someone who needs us on a Saturday morning. This year, we had an exciting day that took us from the North Hill, in Brandon, to Ninette, and then up to Carberry. It is really humbling to think of the size of that weather system and how many people it affected.

When spruce attack

Is there a tree on your house? Please call us – we can help!

We did have a few rough spots. Tree work is not for everyone, and we had to say good bye to a dear friend because of irreconcilable differences. Richard caught a chainsaw in the face in August, and is still under treatment (good news – he is driving again!) They managed to remove the piece in his eye and it turned out to be a chainsaw chain tooth – there may have been something in the log that he was cutting that interacted with the saw. First aid training and excellent response time from the ambulance made all the difference.

What a difference a year makes!

Eight months pregnant on the left – ten month old baby on the right!

We will spend the winter dreaming, planning, and getting our equipment ready for 2017. We tend to renovate in our downtime. We also plan to spend time with friends and family.

We wish your family that happiest holiday season and good health in the New Year!

Pruning for fruit

We recently had the chance to revisit the little orchard east of town, where we pruned last year. The Brandon Community Garden Network, who host weekly workshops, invited us back to talk techniques, about how we assess a tree, and safety.

I couldn’t resist the blossoms!!

If you have some trees that need a haircut, give Reta a call at 204-730-0368

And a bonus!! We saw this cute little guy – debates were had – moth? Bee? What was he?


Hummingbird hawk moth!

Click here to learn more!!

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