Monday, January 11, 2010

Bag dad

They’re the windsocks in the willows. The pennants in the pines. The streamers in the sycamores. It’s around this time of year that plastic bags in trees seem to be everywhere in Chicago. As I write this, I can see three plastic bags billowing beautifully in the breeze. After a long winter (or two or three) of being battered in the trees by cold and snow and ice and rain, the bags are often in tatters, shredded plastic clinging to a few small limbs. It’s a tribute to the brute force of Chicago winds that the bags ever do disappear from the trees.

Tonight, though, I did something barbaric—and incredibly satisfying. There was a plastic bag in our neighbors’ elm, in plain view of our bay window. I went to the basement and got our tree trimmer, an extendable pole with a serrated blade and a snipper on the end. I got most of the bag off with a few lashes of the blade. The rest of the bag—a little stub made up of the handles—was knotted around a branch. I cut the whole branch, tugging on the cord that operates the spring-loaded snipper. I reeled in the branch and the bag remnants like Babe Winkelman reels in fish. The remains are photographed above.


Karla said...

Good for you...I'd like to think I'd do the same thing. And I surely can understand the satisfaction of such a deed.

Bag Snaggers said...

We're in the NYC area and feel the same way about the problem of bags in trees. In fact, we designed and patented a tool called the Bag Snagger to tackle the problem. People heard about it, so we started manufacturing them and have sold them to New York Parks & Recreation, Central Park and many other across the country. Our web site is You're welcome to get in touch with us anytime at By the way, I really like your nicknames for bags in trees like "streamers in the sycamores." We learned that in Ireland they're known as "witches' knickers." Regards, Bill McClelland