By the middle of last week, Yukon Dreessen, of Davenport, was getting used to people stopping by the house he and his dad, Brett, are working on across from Davenport West High School.
That's because of the huge — huge — silver maple tree cut up in pieces in the front yard.
The Dreessens hired a professional to cut down the tree after a substantial branch crashed into the house in an overnight windstorm the second week in April, damaging the front door and a portion of the roof.
The branch was so large that a piece of it landed in the back yard on the other side of the house.
The Dreessens live elsewhere and learned about the crash when a police officer called them at 6 a.m. one morning.
I stopped one day last week as I was driving down Locust on assignment. I carry a tape measure with me in case — in the interest of accurate reporting — I have to measure something.
The diameter of the tree's trunk measured 4¾ feet.
But what's more amazing is that the tree was even wider a little farther up. With Yukon's help, I measured the circumference of a piece lying on the ground at roughly 20 feet, six inches. Yes, 20 feet.
And the side facing Locust was hollowed out with rot. "You could almost sleep in there," Yukon said of the space.
And he's right. The photos I took, shown here, don't do it justice. Within the hollowed-out part was a lot of crumbled tree matter and, in one spot, a little fistful of fur, as though left by an animal who once took shelter there.
P.S.: As I continued down Locust, I stopped to snap a photo of the bear sculpture at Clark Street that was decorated for Easter. Then I turned down Gaines for the annual treat of blooming daffodils, scattered all over Dan Kloppenborg's front yard.
There's lots to see in Davenport. Everywhere.
THE JUNK PHENOM: Tom Callahan, a promoter of the big flea markets in Maquoketa, Iowa, says he isn't sure what's driving it, but crowds have nearly doubled in the past year or so after holding steady at about 2,000 for 30 years.
Maybe it's that his daughter began advertising on social media, or maybe it's that he's added the word "vintage" to what's available.
While fine antiques are in a downward spiral, random old junk sells like crazy.
Callahan points to the wild popularity of Junkstock at Sycamore Farms, a vintage market in Omaha that combines junk with food and music. Items include dinged-up furniture, globes, buckets, tires (painted wild colors), clocks, cameras, jars, metal fans ... and on and on.
Such shows also attract treasure hunters and collectors because one doesn't want to miss something, he said. "Once it's gone, it's gone."
The Maquoketa show will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Details are on Page D2.