1. Call your neighbor and let them know it happened, so you can coordinate any details about what will happen next.
2. Take pictures of everything, from multiple angles. But stay clear of the area directly under the tree, for your own safety in case it shifts and falls further.
3. Call your insurer. They may tell you to call a particular tree service to come cut up the tree, or they might tell you to find a service on your own and send them the bill to reimburse you, or they may handle the call for you. Regardless, you want their green light before you shell out any of your own money to have the tree cut up. Make sure they also know about the fence and any other damage that you will be claiming.
4. Assuming the fence is on your property, then you will need to get a quote to repair the fence, and again you will need to coordinate with your insurer on whether you need to get multiple quotes or need to use a pre-approved service to whom they refer you.
5. Depending on the type of tree, it can be nice wood, so if you want to keep the wood, then let the tree service know when you call. I’ve had a service quote me a different price based on whether or not they got to keep the wood (so they could re-sell it as firewood.)
6. Assuming you kept the wood, saw it into a set of half-inch thick planks, and allow it to age in a dry area such as your garage for at least a week.
7. From the set of wood planks, select a few with the least blemishes or signs of warping. Cut them down to about a yard long and about four inches wide. You’ll need about 24 of them but cut a few extra just in case.
8. Forge a set of two thin iron bands about 28 inches long and an inch wide. Curve each of them into a ring, and weld the ends together to create two hoops. Call your insurer again and let them know if you intend for metal working to become a regular hobby.
9. Harvest your rye when the field is a golden amber color, the days are growing shorter, and there is just a hint of chill in the night air to tease the coming winter.
10. Create a mash with about 80 percent rye and malted rye and 20 percent malted barley. Cook it down and cool it with maybe a cup of yeast. Be sure this is fresh yeast, not previously fermented.
11. Use the spare room in your basement to let the rye ferment while you return to your wooden staves. Keeping them wet, bow them enough to them into an oak barrel. Consider some mild scorching of the interior of the barrel to enhance the smoky flavor, but don’t overdo this. Call your insurer again and make sure you are covered for fire insurance prior to this step.
12. Run the fermented rye through your homemade still. Keep an eye out for revenuers.
13. Befriend your neighbor and casually work into the conversation that you enjoy a good artisanal whiskey. See if he has similar tastes.
14. Transfer your rye whiskey into the new oak barrel. Call your insurer and see if your homeowners policy covers your new liquor inventory. Hang up quickly when they ask if you are legally allowed to distill whiskey in your home.
15. Allow the rye to age. Develop a deeper friendship with your neighbor and reminisce about that time when his tree fell on your fence.
16. Pour the rye over ice in a set of two suitable tumblers. Walk over to your new fence and pass one of the two glasses to your neighbor, thanking him for the gift of his tree.