Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘branches

Rewarding Effort

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The big lumberjack project enters its third day today and the weather appears to be holding just long enough that we can reach a satisfying level of completion. The area around where we brought down this tree is on a corner of our property that probably gets the least amount of attention, and now that we are poking around the vicinity, the potential for more clean up is becoming apparent.

There was a fair-sized pile of branches already on the ground beneath the bonus box elder limb that came down, swallowed by growth that obscured its presence. We could probably be chipping for longer than I intended, but I will be happy to simply process the new piles created since cutting the trees down on Friday.

While a farmer harvested corn across the road, I spent yesterday sawing limbs to pieces and pulling branches into piles to be chipped. Cyndie brought Delilah down for a visit and helped with the clean up until she ran out of time before an outing in the cities to see the Nutcracker ballet.

The quick onset of dusk forced me to stop with the logging operation and move on to horse chores. That has left a few more runs of hauling logs up to the wood shed and then some serious chipping for today. There are at least three piles of branches that I’d love to have processed, after which the project will feel pleasingly accomplished.

Already, the progress thus far is rewarding. Last night, in the bright moonlight on Delilah’s last walk before bed, I took her the long way around our hay-field just so I could walk past the spot to look at it another time.

Rewarding, indeed.

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2017 at 9:17 am

So Windy

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DSCN2755eNot today, please. It’s too cold. All night long the wind has been making its presence known with gusts that cause our log home to creak.

With a little sunshine and calm air, the bitter cold of arctic high pressure systems is tolerable this time of year. Sure, we would prefer to bask in the warmth of mild waning winter days, but we are still in cold-mode around here, and it is February, after all. We can do extreme cold.

But the wind, that is another thing. It literally puts the bite in biting cold. Today, that bites.

We have company coming to soak up the vibes of Wintervale Ranch, be with our horses, maybe do a chore or two, and definitely play with Delilah. I’m afraid the wind may just push the activities indoors where we will sit by the fire or work in the kitchen on something that involves baking in a warm oven.

Since taking ownership of a property that involves multiple acres of wooded land, I have gained a new awareness of how significantly the blowing wind impacts trees in a forest. I feel an increased trepidation about the well-being of our trails and fences.

DSCN2752eNot a day goes by that I don’t find evidence of new pieces of trees laying in the snow. Usually, they are small, probably snapped off by the activity of an aggressive squirrel. After a windy day, the size of branches finding their way to the ground increases dramatically.

There is no mystery as to the phrase “winds of change.” Our woods are changing constantly from the gusts of moving air. That is a new perspective for me. The growth of trees happens slow enough that we often don’t even notice. I tended to see forested land as protected space, preserved from development.

On the contrary, the woods are probably developing more than the grassy fields around them.

Even the dead and dying trees have a little life left in them. Outside our sunroom door on the side of our house that I refer to as the front, there is a tree that is folded over in two, after the upper half snapped in a fateful wind. In even the slightest breeze, that tree wails and moans from the wound. It makes a wide variety of eery sounds, especially at night.

The ability of wind to change the trees of a forest causes me to feel increased marvel over the majesty of the oldest and most grand of our trees. For a hundred years or more, these trees have braved countless gusts.

It occurred to me recently that in the years of life I have remaining, I will not see any new trees on our property achieve the grandeur and majesty of a hundred-year-old tree. What we have now is all I get. It makes them all the more precious.

It also makes the gusting wind all the more ominous.

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Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2015 at 11:01 am

Howling

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Howling

Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 29, 2014 at 6:00 am

Small Steps

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There was a surprise rain shower yesterday morning that saved me from watering the newly seeded drainage swale across the south pasture. It was a little victory for me. I checked the weather radar and spotted the small band of precipitation sliding across the region, but it was not clear that it would pass over us, and didn’t reveal how much rain would fall. In the end, it was more than I expected, after I reconciled the fact it was going to rain on us at all.

I turned over a couple piles of composting manure under the cover of trees until the rain started to fall in earnest. Then I puttered in the shop, putting a new blade on the trimmer in preparation for work clearing growth along the hay-field south fence. That is one of the projects that is currently a priority. I spent a little time in the barn, methodically dumping bags of feed into the bin as the ebb and flow of the varying rainfall rattled the metal roof.

The morning just seemed to disappear. I contacted the fence installer and the landscaper in hopes of initiating their work for us. Both hope to start on Wednesday, but only one said, “Rain or shine.” Another little victory, because the forecast is for rain.

DSCN2440eAfter lunch, some sunshine started to break through, and I headed down with the trimmer to clear along that fence. It wasn’t a big victory, because I only got a short distance, but the progress was worth claiming as a little victory. The going was slow. There are a fair number of downed branches that lie out of sight beneath the tall grass and weeds.

It is surprising how much strength it takes to pull a branch from the grip of blades of grass. It’s like velcro times a thousand. For that matter, pulling an entangled branch from among others is like separating super-strength velcro. When I look back to see what is stopping progress, and it turns out to be the simplest of angled growth hooked on another branch, it seems so unlikely. In this case, it is the branches that seemed to be enjoying little victories at my expense.

The work becomes exhausting. Progress is slowed because it must be made in smaller doses. By taking extra time to cut branches where they “Y” out, I will end up pulling shorter pieces with less entanglements. By cutting smaller strokes with the trimmer, I can reduce the number of times I hit wood or dirt and extend the life of the blade.

When we had the brown-post/4-wire fence installed initially, we stopped short of replacing that existing fence along the southern run. Now we intend to extend that portion. For a variety of reasons, it makes sense to make the improvement complete, not the least of which is, Legacy messes with that section when we let the horses out there because it is not electrified.

If I am able to get the full length of that southern run cleared today, and ready for removal by the fence contractor, I will be happy to claim a BIG victory. It just takes a compilation of many small steps.

Small steps, I can do.

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Written by johnwhays

September 30, 2014 at 7:05 am