Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘trees

Lost Limb

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Well, just as I’d hoped, that unlikely balanced broken treetop has come down on its own in the wind. At least, that’s what we assume happened. I have no proof because we haven’t been able to find it again. While that horizontal segment was resting on the fracture point it was hard to miss. The straight flat line it created stood out like a sore thumb within the canopy of random vertical branches around it.

As soon as we discovered the horizontal segment was no longer up there, I started looking for the “topped” stub that should have remained. Can’t find it.

I’ve looked twice. It’s possible the bottom half has now toppled, as well, but there wasn’t obvious evidence of a newly fallen tree, either.

My next plan is to bring the photo with me to see if I can identify the trees around the trunk in question.

No matter how many times we walk our woods, the constant changes keep us confused about which tipped trees are new and which are ones we’ve already seen.

Jumping to another subject, one we would prefer disappeared on us… In the early morning darkness yesterday, Cyndie was in the barn getting feed for the chickens. She was going to put out a food pan under the overhang and flipped on the light before opening the door.

That must have startled the skunk that was out there, because when she opened the door to find Pepé Le Pew about a foot away, it blinked at her in confusion, giving her time to hastily retreat and close the door.

By the time she gathered her courage to open the top half of the door to see if a photo would be possible, the skunk had already disappeared.

I would like to find that mysterious missing limb, but I really don’t want to find that skunk again.

What do you think the odds are that Le Pew was making a one-time visit on the way to somewhere else?

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Written by johnwhays

November 22, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Showing Preference

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It’s been almost two years since a DNR forester walked our woods marking trees to be cut down to improve the overall health of the forest. Certain trees tend to have higher value for their qualities, oaks and maples chief among them, but also trees of a certain maturity. The biggest trees definitely stand out as our most impressive.

To show our big, old oaks the respect they deserve, the forester painted the smaller trees beneath them, marking which ones to cut down. It seems counterintuitive to cut down trees to save trees but considering the bigger picture, it is understandable.

Yesterday, Cyndie and I set out to make overdue progress on culling more of the red-dotted clutter beneath some of our preferred oaks. It was invigorating, exhausting, rewarding work.

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It’s not real obvious, but if you click on those images you can see more detail of the before and after of our effort around one particular majestic oak on the edge of our property.

Cutting down a relatively small tree is a simple act, but there is a surprising amount of follow-up work necessary to deal with all the branches suddenly on the ground. We’ve only just begun to cope with all the wood and branches the hours of work brought down yesterday. There is now a wealth of raw material awaiting our chipper and splitter.

There are also plenty more small trees with red dots yet to be cut. So much opportunity on just 10 acres of wooded land.

We laughed yesterday over the time we spent years ago clearing one section of all the downed branches and grinding them through the chipper. At the time, we thought maybe we could clean up all our land. When the following season revealed as many or more new branches filling the area we had previously cleared, we realized the folly of our intentions.

After cutting trees yesterday, we were dragging some of the trimmed branches into the middle of our woods to deal with them.

When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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Written by johnwhays

November 17, 2019 at 10:57 am

Golden Leaves

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Once again I find myself mind-boggled by the space-time continuum, as I perceive it, currently placing us in the middle of October when September seems like it didn’t even exist. For that matter, what the heck happened to August? It was here just a minute ago.

The 2019 autumn weather has not spawned a particularly noteworthy color display in the tree-lined vistas of my commute, but some of the trees on our land are sporting a fair amount of golden hues.

Looking out our kitchen window over the sink, this view caught my eye yesterday:

The magical enhancement of direct sunlight kicks up the attention-getting aspect of fall colors to 11. I stopped what I was doing (preparing Delilah’s and Pequenita’s dinners, much to Delilah’s dismay) to step outside with my camera to try for a capture of the spectacle before the light changed.

Honestly, the camera didn’t do it justice compared to the glory of naked-eye viewing, but it is still rewarding to see the dramatic difference from the wealth of deep greens the foliage in that scene usually provides during the summer.

I played with some post-processing for two additional views.

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Fall colors are so much fun. The best is when there are as many reds and oranges bursting at the same time as the golden yellows, but that mix is lacking this year.

Somehow, I would like to exercise a deepest possible comprehension that it is October 15th today, whatever that is. I blame my date disorientation on needing to plan months ahead all day long at the day-job. The fact that I am currently scheduling work in November seems like it should make time go slower for me when I notice we are still only in October, but for some odd reason the result is just the opposite.

Living in the moment is a luxury that I usually struggle to fully accomplish.

Giving our golden leaves my rapt attention is one way I can strive to absorb a fuller recognition of what day it is today.

It would help if the low spots around here weren’t still wet as a spring day. I must admit, my muddy wet boots are another reason my brain struggles to reconcile we are in the middle of the tenth month of the year.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Always Falling

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I never realized before owning acres of forest how consistently trees fall over. Something is always falling, whether we are around to hear it or not. Behind the barn sometime overnight an old dead snag gave up its vertical position to gravity.

I am glad it wasn’t any taller or there’d have been a dent in the barn roof.

This morning dawned soaking wet. Delilah had no interest in an extended walk before her breakfast and took every shortcut possible to show me her goal of getting back to the house after she had taken care of all her important business. I would have been happy to accommodate her, except we had some chickens also interested in a morning snack.

At least that gave Delilah a chance to take a pause inside the barn while I was opening the chicken door and throwing out some feed. She busies herself with futile attempts leaping toward the rafters in naive hope she might catch one of the pigeons roosting up high. I figure it’s good exercise for her.

Due to the rain, my deck project is halted just as I was beginning to get some momentum in removing screws and nails. I’ve decided to leave the boards in place after detaching them, giving something to [carefully!] walk on in place of just the joists. By flipping the boards over, it is easy to see which are no longer attached.

Step on at your own risk.

I also slid in one of the new boards to confirm the dimensions are what I was expecting. These are not what are considered deck boards by today’s standards. The person delivering the lumber called me with concern there might have been a mistake on the order, after Cyndie told him it was for our deck.

The deck was built long enough ago that they spaced the joists 24-inches on center and used 2×6 boards for the top surface. Now decks use 1-1/4-inch thick boards and require narrower joist spacing. The cheapest fix for our rotting boards was to replace them with treated boards in the original dimensions.

It’s like falling off a log, if you know what I mean.

And I know a lot about falling “logs.”

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Written by johnwhays

September 29, 2019 at 10:07 am

All Quiet

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All quiet in our little corner of Wobegon world this week. I was right about my suspicions that the burrowing woodchuck would show up again somewhere. Since we secured the window well, the pest spent time messing around the outside edges in search of a new way in. Just lovely.

Cyndie leaves for the lake today with friends of hers for the weekend and I will be partying at home alone with the pets. Maybe I’ll see if I can get Delilah to help me pull up the old deck boards. The new lumber has been purchased and already delivered in two stacks on the driveway.

So much for paying someone else to do the job. Think of the money we will save!

Mike has volunteered to help with installing the new boards, and we have a plan to hit that task next week. I would like to make some progress before then by pulling the old boards, if my bulging discs will allow.

That’s about all the news I have today. I’ll leave you with a scene of our skinny trees that Cyndie captured to show how the property is beginning to make the transformation toward leaflessness.

Peace!

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Written by johnwhays

September 27, 2019 at 6:00 am

Shedding Season

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The hours of daylight are changing noticeably, but there are other ways the change of seasons is becoming obvious lately. When we step outside our doors there is an interesting series of sounds coming from our giant oak trees. Are they shooting at us? No, it is just the pinging and slapping of acorns strafing the land.

It’s best to wear a stiff hat if you will be spending any time beneath the oaks this time of year. Oh, and walking on the lawn under the tree outside the front door is like navigating shag carpet with a giant Lego® set spilled across it.

While the trees are shedding acorns, our Belgian Tervuren is shedding her fur.

It seems counter-intuitive to be shedding in the fall, but in order to grow the winter coat, dogs will lose the lighter summer coat. Delilah is one of the breeds that have a double coat, with an undercoat of short, wooly hairs beneath the top coat of long hairs, so the shedding is a bit more obvious.

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So, around here this time of year, it’s not just acorns making a mess on the lawn.

Yeah, I wish it was just the lawn where the mess occurred. Delilah spends more of her time in the house, so you can imagine what our floors are looking like lately.

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2019 at 6:45 am

Like This

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It’s like this every year. The forest is constantly changing, but it becomes apparent suddenly all at once. It’s not as thick as it was before. Sightlines start to open up. It becomes easier to see deeper into our woods and I discover new and interesting spectacles.

This dead tree had sloughed its bark, but a vine prevented the old skin from dropping all the way to the ground, creating an eye-catching visual.

It’s also like this when deciding to go outside on a day of varying weather conditions. Our sky was a mix of sun and clouds yesterday, resulting in dramatic swings between cheery and gloomy. When I finally rallied to head outside to get something productive accomplished, the air was suddenly wet with waves of heavy mist.

My timing was off by about ten minutes. As fast as that precipitation arrived, it departed.

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Those two views were taken at the same time, first looking east, then turning around to the west.

The swings of dreariness messed with my motivation, such that I ended up puttering the day away nipping at the edges of doing something significant, but never really making much progress to speak of.

Some days, that’s just what it’s like around here.

At least it’s a beautiful place to be when not getting all that much done.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2019 at 7:41 am