Wednesday, April 16

Future firewood

For the past month or so, I’ve had a bad feeling about one of our trees. It’s a bull or digger pine, over 100 feet (30m) tall, that is very slowly falling down. A couple of weeks ago, Karla reached up to touch one of its branches; she was about a foot (30cm) short. Today she easily grasped the branch which had also moved to the right a considerable distance, indicating that the tree was on its way down. When it falls, it will probably take its companion with it since they’re practically touching at ground level. We will have a huge mess to clean up if we want to use the only road out of here. One good thing is that they will fall perpendicular to the road so it will require minimum cutting to clear out. A few years ago I drove home and found a similar tree on the road, but it fell parallel and I had to cut out 50 feet (15m) of wood to get it out of the way, and that was after walking about a mile (1.6km) uphill to get home for the chain saw. And that was during the hottest (41°C) time of summer. And I was hungry (70°C). And thirsty (80°C). And tired (90°C). And grumpy (100°C).

When these two trees fall, they will take out a fence and a major portion of a beautiful white oak on the other side of the road. And that’s right near an enormous live oak that got blasted to the ground this winter when it was hit by lightning (1,000,000°C). We have four or five woodshedfuls (36.25 cubic meters) of firewood coming up, if we can get through all the cutting and hauling and splitting and stacking and storing and—oh man, I hope they don’t fall when the weather is really hot. And the snow is hip-deep (100cm).


Pete S. said...

To protect the white oak, do some preemptive work before the pine falls: hoist a stick of dynamite to a high branch. It will reduce the height of the pine enough so that when it falls, it won't reach the oak.

If you feel uneasy about this, get some local teenagers. They'll have no reservations, and will do the work for free, even if it's very hot and the snow is deep.

Tom Hurley said...

If we place the dynamite correctly, we won’t have that much cutting-into-firewood work, either. Trouble is, we would have to place the dynamite only about 30 feet up, since that’s how far away the oak tree is. Which means almost the entire tree will be blown to bits and we would have to cover several acres collecting the pieces. I like the part about the teenagers, though. I’ve seen them working in deep snow when the weather is really hot.