Monday, June 02, 2008

Tree Tales - Day Two

If you haven't read the previous post "Electrical MalFunction" (below this one), please read that one first.

I fell asleep early on Saturday night while Jay was still sharpening his chain saw. When I drove up the hill on Sunday morning (while Jay was still asleep), I could tell he'd been at work. This is what I saw:

The road/driveway was cleared! This picture (above) is a little deceptive, since you can't see anything to the left. Everything here almost looks "normal"

After Jay woke up we both went up the hill to get to work. It didn't take long for the humidity to kick in… it was a hot, sweaty job, requiring numerous sit-down in the shade breaks. The picture below was taken after several hours of work.

The work rolls have always been rather clearly defined in our family when it comes to tree-stuff. Jay does the "skilled labor", i.e., the chain saw stuff. I (and/or various off-spring) do the non-skilled labor, i.e., the picking up, carrying, stacking stuff. This day was no exception, although Jay had to start off with the loppers just to find a path to something he could use the saw on. He lopped, I carried… smaller leaf laden branches and twigs, that is. He decided that we'd stack them all along an edge of the driveway that is actually on Amon's front lawn area.

He says we're going to let them sit there and dry awhile, then burn them right there. (The grass will grow back, and supposedly it might actually be good for the soil.) He said to try and keep the stack four feet high or less, but to just keep making it longer. Well it's about 30 feet long right now and as of quitting time yesterday, there is probably about that much more to add to it that we haven't gotten to yet. Yippeee… all that carrying, with the distance getting further and further… free exercise, who could ask for more? In the picture above, you can't even see the part that goes around the bend in Amon's driveway.

When Jay got to a point that he could use the chain saw, my duties doubled… I was no longer just the "carrier" of small branches, I was also the small twig de-foliage-er. The branches he was cutting had leaves and twigs growing all over them. In order to have a well ordered wood pile, all those twigs would need to be clipped off. That was my new job, and much preferable to branch-carrying, although I had to alternate between the two.

The most rewarding part was seeing wood piles beginning to form…. Jay says we'll take the trailer up and pick them all up at once when we are done. I love the look of (orderly) woodpiles, I think they lend "atmosphere". If he wanted to leave them sit there all summer, I wouldn't mind at all.

This is a rather photogenic wood pile, don't you think? (below)

In the picture above you can see part of the oak tree that is stuck in the other tree. There were more that Jay pulled down, but he'll have to get the tractor to pull this one out, it's stuck high up. Originally I thought that tree had been destroyed, but it actually only lost a few branches while breaking the fall of the Oak.

In addition to my jobs as "carrier" and "clipper", I decided to bring up the lawnmower and attached little wagon thing… and rake up the leaves and small stems that were covering the ground. It sure seemed simpler and less messy and more instantly gratifying to me than sifting through them for sticks and small branches (and carrying them to that pile)…and leaving the leaves on the grass for Jay to "mow up" with the brush hog. (HIS plan)

I tried to get Jay to concentrate his efforts in one area so when he was done and after I'd clipped and carried all the wood to the pile and all the branches to the other pile… I could rake it up, scoop up the leaves and see nice "clean" lawn again. That's important to me, being able to SEE progress. Jay didn't "get it", but at least he tolerated it.

We have a LOT of White Oak on our property… and I've always wondered about the little white balls shown below… And now I got a close up look. CREEPY!

Jay has always said they are part of the tree, like acorns are. I never really bought that story, and especially with the close up look here. I always thought they were either a disease or bug-related. Hehe… I was RIGHT. I just spent time on the internet verifying that fact. They are "galls" produced by some kind of insect for whatever stage of their life. It wasn't clear if they laid eggs in there, or if the balls were just the tree's reaction to them feeding on it. I think both. Later in the summer the white turns to brown. Like I said, they are VERY creepy.. soft looking and you can see veiny stuff inside them. I was very careful to look before "carrying" any branches.

Amon showed up to help after he got off work at three in the afternoon. By that time, we'd made a lot of progress, but his help was surely welcome. He could take over part of my duties!

As you can see the main part of the tree is now pretty "naked". What you can't really see is that there is still a huge mess behind it… far from the pile where I'm supposed to carry the branches to.
I told Amon to "pose".. This is the result (above)

I got Amon to stand by the roots of the tree, to show perspective of how big it was at the base. The hole (not pictured) is about four feet deep and very muddy. I thought about asking him to get in it, but decided that would really be pushing it.

The tree behind Amon's trailer (below) will have to wait to get any attention. As you can see it got major damage also.. about one third of it broke off. Luckily it broke AWAY from his trailer, and newly coated roof.


Yesterday I had some thoughts that I will now bless you with….

I was thinking how much I admire Jay for being the hands-on-guy that he is, especially at our "advancing age". There is just about nothing that he can't do or will at least attempt when it comes to maintenance of our property.

Jay takes care of our roads with the tractor, fixes any plumbing, electrical, or structural problems, many vehicle problems, appliance mal-functions, and other stuff (that I can't remember right now). Yeah, sometimes he might be a bit slow at it.. but he (usually) CAN do it and usually, he DOES. It seems to me that he often does physical work that most men half his age would shudder at even considering.

I actually find that a very attractive quality in a man…. Possibly even "sexy" haha… Yes, even more appealing than a man who is accomplished at other more genial things like lounging on a yacht, dressing in the current fashion, or sipping exclusive wines. (not that I would mind doing that at times… minus the superficiality and switching the wine for beer, that is.)

(However, sometimes I DO wish he'd just pay someone.)

I took it on myself to ask one of our neighbors (who stopped over to check out the mess) if they had a wood splitter… Jay usually just does it all by hand with a splitting maul! BUT I'd hate to see him even attempt it this time. Heck, there is no way I want him laid up in bed with a back problem! They DO (have a splitter) and she said we are welcome to borrow it. (YAY!!) I'm not even sure how Jay's chain saw can cut through the diameter of that tree… I think he needs a bigger one for that… like a logger's chain saw or something. He's probably been thinking about this little problem already.

What I do know for sure is that this project is far from over.

Tidying Up - Monday Morning

This morning I went up the hill to survey the tree-mess situation and was surprised to see that Amon had done a LOT of work after Jay and I left.

I spent the morning "tidying up" the area. It looks sooo much better now. There is nothing on the ground except the main trunk various sizes of branches that still need to be cut (and possibly split) to the right size to burn in our stove.. no leaves, no small branches…

I had to hurry because another "severe" storm is supposed to be on it's way, and after that, another one tonight! I just hope the storms don't blow around my neatly stacked leafy branches which are waiting to be burned.

We now have TWO rather decorative wood piles. I really think they provide "atmosphere" to the place, right? In the foreground is one of two piles of smaller branches that still need to be cut.

Those big chunks (below) will have to wait to join the wood pile. That's man-work… I could barely roll them into line. They are heavier than they look.

Just yesterday, this area (above) which is behind the main trunk was full of large and small leafy branches and the ground was covered with leaves and sticks. Now all that remains is the small pile of branches to be cut up.

I feel much better now. AND with storms coming the next couple days, that's it for now.

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