Monday, August 22, 2011

Blocked Trail

The walking trails usually get at least one mowing per year. They should have been mowed in early July when the spring flowering plants were in decline. That didn’t happen this year. Rain and wind associated with the many violent spring storms effectively blocked the majority of trails. I’ll do some simple trail maintenance during the summer, but the removal of downed trees is winter work. The primary reason for this is to reduce damage to actively growing plants. A secondary reason is the fact that it’s just too hot to be doing that kind of work during the summer.

The majority of fallen trees were already dead. Frequent rains saturated the dead wood and made the tree tops heavier, while at the same time the saturated roots became soft and weak. The heavy winds did the rest. A few dead trees have always come down every year, but this year the numbers were in the dozens.

Many of the trees crossed and tangled as they came down. Some are precariously balanced against trees still standing. It takes some studying to determine which tree should be the first cut. I’ve seen trees in situations like this snap and forcibly throw wood shards for a considerable distance. I’m not anxious to become a recipient of such a projectile.

In other places, fallen trees have ridden down saplings and shrubs to form dense tangles. This is another dangerous situation where the pinned live branches can rebound with considerable force when released. Clearing these areas in the winter not only increases visibility because of the absence of leaves, but allows you to comfortably wear a thicker layer of clothing for protection against anything that may whip loose and smack you.

I always seem to have something watching me as I work. At least these observers don’t bother me with silly questions or suggestions on what I should really be doing.


  1. Just love that last image. :)

    I wouldn't want to have to clear those trees. We have another whole tree in the back yard to be cut up for firewood. It's down and in 4 to 5 foot sections. After that it'll be cutting, splitting. We will be warm when we get back home in November. :)

  2. Hi, Lois. Fortunately, I don't have to cut all that into firewood. It'll just be made into manageable pieces so I can move it out of the way.