Friday, January 20, 2012

Removing Fallen Tree Top

Temperatures have been cold enough at night to freeze the surface of the ground.  I’ve taken advantage of this condition to do some work in sensitive areas that would suffer damage if I tramped around on them while things were soft and muddy.  The ground tends to thaw by late morning, so I don’t have a lot of time to accomplish these tasks.  I mentioned earlier that I had to remove this fallen tree top from one of the barren areas.

The debris will be going on top of what’s left of the brush pile created during my 102 degree clearing.  Fortunately, I wasn’t carrying any fever when I decided to remove the tree top.  The remains of a cedar cut for the log in its trunk was the original base for the brush pile.  The old stump can be seen in the upper right of the photo.  Decomposition has greatly reduced the pile, but there are still branches that will take a few decades more to disappear.

Tiny Leavenworthia uniflora plants are scattered all over the area of the downed tree top.  A clean up job is always more interesting when you have to watch where you put your feet.  An inadvertent twist of a boot sole could wipe out a dozen of these uncommon plants.

I began work by removing the main trunk and then the larger branches.  From there I gathered the arm loads of small branches and twigs.  As I worked through the mess, I tried to bundle branches so I could minimize the number of trips across the barren to the brush pile.  I was also trying to hurry, because the crust of frozen ground wasn’t very thick and I was afraid it would soon thaw.

Here’s an example of why it’s a bad idea to be running around in the woods when it’s windy.  When the wind brought down the tree top, branches stabbed several inches into the soil.  They would have gone deeper if they hadn’t hit bedrock.  Falling branches could easily spear a person who happened to get in their way.

This ought to be a little more attractive to brush pile dwelling wildlife. 

The tree top is gone, so the Leavenworthia can grow unhindered and I can search for trap door spiders without falling over branches.  While I was working, I noticed some small cedars that should be removed, but that will have to wait until the ground either refreezes or dries up.

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