After the Fall

The crew came back early this morning to finish the job of removing our Douglas-fir. I got a nice sequence of the topping:

timber2

Just about to holler “timber!”

timber3

And there she goes! I love that these saw-meisters can fall a tree in a tight spot and land it where they want.

timber4

So that’s it. The tree was nearly forty years of age and was just too big for the site, not to mention the damage from the twig borers or whatever pest was attacking it. Here’s a shot of the growth rings on the stump:

rings

I really hated to take out the big fella but it had to go and I’m happy it is done. The guys from Elite Rigging did a great job—neat and efficient. Check out the lovely pile of firewood they left:

firewood

I suppose it is more accurate to say “potential” firewood as it will have to season for a while and then I’ll have to split it up. I actually enjoy the splitting part. Chainsaws are scary. I’ve bucked up a few logs in my time and even felled a few small trees and those two-cycle beasts can do some serious work seriously fast. I’d just as soon leave them to the professionals and not slice through one of my body parts (I wear kevlar chaps when I use my saw!) or drop a tree on someone or something important. I’ve always loved trees and forests and I have a real appreciation for the folks who work in the woods or are part of that industry. So, hat’s off to foresters and timber fallers and log truck drivers and cat skinners and millwrights and all the rest who keep us supplied with timber products. Wood is the ultimate renewable resource and the vast coniferous forests of the West are not only our playgrounds but the guardians of our air, water, and soil. I don’t mean to sound like a Forest Service brochure, but in this age of fossil fuel frenzy and climate change it is good to remember the importance of our trees! And I also appreciate the efforts of those who work to protect those trees and conserve our resources for the future. Environmentalism and extraction ought not to be antagonistic notions but partners in an on-going effort to husband our earthly bounty. Now I really am sounding like a damn brochure!

Today is the Winter Solstice (3:03 p.m. PST) so say goodbye to Fall.

Before the Fall

We are having Wes the tree guy (Elite Rigging) take out the big Douglas-fir in our backyard this weekend. Today he and his assistant Casey are limbing:

tree limbing

Tomorrow they will bring the bucket truck and finish the job. I hate to take down a tree but sometimes it has to be done. This one has dead branches near the crown, we figure it is tree borers. And the limbs touch the roof of the cottage and have to be cut back every year. The spot between the fence and the cottage is really too small for the tree and it is crowding the pear tree next to it. The shade it provides is not very useful in the hot summer due to its location—the box elder to the right is much better for that. The debris (cones and needles and small branches) clogs up the rain gutters and litters the yard. And Pseudotsuga menziesii is not exactly native to our location. It’s hot and dry and the hardpan soil makes it tough for anything but juniper. We’ve two ponderosa pines and an incense-cedar and even those guys need help in the summer. We planted a deodar cedar, Italian cypress, and a blue spruce over the years and they seem better adapted to the local climate. We’ve had to remove two black walnuts and two honey locust trees from the property as well. Just the usual on-going yard maintenance.

I’ll post an “After the Fall” tomorrow!