Mud Lake in Summer

Mud Lake in Summer

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Winter Coming


The leaves are majorly past prime at this time.  Many trees are empty.  The oaks maintain a nice percentage of their purple toned leaves through the winter, so bare forest is not dominant here, yet.  Of course the pines stay covered, and those late season brown needles are on the ground leaving a nice green set behind.  The tamaracks are yellow, but still holding those needles.  They are actually at the peak of color or getting just past.

The geese are in full gathering mode.   The honking is getting louder down at the lake.  They honk to attract other geese flying by forming bigger groups for the sudden decision to head out.

Docks and boats are moving to land.  A few remain, but most of this is way beyond summer peak. 

I have not noticed much fireplace odor yet this fall.  With the summer storms plentiful, timber has been easy to find and get ready.  Mostly it has been just outside the window.  Nights have been fortyish some, but only limited below freezing temperatures.  Frost killed then held back mostly.

There are still beautiful tree color combinations to be enjoyed.  Just down the road is one, but that is only for small groups of mixed color trees now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Itasca State Park and The Great Wind of 2016


We went to Itasca State Park today/  The weather looked super but turned cloudy, in line with most recent days.  The leaves were just glorious any way.  While those special odd purples and pinks were gone, and the northeast corner was pretty bare, many sections showed bright yellows and oranges mixed with longer stretches of pure yellow.  Even the tamaracks were in full yellow needle.

Mixing in was the very obvious, widespread damage from the mid-summer Great Wind of 2016 (reference in humor to Vicar of Dilby scene).  Trees were sawed off where they had blocked the road, but many then just sat piled on each other, left alone for a couple month period.  Some were average,m but others were among the bigger, older trees of the preserved park.  One has to assume that the Park’s policy is for the forest to remain in its natural state of forest recycling, or, financially and in terms of personnel the Park does not have the staff to take the massive amount of trees away.  More will go as select trees still threaten to fall over the roadways, especially the Wilderness Drive.

We did note some twisted wood indicative of spinning winds.  Most accounts and a look at the radar that night suggested straight line winds.  The single direction fall of the down trees was notable.

Still the trees were wonderful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tree Loss Now 25


This latest tree to fall is a puzzle, but likely damaged in the earlier two storms only to fall by the slightest of breezes Sunday morning.  It was a +/- 75 foot aspen/poplar (15 inches across near the base).  There was no storm or meaningful wind, but over it went.  It took 4 newer 2 inch across trees when it fell.

The debris will require a third trailer rental to haul to the transfer station.  We notice our tree skills have gotten a lot better.  Me with the chainsaw is hitting those trees at angles I never did before.  Sue i just picking up log pieces of amazing size.

It was another root ball type fall.  Since it is in the woods the root ball stays.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chainsaw Wars


I never thought I would retire teaching to become a lumberjack.  But…that seems the case.  We have had two major storms with minor event between and the total seems to be 20 trees down.  Four of them were in the 75-100 foot range and likely 125 years  old.  The four were all poplars, which local tree service people hate.  The winds were likely around 70 mph (105 mph 10 miles to the South).  They went down with root balls.  The roots are just not all that massive unless you have to cut at them to reduce the ball down.

Other people had it worse.  Going to the county brush pile we met a bunch of nice people, all of us in the same boat, more or less.  We are nearing a state of acceptability in maintaining the trees, but some people may not be there for a long time.  It would be weeks before the tree service folk can even get to you if you use them.  We do it ourselves if we can.  All were in the do it yourself category.  Those that hang in the air are the ones we do not do.

The rain has also set the ants in a wild phase.  They seem to be giving the word “antsy” new enhanced meaning.  They are just going everywhere and in large amounts.

Root ball trees are easier to cut up.  You just start at the top and cut the short chunks.  Trouble is that that root ball takes a couple days by itself.  Of course nothing is likely to fall on you doing it.

For some, of course, firewood for winter is near free for the asking right now.  Folks are stocking up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Storms and Tree Loss


It has been a bit more than a week of storms with significant tree loss.  Others had it much worse than us, as we had no damage to the buildings.  We figure we lost 15 poplars, birches, and Jack Pines.  Two of our tallest trees blew right over leaving sizable root balls.  One nice pine was just tilted, but looked so loose that it had to go down.  We do have two pines that we just tamped the soil back down to prevent water from going under them in hopes they will survive.  We know, long term, that trees can hold themselves straight like this as we have some tilted trees in spots.

And I thought of the two crossed palm trees in Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World years ago.  Trees need not be straight.  That is how the woods is.

All this has been made worse by the heavy rains we have had of late.  Two storms right after each other totaled five inches.  The sand can handle it, but the hold on the roots goes down.   Strange weather for drought, but I suppose that is gone now.  As I always said in North Dakota, “Drought is your friend.”  Of course basement water in the clay soil was the focus of my thoughts.

The root ball trees puzzled Daisy the Dog.  She stared at them trying to figure out how her world changed.  Hated the thunder, too.

It has been a number of clean up days so far.  The house area and woods along it are in good shape.  The root ball closings may take some time.  The more distant woods is on a wait and see basis.  Some of the litter has been taken away, but the main trunks may have to wait a while, maybe next season.

On the good side, the new Stihl chainsaw works nice.  I knew I wore the old one out, so getting the new one was  matter of time.  And in the start of this crisis for many, they had one ready to go at Ace.  It is just a bit small for the bottom of the root ball trees, but a neighbor said he can take those apart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Heavy Rain Ends, We Hope


The heavy 5 inches of rain and the winds that followed, seemed to have come to an end.  Only light misty rain today.  Damage to the forest continues to be assessed.  The tree loss count in in the 5-7 range.  Sadly they are mostly living trees hit by wind or wind and sift sandy soil.  The two large dead trees we spot are still standing tall.

Given the size of this group we may just remove the more burnable branches and leavers and let the trunks become forest soil eventually.  They were meant to end that way.

I must check on the chainsaw and get it ready to help.  On its last legs but should be ready for some effort.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Days of Rain and Wind


One assumes the drought is over and gone for now.  The sky has been, shall we say, plentiful for the last few days.  With the sandy soil the water drains with super haste, but the plants have all been refreshed to the max.

The tree s are certainly restocked in water, but the winds have taken some nice ones.  All living trees, which is a puzzle.  Why not take the two dead ones down to the ground so I can more easily recycle them?  No.  Nice living trees losing the whole or top parts.  Saw a study in which a guy found that it took 92 mph to take a tree down, no matter the type.  While still not sure on this study’s applicability to all trees and situation, we must have had more wind than we thought.  The lightening in one was so continuous you could look outside and evaluate if the trees were falling.

Them squirrels seem to take a break, too.  They seem to hide out more and visit the sunflower feeders meant for them.  One would expect them to not hide out in the search for nosh because rain is more natural to them, just damper than normal.  But they do seem to hit the food supply in the yard less these few days.  They do stock up so maybe it is all just stored away in some tree hole.

This afternoon’s storms missed mostly to the south, but I see another line way to the west.