There’s the old puzzle about, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there does it make a sound?” Well, the other morning we were working and heard a distant crash boom. “There,” I said, “I guess that answers that question.” One might argue that I was there after all to hear it. The tree had fallen down about a 1,000′ from us but it made a reverberation that echoed off the mountains.
This is not too unusual, we hear trees come down time to time. Out of millions of trees it is not surprising to hear or see some come down every week. Don’t mess with the widow makers out in the woods and keep aware of where they are. Best not to be in the forest during a wind storm as that tends to clear out the deadwood bringing down tops and branches as well as whole trees on occasion.
This particular tree had rot and carpenter ant damage in the bottom. When we cleared the old woods back to pasture we removed the buffering effect of the trees around this one which had previously been lifting the wind up over it. All winter this tree has been bearing the brunt of the increased wind forces. In the spring it put out leaves and like a sail caught the wind. The added force snapped the tree off at the base.
Another cause of trees falling in the forest is in the moose cleaning their antlers and in rut. We hear them smashing up against the trees and sometimes the trees go down. On occasion I’ll come across a debarked trunk in the woods that Melvin or someone else has vandalized.
If I needed firewood it would be a good one since it is sugar maple. I could pull down the mountain but I probably won’t as I already have other wood closer and we don’t use much to heat our tiny cottage. This one tree is close to a winter’s worth of wood for us.
It is currently hanging over a new fence line so I will cut it free from the stump and drop it to the ground where it will be better habitat for insects, mice and snakes. Eventually the carpenter ants and other critters will return this tree to the soil. The pigs will start breaking it up at some point searching for grubs although that is a few years away given that most of the wood in this tree is pretty solid – just the base was rotten to the core.
Outdoors: 59°F/41°F 2″ Rain
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/66°F
Daily Spark: Nobody survives history.