Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Shaking The Tree
When I first started building the house I was very selective, reluctant even, to take out any more trees than just absolutely necessary. That's good in one respect because you have time to think about which ones you want to cut and don't end up with a giant bare lot. However, it helps to make the decision within a reasonable amount of time because it sure is easier the smaller the tree. Thinning out large trees can be a pain and they grow much faster than I think we realize. So, Jack and I decided that this winter would be a good time to finally get rid of a few of these trees closest the house, before they got any more awkward to fell. Now, I know some people are gonna squeak and fuss about cutting trees but sometimes you just have to. Two of these are damaged anyway and one of those leans slightly towards the house. The other two are sweet gums, which, if you are not familiar, are what we call "trash trees". The wood is not good for much, they crowd out nice trees because they grow much faster and they put off these hard, spiny balls that are a pain, literally, if you step on one. And lastly, having these trees removed will make backing a concrete truck up in that area much easier. I still have those planter walls to pour in front of that concrete block you see. I know it's taking forever but I will get to that one day!
This large tulip poplar is pretty but it's the one that leans slightly towards the house and we really need to take it out first to be able to drop the ones over by the house. Also, there is a maple just to the right of it that I really want to keep and the poplar is stunting it. With the poplar gone the maple will get quite large and they are very pretty. Jack has the ladder up there to hand saw off the lower limbs so that they would not hit the maple on it's way down. He also attached a good strong rope to the poplar so I could pull and help it go in the direction we wanted. Jack is pretty good at aiming a tree but it never hurts to help it along, especially when there are structures nearby you want to stay in one piece. And yes, I made sure my rope was longer than the tree was tall!
Poplar is not the best firewood but it does work and it's a fairly clean burning wood. Doesn't gum up the chimney like pine. We'll, mix a stick in with oak or hickory to help those woods get hot fast. Jack had the tree sectioned up in short order and I felt well enough to help drag some limbs out of the drive. This tree was also one I had a bird feeder hanging in for years, so we had to relocate it. I have one large pine on the front of the house that I am going to keep, so we moved it there and I think the birds really like that location better. Maybe because an evergreen offers more coverage for them, they feel more secure? Jack also hung it so that I can watch the birds from the bedroom when I wake up in the mornings and you can also see it from the couch in the living room, so that's nice.
I know the photo is really crappy but i was shooting through a window with a screen on it. You can see (maybe) one little woodpecker up on the suet block and several little sparrows (?) on the feeder. Other regulars are cardinals, nuthatches, tufted titmouse and possibly a couple of goldfinch.
And of course, the opportunistic, greedy chickens are never far behind. They patrol under the tree like hungry sharks, just waiting for the occasional seeds the birds drop. Anybody coming up would think we never feed these girls.
I also forgot to close my cold frame the other day when I let the girls into the garden for winter clean up. They quickly discovered my mistake and proceeded to dig to China. I think they might have found a few bugs but mainly they thought it was the best place to dust bathe ever! At one point, there were so many of them crammed in there they really couldn't even move around very well. There was only a few remaining dregs of lettuce still planted, so it didn't really matter. I let them have their fun for a few days but ran them out yesterday so I could plant a new batch of loose leaf.
So, our tree cutting is on hold for now. The wind has really been horrendous these past couple of days and would make something like that potentially very dangerous. I'm sure Jack doesn't mind the break anyway.