Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If a tree falls, you can definitely hear it!

Yesterday, as I was sitting at my computer, I heard a loud falling, sliding, crunching sound and assumed it was ice sliding off the roof (which has already happened before -- the other day a huge thick sheet of it came crashing down off the chicken coop as I was doing chores down there -- startling me and upsetting the chickens, who cackled for five minutes afterward.  Luckily this happened outside their pen and nobody got crushed.) 

When I went outside to look for the source of the latest crash, there was no sign of a snow pile on the ground, just the usual drips. Puzzled, I looked the other way -- and saw that the noise was made by the top of this tree snapping off in the wind and crashing to the ground.  This tree has been dying for a quite while and, since it's not close enough to the house to be a hazard, I had left it for the woodpeckers and nuthatches.   And they are still enjoying it -- I saw a Downy hopping up and down the fallen top this morning.  The debris scattered on the ground will eventually get picked up and probably used for firewood when I make maple syrup -- which will be soon if these warm days keep up.

I imagine this will also open up an area where the sun can shine in better.  Last time a tree fell in this windbreak, a patch of orange daylilies burst into bloom.   They had apparently been there since the previous owners of this land (I certainly didn't plant them) but had never bloomed until the tree fell.  Under this new topless tree, there is an old clump of peonies, probably planted back when these pines were little evergreens.  The peonies have bloomed for me, but it will be interesting to see if they do better now that the top of the tree is gone and better light gets in.

As you can see, I've been allowing other younger trees to grow in beyond the older ones, to maintain the windbreak, which is on the west side of the house.  It makes a big difference, both in winter when the winds blow and summer when the sun beats down, to have trees there.  In addition to stuff that has grown up on its own, I've moved quite a few young trees and bushes into the new row.  My grandson's Arbor Day tree got planted there, too.

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