Cutting Up a Tree

Recently all the firewood I have cut has come from already fallen trees. I’m currently working in an area off the rocks road where trees were blown down late spring or early summer last year. In this case the wind was from the east, usually strong winds are from the west or north.

There are different categories of windfall for firewood. An easy tree is one on or near a road and where the ground is level. Less easy are trees which have fallen down slope so the trunk is higher than the top. Least easy to cut but easier to split than the down slope trees are those that fall along a slope. Generally splitting for those trees is on ground that can be almost level. Cutting up a tree has the challenge of keeping the bolts from rolling down the hill. A large, heavy bolt can roll quite far, sometimes too far.

The tree I’m working on fell along a slope. It’s not a steep slope, but steep enough. In this case I cut up the top and along the trunk to where the tree was supported by a small broken maple sapling.

To keep the log from rolling down the hill I used a chain wrapped around the log and a tree further up slope. I piled cut and broken branches from the fallen tree a short distance down the slope which would hopefully slow and catch an errant rolling bolt. I also used cut branches and splits from the top to wedge under the log at intervals so a wedge was there to support each cut bolt.

I had already marked the log for where the cuts would be made so sawing the log was relatively straight forward once it was no longer supported by the sapling. I cut a bolt from the uphill side until just a small section of bark was holding it to the trunk. I engaged the chain brake for the saw, put the saw down, and broke the bolt free and turned it on end or sideways so it wouldn’t roll. The brush caught two bolts that wanted to go downhill.

So the process was cut, put the saw down while the brake was on, break the bolt free, and go onto the next cut. Once everything was set up, cutting went quickly.

Toward the trunk of the tree after the bolts were cut. The broken sapling that kept the tree from rolling is in the foreground.

A photograph looking from the broken trunk of the tree toward the top in the distance. This photo gives an idea of the slope and shows the brush I placed downhill to catch rolling bolts. The light brownish area to the left is the sawdust and chips from the chainsaw cutting. All the bolts are a little downhill from where the tree originally lay.

The cut limbs from the top used as wedges are visible in this photo. The largest bolts are about 18 inches in diameter and are heavy.

Autumn 2022

I took a number of photographs this autumn which never quite caught the glory of the colors. I’ll post a few anyway.

This and three following three photographs were taken on 14 October. The colors are nearing their brightest.

Our woods are primarily hickory and oak with a few scattered pine, maple, beech, sumac, and other trees. The autumn colors tend to range from gold to brown.

Another spot of red, a maple leaf.

I periodically took photos from our yard looking straight up. This was taken on 14 October and we are now beginning to be able to see more sky during the day and stars at night.

This is another view of the sky from our yard taken on 24 October. Less leaves, more sky. The color shift is obvious compared to the previous photo.

A view of the sky taken on 27 October, just a few days after the previous photo. More leaves have fallen. By mid-November almost all of the leaves will be off the trees that lose theirs.

Dear Deer

We have deer in our woods but most often the only obvious sign is either their tracks or when they’ve been in our yard and eaten the hostas.

When we see deer it usually is when they are moving. Running away, that bright white flick of the tail is commonest. Even if we do spot a deer in the woods after a moment they seem to disappear, melt into the background.

Last winter I posted a picture of a deer bed in the snow. That’s the most obvious signs of where they’ve spent the night. Other times of the year there are spots in the woods like the above photo where their bed can be seen in the flattened leaves (the palest area in the photo). Sometimes in other seasons the bed will be a spot of bare ground on the otherwise leaf covered forest floor.

There’s a deer hidden in this photo. The deer is in the upper right hand quadrant.

This is the enlarged quadrant; maybe now you can see the deer.

This is a further enlargement of the quadrant. Now you can easily see the deer.

A neighbor has a group of deer that spend a lot of time in and near his yard. He has a salt block out for them and also feeds them cracked corn at night. This deer was photographed from the paved road below his place. We both watched each other for a time.

Most deer are shyer. I was able to walk closer and take more photographs.

Last week we had a young doe spend a bit of time in our yard. Molly first spotted it from the kitchen when the doe was by the corner of the shop.

The doe slowly browsed on dry leaves and other munchables. She appreciated the ivy growing on the ground and up the shop wall.

The doe came around the hickory on the west side of the shop.

There is a cluster of plants in the center of the yard and the doe enjoyed munching the hosta seeds hanging from their stalk.