Spring 2023

Last autumn I posted photos showing the progress of leaf color and fall. I took a similar series of photographs this spring showing the progress of trees leafing out.

This group of photos was taken near the south west corner of the house on April 11th. Sunlight reflecting from the limbs of these trees almost makes the photo look like it was taken in winter. Trees, however, have begun to bud and leaf out.

This was taken on April 15 and the difference is immediately apparent.

By April 23rd we are barely seeing the sky. Daytime in summer the yard will be in full shade and at night we might get a glimpse of the moon and a star or two.

This is what the woods looked like on April 23. It’s still early spring but already the eye can’t see as far.

The photograph was taken on May 5th. Half the hickory trees still had to leaf out. Less than a month from the first photograph in this series and our world has been transformed.

In mid-April the Mealy Bellwort flowers and I was able to take some photographs this year. The flowers are ephemeral. I’d see a plant flowering and think about taking a photograph and when I come back a couple of days later the flower is gone. The is one of several flowering alongside the ATV trail from the shed where we park the ATV to the road.

This is another growing at the base of a large red oak. The plants are edible when cooked and apparently taste like asparagus.

A large pine fell into the old garden and we decided to just leave it there rather than cutting it up and moving the logs. One of the major limbs had these pine galls on its branches. I’d seen in the past, on fallen branches, these wood-like balls. The gall is caused by a fungus and in spring the balls turn yellow as the spores are released.

Our grandson managed to break the screen and bend the frame on his iPad Mini 4 and I did a logic board swap with a non-functioning iPad with good screen and frame. This is the damaged iPad with the screen off preparing to remove the logic board. The left edge of the iPad is the bottom. The iFixit guides are a great help when taking on a project like this.

This is the non-functioning iPad with the screen off and I’ve started the process of removing the bad logic board. This is the top of the iPad with the front facing camera near the middle and the back facing camera back is in the right corner. Apple makes these devices with tiny screws of all different lengths and it’s important that the proper length screw goes into its spot.

When the swap was completed the grandson was excited to get his “computer” back.

It is now June and the massive amounts of tree pollen are pretty much finished. In August we’ll see the approach of autumn when song birds start heading south and the briars start losing their leaves.

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.