Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘oak

Disappearing House

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Two years ago, in the springtime, I mounted a bird house on the tall stump of a pine tree that had died, and then I took a picture of it.

Even then, two tiny volunteer tree sprouts can be seen making an appearance at the base.

When squirrels bury acorns, trees often follow. When oaks sprout, we are not in a hurry to remove them, even when they appear in locations that may not be ideal. Who doesn’t want more oak trees surrounding them?

The same can’t be said for the scourge of box elder, common buckthorn, and thorny American plum that overtake all the neglected spaces along property lines and ditches. When they try to spread their way into our managed grounds, they meet with swift action.

This is what two years of oak growth looks like when you let nature do its thing:

Where did the bird house go?

It is reaching the point where some serious pruning is warranted to convert this little oak shrub into a future healthy tree.

While I’m on the subject of trees, I will report a surprising turn of events for a lot of the long needle pine trees that were looking like goners last year. Many have produced an amazing effort to sprout green needles on almost all of the lower portions that looked completely dead last fall.

For the previous several years, the pines would try to sprout new growth on the dead-looking lower branches in the spring, but it proved futile in just a matter of weeks afterward.

This summer they seem to be enduring just fine. Temporary reprieve? Or, signs of hope for a future full-recovery?

We’re going to imagine it a step toward recovery. It is helping me to understand the amazing resilience of growing things, and justifies my tendency to be slow in making decisions about giving up on plants without giving them the potential of another season to get over whatever might be dragging them down.

Maybe soon I will be able to remove the bird house from the stump and hang it from a branch in a new maturing oak tree in our front yard. Not that I think that pine stump will be making a comeback anytime in the future.

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Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

Sheared Again

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dscn5846eHindsight being 20/20, I decided to not chip any more of the large dead oak branches that had been cut out of the oldest trees on our property. Too bad it took busting the replacement shear pin I’d installed 15 minutes earlier to adequately enlighten me.

I switched to exclusively chipping the branches that came out of our maple trees for the rest of the day yesterday and the 3rd shear bolt in two days survived just fine.

The branches of oak would get the chainsaw. That tool didn’t have any problems cutting through the almost petrified oak.

I guess I’ve learned the limitations of my beloved Wallenstein chipper.

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Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Beneath Trees

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After a bit of a pause in construction, I was stepping out to work on the chicken coop again yesterday, now that Cyndie is home to lend a helping hand. We were taking advantage of the very summer-like weather gracing our region this first week of November.

Striding across the yard I was suddenly struck by how distinctly different the carpet of leaves was within just a few steps. Photo op!

dscn5414eBeneath a big old oak tree that holds most of its dried leaves through the winter.

dscn5413eNext tree over is a dominant poplar that lost a significant portion of its top in a storm during the summer.

dscn5417eOn the other side of the driveway, the grove of maples create a thick layer of light crunchy playfulness that is a delight to walk through.

Another example of the micro-environments that collectively make up the paradise where we live. We call it Wintervale Ranch.

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Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2016 at 8:45 am

Those Days

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It’s been one of those days lately at the day job. Several of those days, actually. So, on my off-day of the week, I’m still grinding away on the work email to address issues. Issues that come in bunches. Bunches of issues that I prefer not occur.

But they do.

DSCN4750eI looked out the bedroom window this morning and spotted a volunteer oak sapling that I staked up last year in hopes it would become well established and fill a void created by the loss of a pine. The new leaves are all wilted and sad.

It got me thinking that the same thing would likely have occurred to the new transplanted maple in the center of our labyrinth, had it actually sprouted new buds this spring.

So is it a good thing that it didn’t grow?

Maybe I’ll look at it that way. By not thriving after being transplanted, it avoided the fate of frozen new growth last weekend. Smart little tree.

It’s been one of those springs, thus far.

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Written by johnwhays

May 20, 2016 at 8:35 am

Burdensome Weather

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Our weather has been chilly and wet for a few days now, enough that it is beginning to feel like a burden to face it. I suppose the fact that the temperature is dropping below the freezing point and the wind is picking up to gale force gusts, may be contributing to the desire to batten down the hatches and snuggle indoors under a thick blanket.

Today the precipitation is more likely to be in the form of snow than rain. This is a harsh reality after having been coddled for so many days of autumn with temperatures more akin to the comforts of mid-summer.

On top of that, our chimney liner has not been replaced yet, so we haven’t been able to have any fires in the fireplace. Takes away one of our favorite tools to offset the chill. A little warm air flowing from the furnace vent just doesn’t satisfy in the way a crackling fire can.

IMG_0960eYesterday, Cyndie got a local tree service to send someone out to assess what might be continuing to attack our long-needle pine trees. I raced home through the poor visibility of endless road-spray, a half hour early, in hopes of being here for the visit.

I just missed him.

Cyndie said it was a rather abbreviated visit due to the unfavorable conditions, and that he planned to return another day when he could more readily investigate what critters might be killing the pines.

At least he got a chance to orient himself with our specific areas of concern. In addition to the ailing pines, we are seeking advice on recommended pruning needs of several of the largest oak and maple trees. I don’t expect the assessment to render a very affordable quote, but seeing the cost of professional tree service will help us plan our next move in tending to the precious resource that is the trees on our land.

It is a burden that we are honored to be in a position to bear.

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Written by johnwhays

November 19, 2015 at 7:00 am