Christmas on the Beech
No, that’s not a spelling mistake in the title. We’re talking here about beech trees in the dingle, not lovely sandy stretches in the Bahamas.
The big snow of just before Christmas, knocked quite a few branches off trees, particularly some of the conifers in the garden, but nothing too catastrophic. It was only when I went up to clear the pond pipe and check the hydro intake, that I saw it. I couldn’t see what I was after, but I could see a lot of tree lying head down across the stream – as reported in the previous post.
OK, so it doesn’t look that huge in this photo but the bit where it split off the rest of the trunk is about 2 foot in diameter and it’s probably 60 foot tall/long. It is also on both sides of the stream with a steep drop on one side.
The problem was how to make it safe in the first place. Cut into the wrong bit and there were half a dozen spiky branches just waiting to making a horrible mess of the intake screen – which would have meant turning off the hydro just as it is starting to generate some useful quantities.
After a couple of hours of careful tree surgery I was finally able to see the intake and get access to the pipe – after a fashion!
….. because it is acting as a fence against the forest sheep, the wire having been smashed down in more than one place. Still plenty of useful firewood in there eventually though.
Then it was on to the ‘business end’, where once again it was holding the fence down, offering a motorway sized entrance to wildlife.
I had hoped that a cut through just above the wire would allow it to swing the main length up and away, but there were too many branches propping up the main spars so it had to be done in smaller sections until the fence was released and could be repaired.
… which is where they still lay, pending a bit of additional muscle (hopefully in the shape of family) as I can’t move this size of log in the length I want on my own.
The smaller (relatively speaking) logs I threw into a rough pile on one side of the stream..
… and then built a nice cord-wood style stack between a couple of alders. This pile is roughly 4′ x 5′ x 6′, or according to ArbTalk about 3.2 tons! And that is probably less than half of what will eventually be harvested.
All that was needed now was a bit of time and the job would be done.
But, guess what? It snowed again and the tree next up the slope also split apart and dropped three more branches exactly in the same spot. Not quite as big, but equally tangled and disruptive. So, like the old Flanders and Swann song about the gasman, it all started again yesterday or if you prefer “it all makes work for the (retired) working man to do!”
Still, in a year or two we’ll have a lovely big stack of my favourite firewood to keep us warm – just a lot of carrying, splitting and cutting in the interim!