Forestry

Little victory for the day

I was having a tough day last week. When I need to blow off stress, my typical avenues are working out or something equally physical. Destruction is also a cathartic activity but for obvious reasons, not typically prescribed.

However, wood needed split on the farm that combines all of the aforementioned activities. In an effort to keep this post educational/relevant to the blog, I have a tip to share whose source is long lost. Some time ago I learned to split wood inside of a discarded tire which keeps the log upright, lessens the need to reset the log and just all around makes the process more efficient. Granted my physical fitness level is nothing exceptional currently, that gained efficiency was lost to frequently needed breaks!

A challenge was presented by one large piece cut near the base of the tree that threatened to be unsplittable. Combining that size, with the opposite branching habit of Fraxinus trees and the brittleness only years of hanging dead drying in the air could yield, I feared I would not be able to split the log.

Yet it proved no match for my 205 pounds fueled by negative emotions behind an 8 pound maul. Winning the challenge help turn my day around, bad emotions were alleviated and applied to a destructive purpose in a healthy manner, and I have renewable heating fuel that didn’t require refining or shipping across oceans.

 

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Note: the diameter of this log prevented use of my tire trick.

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Of course this nice seasoned wood got 3-4″ of rain in 24 hours starting the night it was stacked. Now they are calling for up to 15″ more with a Nor’easter and a tropical storm bearing down. Hopefully I can get it covered!

Note: I wrote this offline last week during the extraordinarily high rain events. Final rain totals were 5-6″ over the last 14 days, according to NOAA. Average historical monthly rain totals were reached in the first 3 days of October! This is with no additional rain from the tropical storm that veered off its first projected course.

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Forestry

How much is a tree worth? Emerald Ash borer

Atop a rise at the edge of the pasture sits a massively sprawling lone wolf tree. With nothing behind it except the view of the valley floor below, the tree has become ingrained in the identity of the farm itself. The spectacular image to which the tree contributes is one that begs the question: Will the farm be the same without it?

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With Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in the closest city of Harrisonburg, this tree has an expected life span of only 10-15 more years. Remaining a part of the farm will come at a high cost. But what exactly is that cost?

The expertise of an arborist and tree service company was called upon. Measurements revealed that the lone wolf White Ash tree is 44” Diameter Breast Height (DBH) which is used to calculate how much treatment is needed, thus the cost of treatment.

So how much is a tree worth? Thinking entirely pragmatically, the tree is actually costing feed value due to shading out the pasture grasses. Are aesthetics and sentimental value worth $330 per year in treatments?

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