white-ash half trees
Sunday, December 27 2020
Today I decided to ramp up my response to the depleting indoor firewood pile. So went west of the Farm Road to cut the remains of a semi-skeletonized red oak that I'd cut down a couple weeks ago into pieces just small enough to carry in my arms (or with a handtruck). Soon after that, I set out down the Stick Trail with my saw and firewood-hauling backpack. I didn't even get as far as the Chamomile before setting my sights on a couple broken-off white ashes on the steep slope west of the trail. White ash is generally rare up here on Hurley Mountain, though you can find it in ravines and at the bottom of escarpments where there is plentiful water. All the big trees are dead, of course, due to the emerald ash borer, but not all those dead trees have fallen over. A good many of them have snapped off 30 or 40 feet above the ground; that seems to be a common place where the trunk fails five to ten years after they die. I climbed up the slope and cut down one such half-tree. It was about ten inches in diameter and the bark was still tightly stuck to the underlying wood, indicating the tree had not been dead for all that long. Unfortunately, the wood still seemed moist inside. But for some reason that's always less of a problem with white ash than other species (particularly pine).
I was in the bathtub while Powerful was making a meal of pasta, red cabbage, mushrooms, and, as always, olives. I had a bowl of it later after I got out of the tub, and, as Gretchen warned me, it was pretty meh. But it wasn't anything that couldn't be fixed with a little red sauce.
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