When I got to the office, I breezed through the paperwork and then headed out for a walk. I am starting to see signs that the river really is going down aside from the gauge that tells us such things. The roots are reappearing on the cool tree across the river and you can see the line on the sidewalk by the spring where the water had been.
On the way back up the walkway, I had to stop to photograph the frost on some of the plants. It wasn't just the tiny little frosted edges that I have been seeing, these ice crystals were really standing out far from the leaves.
When my walk was over, I went into town to fill up my gas tank and then stopped by my house to pick up the chili that I made yesterday and all the supplies needed for lunch. When I got back to the park, I loaded up two chainsaws, two gas cans, a gallon of bar oil, and three co-workers and we headed over to Adams Tract to get to work. While we waited for the tree guys to come, I set up our big coffee pot to make some hot water for tea/cider/hot chocolate and plugged in the crock pot to warm the chili. We also got a small fire going in one of the fire rings and enjoyed hot coffee and a heated RV that our Adams Tract volunteers supplied. I also was glad that I remembered to get a picture of our three giant trees while they were still standing.
We had a great time with the tree guys. My three co-workers, the two Adams Tract volunteers, and I watched while they worked to drop the three trees. They did a great job and everything landed where it should. The three buildings nearby, the multitude of surrounding smaller trees, and their truck all made it through the day without a scratch or dent. It was neat to feel the ground shake when each tree hit the ground. We were all excited to see so much lighter wood. If you aren't familiar with it, it is the very best way to start a camp fire. Old pine trees have shiny areas in their wood where pine resin has hardened. We found out today from the tree guy that it forms from micro-fissures in the tree. He explained that we learned about this effect from the Bio-dome experiment. With the absence of wind, in a sealed environment, trees were very weak. The wind is necessary to make the trees rock and sway which causes small cracks in the wood. The cracks are filled in by the sap or resin in the tree which then hardens, causing the lighter wood effect and a much stronger tree.
When the trees were on the ground, we started to get our saws ready and brought the log splitter over to our work area. The tree guy noticed that our little 17 and 18 inch saws would have a hard time getting all the way through the biggest of the three trees. He was kind enough to cut the biggest section of it into logs for us. I was envious of his saw that made quick work of the job.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with two people cutting the trees into logs, one person operating the log splitter, and three people gathering and stacking wood and debris. Soon after we started working, the hats and scarves and heavy coats started coming off. The trees could not have been dropped in a better place, we were in full sun. We were all having so much fun that we didn't even realize how late it was getting. I finally started to feel hungry and saw that it was 1:00 already! We took a break and enjoyed warming our tummies with chili. When we got back to work, we started finding some cool stuff in the tree. There was a hole that a woodpecker had made in a couple of the logs. I saw the woodpecker there last year and it made me wait a while before I pursued removing the trees. The hole had a big opening and the cavity extended through two logs. It was from a bigger woodpecker, a Pileated Woodpecker.
We also found lots of creepy crawlies inside of the tree that were helping to breakdown the dead trees and definitely provided food for the woodpeckers.
We were able to finish splitting and stacking the wood from the biggest of the three trees. All of the chainsaw work is done on the other two trees as well, all that is left is to split it all. By the time the big tree was done, we were all beginning to feel like we had put in a hard day's work. We were ready to be done, but feeling good about all that we had accomplished.