Gypsy's Travels

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh, Cedar!

Buying on the greenbelt was one of the best decisions we made when we bought this house about 10 years ago. The trees, fully clothed in summer, screen the neighbors and provide refuge for animals. We hear owls and coyotes, we see evidence of armadillo, and we are frequently visited by rabbits, various birds (hummingbirds, cardinals, flocks of doves, blue jays, mockingbirds, and others I can't name), butterflies, wild turkey,squirrels,lizards, and the inevitably hungry deer. Less often, we find snakes, scorpions, opossums, raccoons, and once we found a ring-tailed cat
The grandchildren love the greenbelt. Although it is within calling distance, they view it as a vast wilderness and have creatively tailored it to their own imaginative views.

 Here is picture of the "fort" which they built with the help of some adult muscle.
There is a path nearby, worn by children's feet,  which wanders into the "woods" and diverts down the way. One direction leads to the "Indian Village" and the other to "the pioneer settlement." Dewberries, mustang grapes, and wild plums are available seasonally. Other, nonedible, nuts and berries provide "food" and a sometime creek (runs when it rains) adds to the elements of adventure.

 On the edge of the greenbelt is a large cedar tree. It was a lovely, well-shaped tree when we moved here. It reminded me of Christmas every time I looked at it and I have even seen snow on it a couple of times. It became such a part of our lives that I never even took a good photo of it, although it is often viewed in the background since it made a nice backdrop.

Visiting deer often hovered near the tree, and it grew and grew. The poor tree did not age well. It provided many walking sticks, hard as stone, when branches broke off and lay aging on the ground. These were rescued by the children and used in a myriad of ways. Branches grew too heavy to be supported and limbs began to droop. During the season, we were inundated with yellow pollen. The tree strived to produce and spread.

I peered inside the spreading, drooping branches, and saw the heart of the tree.  A strong straight center which would likely reach skyward when relieved of its burdening offshoots. With some trepidation, I made the first cuts.

It is not easy to cut a cedar limb with a bow saw. I spent a couple of days and manged to clear some limbs, but the challenge was increasing. My neighbor's friend took pity on me and cut a few more limbs, but we mad little headway. Not only was the wood hard to cut (they make fence posts out of limbs like these), but we were faced with the dilemma of disposing of an ever increasing mound of cedar cuttings. I snipped and snipped at the geen needles and smaller pieces so they would fit in trash bags to be hauled away, but the mound just seemed to grow. I was concerned it would take several months to dispose of everything.

I finally opted for professional help from someone with a chain saw. He worked steadily for a total of 10 hours to cut the agreed-upon limbs and haul the excess away. He also cut the limbs into lengths suitable for campfire use. I have about 1/2 cord of wood.
I was amazed how much room the tree was occupying and how much it had spread since we moved here. plants I had placed near the branches' ends some time ago, were 3 feet inside the area of occupation. I am left with a large circle to be cared for. There are a lot of rocks and weeds are sure to proliferate now that they have sun. I may indulge my dream of having a rock garden.
Anyway, the tree looks happy and healthy and its future looks bright.
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  1. You should have saved some of Ab's rocks to use in your rock garden.

  2. I have some, Dan! That's a good idea.

  3. That was an amazing amount of branch girth for that little tree.


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