A Eulogy For a Tree

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Sam Lefthand
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A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Sam Lefthand »

"‘They’ve cut it down!’ cried Sam. ‘They’ve cut down the Party Tree!’ He pointed to where the tree had stood under which Bilbo had made his Farewell Speech. It was lying lopped and dead in the field. As if this was the last straw Sam burst into tears." -- (J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King)

A Eulogy For a Tree:

Quercus douglasii sprouted from an acorn in about 1830. It survived the almost complete deforestation by the Forty Niners during the Gold Rush because if was too spindly for them to bother to cut.

By 1900 it was a robust California Blue Oak about 70 years old. Between 1900 and 1905 a careless hillbilly mortally wounded the tree as a matter of his minor convenience. He saved himself the time and effort of perhaps an hour utilizing the tree as a fence post. Five strands of barbed wire were wrapped completely around the trees girth, were stapled where the wire lapped. The wires remained around the tree and as time passed the tree grew around and covered over the wire embedding them within its trunk.

Around 1925 a son of Ma and Pa Kettle clipped the ends of the wire his father had wrapped around the trunk, and replaced it with five new strands of barbed wire on one side, attaching them with numerous staple and large nails bent over the wire. Using six where two would have been aplenty.

The tree already suffering hardware disease absorbed the added insult and continued to grow.

Around 1950 the grandson of the provincial couple chose to run hogs and to keep them pinned he stapled hog wire to the other side of the weeping tree.

The poor tree continuing to fight the hardware disease absorbed the hog wire strands and continued to grow.

Around 1965 the great grandson of the bumpkin clan clipped the ends of the hog wire to clear it out of the way, and stapled five more strands of barbed wire on a diagonal to the original fence lines.

Still suffering from a growing collection of hardware embedded in its trunk the poor tree dropped a major limb, rot where the break occurred set in.

Around 1975 some new people bought the place, clipped away the wire, and set a house near the tree. The tree began suffering an infestation of mistletoe. The tree continued to grow and cover over the site of that wire which was at that point embedded up to four inches deep inside its trunk.

In 1992 my dad bought the place and pruned away the mistletoe, and pruned the tree back and medicated the rot spots in an attempt to bring the tree back to health. The tree mortally injured by that hardware in its trunk continued to declined.

In 2016 after years of drought adding to the misery of the poor tree is died.


This year I cut the dead tree down and worked for three days, two of the days being extra days, chopping that 186 year old dead tree up for firewood. Cutting and splitting that trunk with that wire in there chewed through two saw chains, and beat and battered my hands to raw blistered meat. :|

I'll be cursing those three generations of lazy hillbillies for years over this. Never nail wire to a tree.

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RoyPDX
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by RoyPDX »

Great story, Sam. Both real and symbolic of how us humans are shitting in our own nest.
The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe. For the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was wood he was one of them. —West Asian Fable

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Sam Lefthand
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Sam Lefthand »

RoyPDX » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:00 pm wrote:Great story, Sam. Both real and symbolic of how us humans are shitting in our own nest.
Thanks Roy, I was hoping the symbolism would be apparent in the story line.

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ZoWie
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by ZoWie »

Even in ham radio they tell you not to encircle a tree with a wire. There are better ways to anchor the far end of an antenna, and they don't hurt the tree. Trees these days are stressed enough. I've always told beginners that trees do more for our biosphere than most of the nimrods you'll hear on the radio, and so trees deserve respect.

Give that cut up oak some time and at least you'll get good firewood out of all this.

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Sam Lefthand
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Sam Lefthand »

ZoWie » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:06 am wrote:Even in ham radio they tell you not to encircle a tree with a wire. There are better ways to anchor the far end of an antenna, and they don't hurt the tree. Trees these days are stressed enough. I've always told beginners that trees do more for our biosphere than most of the nimrods you'll hear on the radio, and so trees deserve respect.

Give that cut up oak some time and at least you'll get good firewood out of all this.
I'm glad you talk about this with the ham radio beginners. One of the better ways is to take an old garden hose and wrap it one and half times around a tree and cut it to that length. Then thread the wire through the hose and twist it so it creates a loop with a circumference length one an a half times the circumference of the tree. That pads the wire from the tree, and as the tree grows it's bark can push it away.

That one and a half times the circumference margin will allow for at least ten years of growth of the tree. With the exception of a eucalyptus tree, use two times the circumference margin and check it in five years instead of ten.


Usually the time I would have to wait for the wood to season after cutting and sectioning, but before splitting to become good firewood is three years. However with the oaks I always wait two years after they stop producing leaves and have any appearance of being alive, before cutting them down because they can hibernate for two years during a drought.

This tree's wood has dryed out and seasoned while standing, and is good firewood now, it will heat my home this winter. :)

I've gotten enough wood in now to get me through the end of February. In a weeks time I will have in the rest of what I need. The remainder I need this year will be split from wood I cut and sectioned ahead in past years and put in the shed to season. Some of it has been in that shed for five or six years.

So I have another week of swinging an ax in the shed, the chain saw work for this winter is done.



Then I have about two weeks of cutting and sectioning of two greener (wet) however dead smaller trees for future years to get into the drying shed before winter sets in.

At the moment there are also four more trees which have appeared to be dead for one year, but still have a year to go before I will cut them because they might just be in hibernation. Two of those trees are very large old oaks. Over two hundred years old, big enough that one of them will produce enough wood for the house for two or three years each.

Two years ago I thought I was about to run out of wood to cut, but the drought went on for so long all of a sudden I have enough dead wood standing on my place I won't run out of wood for six or eight more years at the very least.


By then I'll be too old to cut wood. :|

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rainwater
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by rainwater »

thanks for your love and kindness to this big survivor tree.
its a good read sam.

the last time i saw a tree down was early spring in CO, id seen the cracks at the base of the
big cottonwood and could see it was going to go over at some point not far off. id been noticing
it from horseback and could see the cracks getting bigger longer deeper...and lots of space inside
the trees base.
i decided to walk thru that grouping and give this one a good rub and good thanks for having
been there so long and done so well for everything around, how beautiful it was this tree.

you guessed it. next day when i went back to horses..the tree had gone over.
im afraid when i go back the massive "queen of the river" tree will have gone over too.
not sure my eyes could take that.

it wasnt until i got to know that land and those cottonwoods along the river that i realized
livestock ate the seedlings all across this country.
that is another major reason we lost forest. they clear cut then the seedlings were grazed and still are.
Who are these..flag-sucking halfwits fleeced fooled by stupid little rich kids, They speak
for all that is cruel stupid, They are racists hate mongers I piss down the throats of
these Nazis Im too old to worry whether they like it, Fuck them.
HST.

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Sam Lefthand
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Sam Lefthand »

rainwater » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:33 pm wrote:thanks for your love and kindness to this big survivor tree.
its a good read sam.

the last time i saw a tree down was early spring in CO, id seen the cracks at the base of the
big cottonwood and could see it was going to go over at some point not far off. id been noticing
it from horseback and could see the cracks getting bigger longer deeper...and lots of space inside
the trees base.
i decided to walk thru that grouping and give this one a good rub and good thanks for having
been there so long and done so well for everything around, how beautiful it was this tree.

you guessed it. next day when i went back to horses..the tree had gone over.
im afraid when i go back the massive "queen of the river" tree will have gone over too.
not sure my eyes could take that.

it wasnt until i got to know that land and those cottonwoods along the river that i realized
livestock ate the seedlings all across this country.
that is another major reason we lost forest. they clear cut then the seedlings were grazed and still are.
Thanks Rain.

Compassion for trees with some sense of they have feelings to share with us, and we with them, is something we have in common.

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ZoWie
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by ZoWie »

I like trees. Most of the ones I've known have been far more satisfying to interact with than most of the people.

Yes I've seen the hose thing. That is very good advice. Yes, longer for a eucalyptus. Those are all over SoCal, and they grow like weeds in that climate.

Next step toward professional antenna design is to put a pulley at the tree end, and counterweight off the antenna so the tree can sway freely. The last step is to leave the trees alone and stick a pole in the ground. Unfortunately, neighborhood associations tend to hate poles.

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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Motor City »

Plants talk to each other using an internet of fungus

it says they talk to there neighbors also that they steal from each other but they dont really own the carbon and other stuff they are transporting between them.
It's an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime.

No, we're not talking about the internet, we're talking about fungi. While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.......

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Sam Lefthand
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Re: A Eulogy For a Tree

Post by Sam Lefthand »

Motor City » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:57 pm wrote:Plants talk to each other using an internet of fungus

it says they talk to there neighbors also that they steal from each other but they dont really own the carbon and other stuff they are transporting between them.
Interesting. Mycorrhizae prosper in the soils around here. The part of the article about the Tomatoes was especially interesting because it explained what i saw this summer in my tomatoes. With my tomatoes they were planted with mixed soil and then that soil was placed in pots. The first two batches of soil was all from imported fertile loam mix. But I was going to run short so the second two batches had some local soil with extensive mycorrhizae growth to extend it so I could get all 14 plants set out.

Then some weeks later I had an alternaria solani infestation and I observed similar results to that described in the article. It was one row hurt pretty bad the other row hardly touched. But there was some alternaria solani in both rows so I know both rows were infested at the same time.

I always have a alternaria solani infestation, seems that harmful fungi is also in my local soils.

I never use the same soil twice for tomatoes. When I mix this years batches I'll be sure to start the mycorrhizae growth at the same time by blending in some local soil in all of the batches.

I've noticed that gophers in their food storage tunnels have extensive mycorrhizae over growth in the food in the storage area. I wonder if they're jacked into that fungal net as well. I do consider gophers to be a key environmental species. They are the soil builders, this area would look like a scorched waste land without them. Gopher seem to know where the roots of invasive plant species are and they eat them until they are gone. Unfortunately around here the invasive plant species are what I plant and want to grow.

In the mountains of Colorado voles seem to fill a similar soil building role, as well as seeming to know where the garden roots are, which they eat until they are gone.

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