Libby and I came upon this old wood pile when we were hiking the perimeter of Fallen Timbers some weeks back. I’d forgotten it was there. This is in the area my neighbor had logged, not knowing where the true property line ran. He only stopped after he’d taken two acres of our trees, but that’s a different matter.
Soon after that incident, Seth and I made an effort to clearly distinguish the surveyed line. We set a few posts and hung a few signs, but we also attempted to cut up some of the slash left behind by the loggers.
Slash is the tree top that the loggers can’t use after they take the trunk of the tree. Take a look at the largest oak tree you can find. You’ll possibly see ten to fifteen feet of clear, straight trunk. This is what the loggers are interested in. But atop that are wide-spreading branches that form the crown of the tree. Now, picture this wide-spreading crown lying on the ground. (Picture more than 80 of them spread over two acres.) Even though the branches of the crown could make good fire wood, the loggers aren’t interested in such a labor-intensive product and leave the slash behind. While all of this cover and rotting wood is beneficial for wildlife, it also presents a fire hazard since so much hot-burning fuel is now accessible to the inevitable ground fires that tend to come in the spring.
These thickets of slash make it almost impossible for hikers to walk their boundary lines. And so Seth and I got busy with the chainsaw one long-ago day to begin slicing a path through the slash. Much of what we cut we simply let fall to the ground where it could eventually enrich the soil. But we also stacked some of it, not with the intention of retrieving it later for a campfire — the site was too remote — but simply to show anyone passing near the property line that we had been by and were paying attention. There are several such woodpiles along the western property line including one that is sizeable.
Now, as you can see, the woodpile is rotting into the earth. The scrub has returned, as it has throughout the two acres where sunlight now reaches the forest floor. We never finished the job of clearing the perimeter, but much of the slash is now collapsing, and regardless, the scrub has grown so thick in some places that we have to divert around it anyway.
Still, it is nice to come upon such a site in the middle of the trackless forest and recall a day of hard work with my son.
Housekeeping Note: Roundrock Journal was moved to a new server yesterday afternoon. Some of you thousands who deign to visit here may have noticed an hour or two when it was offline. All is well now, and I hope there will be no interruptions in the future. Also, I didn’t get my site meter reset, so my total continues to run.
Further Update: I don’t know what the problem with leaving comments is, but I’ll have my webmaster look into it as soon as he can out there on the Left Coast.