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  #1  
Old 4th August 2012, 04:39 AM
Dan Online
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Unhappy A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

At around 0800 this morning, I was planning a lazy day of hiding indoors where the AC would mitigate the expected 106F sizzle. I had no intentions of going anywhere outside today without a damn good reason, and once the mercury hits triple digits, those are pretty hard to come by. So, whilst typing away at something surely meaningless here at my desk, and had just glanced out the window. Seeing that all was well, and the Parks crew had arrived and was cleaning up after yesterday's inconsiderate jerks er ... citizens/park users. All was basically well with the world, even though it was already over 82F out there.

As I glanced back toward my screen, I heard an unaccountably loud crack outside, and looked out the window again, just in time to see a huge hunk of a grand-daddy oak tree hit the ground over at the park pavilion with one helluva wham. Needless to say, I hit the door at a dead run. Several tons of live oak had just come down exactly where these guys usually park their truck when they work.

By the time I made it across the street, I could see both guys standing under the pavilion canopy, looking stunned, but otherwise unhurt. Having a way with understatement, the youngest of the two looked at his companion and said, "Well. That sucks. Glad we moved the truck."

So, no panic, no harm, no foul, unless you count the two or three days it's going to take to finish felling the monster, or the death of the tree itself.


And as usual ... pictures ...




Right after it came down:



A very lucky Chevy:



The reason it came down:



The business end of the bough that fell:



Limbing out the other side:



They got most of it down and hauled off today. The remainder of the trunk still stands, although it's rotted hollow all the way down the middle, and probably into the roots. Monday is soon enough to drop that part. The weight is off, so the danger is mostly mitigated. In all likelihood this monster was actually killed back in 2000 when a winter ice storm took the tops out of a number of these old oaks. Once the tops were broken, their fates were sealed. Since then, they've hollowed out, and one by one, have succumbed to the ravages of time, rot, bugs and stifling summer heat.

Seems like somewhat of an ignominious end to a life that survived floods, droughts, both the first major fire in Paris, and then the big one of 1916, then endured the tornado in 1982 that levelled so much of the town.

I'd hate to have to try to count the number of birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, proposals, piñatas and gatherings of family, friends, sweethearts and the general happy mayhem of children running, laughing and shouting beneath the shade of its sheltering branches over the span of a century and a half.

I saved a couple of big hunks of it. Not sure what I'm going to make with them yet, but I sure hope it will be something more befitting and enduring than the fate of the rest of it. That being the grinder over at the municipal public mulch pit.


So ... that was my Friday. What's happening in your little corner of the world this weekend?
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  #2  
Old 4th August 2012, 07:05 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Yowzerz!

You might be able to whittle you a toothpick out of that tree

It is sad to see such a grand tree fall, though There are getting to be fewer and fewer of the old trees left in this world.

What is even sadder is the fact that they are pretty much forced to take down the entire tree now, due to safety concerns
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  #3  
Old 4th August 2012, 08:06 AM
Dan Online
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

They don't seem to get too bothered by losing trees down here. Certainly nothing like, say, Green River/Rock Springs, WY or Las Cruces, NM, or La Junta, CO. I guess relative scarcity has a lot to do with it.


Here's the same oak winter before last (Feb 2010):
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  #4  
Old 4th August 2012, 08:59 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Oak trees tend to get that hollowing rot after a couple hundred years or so.

You should plant a new sapling and put your name on a sturdy stainless steel plaque a couple meters in front of it and you may be revered a few centuries from now as the grand ol'oak planter of the primitive 21st century...
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  #5  
Old 4th August 2012, 12:14 PM
bob Online
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Up around here, we've got plenty of giants, although most of them are white pine with a shallow root system. They sure are stately standing there at 100+ feet tall, yet I don't see any that are 150 feet, so when the giants are in your yard and anywhere near your house, it's a good idea to spend a few hundred to euthanize them rather than have Mother Nature decide where they'll land!
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  #6  
Old 4th August 2012, 01:11 PM
Adunaic Online
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
I saved a couple of big hunks of it. Not sure what I'm going to make with them yet, but I sure hope it will be something more befitting and enduring than the fate of the rest of it. That being the grinder over at the municipal public mulch pit.
With a nice old tree like that I would not want to cut it up much. May be take a slice and puts some legs on it so you have a nice table. If you managed to / can get some of the small 2-3 inch across branches, they make excellent coasters.
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  #7  
Old 4th August 2012, 02:32 PM
Dan Online
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

I've got a friend who turns bowls out of such logs. I'll be sending a few for him to work with, but methinks I'll also completely annoy the "organic art" crowd by turning at least one log into one of these ...









... only this time I'm thinking in terms of an articulated loader, or a D9.
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  #8  
Old 4th August 2012, 08:50 PM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

I think trees are amazing, I tend to think of them as one of natures wise old men, silently standing in sentinel, watching and listening but saying nothing. Maybe they know something or many things we do not .
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  #9  
Old 4th August 2012, 09:28 PM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob linux View Post
I think trees are amazing, I tend to think of them as one of natures wise old men, silently standing in sentinel, watching and listening but saying nothing. Maybe they know something or many things we do not .
I'd second the ' old ', unless my memory is playing tricks the oldest living things on the planet are bristlecone pines in California, which make Dan's oak look like a seedling.
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  #10  
Old 5th August 2012, 01:00 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

When I was young and before Dutch Elm Disease had it's wicked way, my Father turned a slice of Elm trunk into the body of a turntable he was making. After being lovingly oiled it looked stunning and was certainly unique; a great party talking point!

I'm glad you've managed to salvage some of it as oak has such a beautiful grain In the UK the Oak is still revered for it's past use in ship building.
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  #11  
Old 5th August 2012, 03:00 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

I'm in southern New Jersey, and we got an incredibly powerful storm about 4 weeks ago.
It started at about 1 in the morning, and only lasted an hour or so, but it sounded like a freight train going through my house- I thought my house was gonna pull a Dorothy and be lifted away to Oz.
2 Maples in my yard came down, and JUST missed my house. I could not open my front door, though as it was blocked by the Red Maple in my front yard.
On the following morning, the whole county looked like it was hit by an all night artillery strike. We lost power for 6 days. Some people were out for 2 weeks or more.
The church house behind me had a hundred-year-old-Oak come down across the roof, breaking the ridge and taking down the power lines in the street.
My neighbor on the other side had 2 hundred-year-old-Oaks come down, one of 'em destroying his shed.

I wore out 2 chains over the next week, felling, bucking and limbing the carnage.
Fortunately, no one in my neighborhood was injured.
Looks like I'll be burning mostly Oak this winter. I got about 5 cords of wood out of that storm!
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  #12  
Old 5th August 2012, 03:19 AM
Dan Online
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I do love oak in furniture and building. Although it's heavy. I re-built the framework of a 23' travel trailer with oak once. The cheap white pine (mostly knots) they used to frame it with dry-rotted and was slowly pyrolizing away to dust so I skinned it, and rebuilt the framing with oak re-purposed from used pallets. Nails didn't work real well <....> so I drilled it and assemble it with screws. Took some time, but it worked a treat, and it never rotted again. Once it was done, though, I suspect I added at least half again to the weight of it. The old V8 Power Wagon sorta grunted a bit the next time I hooked it up for a trip. Had to lean into the throttle some to drag it down the road. <....>

Just had a quick look through my wallpaper collection, and it seems that venerable old tree has been the victim of quite a few photo exploits.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Misfit138 View Post
I'm in southern New Jersey, and we got an incredibly powerful storm about 4 weeks ago.
It started at about 1 in the morning, and only lasted an hour or so, but it sounded like a freight train going through my house- I thought my house was gonna pull a Dorothy and be lifted away to Oz.
2 Maples in my yard came down, and JUST missed my house. I could not open my front door, though as it was blocked by the Red Maple in my front yard.
On the following morning, the whole county looked like it was hit by an all night artillery strike. We lost power for 6 days. Some people were out for 2 weeks or more.
The church house behind me had a hundred-year-old-Oak come down across the roof, breaking the ridge and taking down the power lines in the street.
My neighbor on the other side had 2 hundred-year-old-Oaks come down, one of 'em destroying his shed.

I wore out 2 chains over the next week, felling, bucking and limbing the carnage.
Fortunately, no one in my neighborhood was injured.
Looks like I'll be burning mostly Oak this winter. I got about 5 cords of wood out of that storm!
Yikes! The rest of us heard about that mess on the nightly news, but didn't have to live it.

Hope you could save the maple. It makes great cabinetry! I also hope you've got some seasoned wood to stoke the stove before you try to burn all that green oak. In my experience, it doesn't burn worth a tinker's damn in the first year. Needs to season out for a full summer before it burns well. Although, I think the hardest stuff I ever tried to burn was a hybrid peach-cot. It was so bloody hard I think it would toss sparks when you slammed an axe into it! Worked good with a couple of chunks of coal on either side of it though. Get that going, and spin the air inlets down most of the way, and it would slow-burn all night long.
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Old 5th August 2012, 11:54 PM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Actually the oak used in warships, that were scrapped, were then used in building construction Here in Salisbury, we have many dating back to the 13th / 14th centuries; still with the original oak. To survive that long at sea and then the ravages of time in our damp climate, takes a special sort of wood That trailer sounds awesome
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Old 6th August 2012, 02:47 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Yikes! The rest of us heard about that mess on the nightly news, but didn't have to live it.

Hope you could save the maple. It makes great cabinetry! I also hope you've got some seasoned wood to stoke the stove before you try to burn all that green oak. In my experience, it doesn't burn worth a tinker's damn in the first year. Needs to season out for a full summer before it burns well. Although, I think the hardest stuff I ever tried to burn was a hybrid peach-cot. It was so bloody hard I think it would toss sparks when you slammed an axe into it! Worked good with a couple of chunks of coal on either side of it though. Get that going, and spin the air inlets down most of the way, and it would slow-burn all night long.
The Maple in front is a Red Maple. The one to the side is a Norway Maple..both are kinda invasive weeds.
Nothing like a majestic Sugar Maple! Now that's a tree!

I trimmed out all the twisted and split trunk area on both. I think they have a 50/50 chance of survival. Even though neither is a very desirable tree, I still hope they pull through; I like trees and hate to see 'em go.

I have a good 3 seasoned cords of Oak and Cherry ready for the winter...so anything I grab now is all gravy.

(In my experience, it takes a minimum of 12 months to dry Oak in this latitude.)
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  #15  
Old 6th August 2012, 07:22 AM
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Re: A sad end to a life 150+ years long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguinclaw View Post
Actually the oak used in warships, that were scrapped, were then used in building construction Here in Salisbury, we have many dating back to the 13th / 14th centuries; still with the original oak. To survive that long at sea and then the ravages of time in our damp climate, takes a special sort of wood That trailer sounds awesome
Not sure off the cuff, but I think that in the ' wooden walls ' days good shipyards would mature their timber for 3-4 years to let it thoroughly season. As always there were some with an eye to profit who'd use inferior wood and cut other corners - there are some references in the Patrick O'Brien ' Jack Aubrey ' novels - but as you say, good quality oak will really last. Ironically, in this area we have some old oaks which were planted for shipbuilding - early ' renewable resource '? - but before they matured they'd been made redundant by the move to steam powered iron ships.
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