Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Winds Rip Through Rock's Roost - Decapitating and Uprooting

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Summer

It's been a strange summer, lots of rain with short bursts on insufferable heat.  Last night one of our brief hot spells came to a sudden end with a very mean storm that blew through the area.  Before the winds had died down, my little farm had lost one tree, limbs were strewn all over the place, and the top had blown off of Wolverton Mountain, my massive brush pile.  This morning I will have to repair the damage to Wolverton and add to its height and girth with all of the new brush that is lying around.  Then I need to figure out what to do with the fallen tree.

One of my farm's previous owners liked the idea of big tangles of vines.  He, or she, put up trellises in strange locations and planted permanent vines around them and just let them go.  I have plenty of room, and the vine piles make good homes for the birds, so I mow around them as they keep growing thicker and more immense.

There were two fairly young trees out by the chicken coop that sat about three feet apart.  Each of the trees was a foot or so in diameter and around thirty feet tall.  The vine person put a trellis between those trees, planted some vines, and let them climb.  When I moved here the vines had reached the top of the trees and permanently tangled them together.

And that pair of trees would have stayed buried in those vines had it not been for the fact that while walking to or from the barn one day last summer I happened to spy a beautiful red leaf on the ground.  I recognized it as a sassafras leaf - and set about looking for its parent plant.  Sassafras "trees" are usually no more than big sprouts, but even so I could not find one.

Then I looked up and spotted a smattering of red leaves in the enormous pile of vines.  The pair of tall, slender trees were actually sassafras, the largest ones I had ever seen!

I paid a young man to spend most of a day cutting and pulling the vines from those two trees, and for a year I had a pair of beautiful sassafras trees as a focal point of my yard.  That ended last night when the storm toppled one of them.  Perhaps if I had left them tangled together both would still be standing instead of just one.

So today, after I finish gathering all of the loose brush and piling it onto Wolverton Mountain, I will begin trimming the fallen sassafras tree.  Being a true son of the Ozarks, I will save the trunk, knowing that sooner or later I will need it for something.

Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Or perhaps if you'd not removed the vines you'd have two down trees. Anyway, there is a market out there for sassafras wood as it can be used in the bar-b-que smokers. Apparently it is good for pork and ham. The advice was to remove the bark and season for at least 6 months. No doubt West Plains has an abundance of smokers with pickup trucks and chain saws. Call the KUKU Swapline at 417-255-1682 Monday - Friday 10:00 – 10:30am and see if you get any takers.