Monday, January 23, 2012

Tote that tree! Lift that trunk!

two fallen treesLest anyone think I’m just sitting around throwing stitches over knitting needles, there’s also heavy labouring to be done outdoors.

Sometime in December a couple of trees fell into the pond, taking some saplings with them which have bent into the water under the weight of the heavier trunks.

Inspection of the bases showed that both had been well chewed by insects and were now only supported by ivy stems and the interlocking of higher branches with neighbouring trees. Whether it was wind, water or coypu that ultimately dislodged them I don’t know, but it was only a matter of time before they rotated like a ball joint and toppled to the water.

Whatever roots are remaining are still in the ground to bind the soil, but the weight of the  trunk bases is providing some downward pressure on the banks.

I’ve had a couple of goes at pulling the topmost tree out of the water from the opposing bank –both alone and with Gustav - but didn’t get very far till the third attempt. At this point I’d been aided by rainfall filling the pond and giving some more flotation. I could have tied a rope to it and pulled it out with my car weeks ago, but part of the point of the exercise is the exercise itself.

Last week I pulled it about 80% clear of the water (as shown above), but was defeated by a combination of the heavier weight of the tree base and some branch stubs digging into the ground.
first removal  second removal
With the top tree out of the water, the next one proved to be much easier and it joined the other on dry land. The only tentative plan I have for them is to strip away the branches and drag them down to the other end of the pond to use as reinforcement for the banks that the coypu have hollowed out.
clear pondWith these two trees out of the way, the western end of the pond is now clear of most of the debris that has fallen or been thrown into it. There are a few more zombie trees that will fall in  sooner or later which can be dealt with as that happens. I’ve also cleaned out most of the dead branches interwoven with long thorny bramble branches that were forming a canopy across the centre of the pond, some of which was blocking my view southwards to the Pyrenees.

Munson went into the water a few times today, and for the first time ever came out cleaner than when he went in!

In the front of the last picture here you can see part of an old metal door that I’ve left in the water. It was lying further up on the pond and I dragged it back here to give me something to stand on when I was cleaning other muck out. I’m going to leave it there for now to improve access to the water, if only for the dogs who would otherwise get quite muddy.

There’s a few more smaller clearing and reinforcement tasks to be done over the next few weeks before Spring growth  begins.

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