If a Tree Falls in a Windstorm, Does It Make a Sound?

Sometime Friday night, or more likely, early Saturday morning, a tree fell in the homestead compound. We heard a lot of crashing in the night, mostly from snow getting blown off tree branches above our roof. But, we didn’t hear the tree fall.

It had leaned from the hill above the cabin for as long as we can remember. Likely, it was leaning when we first saw the place. It finally fell in that night’s wind storm, falling across the trail that enters our dooryard, hanging up on the railing to the outhouse.

In fact, it almost blocked the way to the outhouse, which we found problematic. Necessity and experimentation proved we could get around it and into the outhouse, but we needed to move it off the trail!

Fallen tree

What a sight to wake up to! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I’m not pleased. While half-dead, this tree isn’t cured, ready to burn, so any work I did to clear it doesn’t add to this winter’s fire wood. I feel a little as if I were spinning my wheels.

Fallen tree

It fell so that it blocked the path and to the cabin and to the outhouse (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I attacked it with a couple of bow saws and a felling ax, and soon had it cleared as much as need be. I severed the two remaining support roots, to ensure that the tree didn’t receive any more sustenance from them. I then cut the section off the trail, pulled it off the railing, and trimmed a few longer branches. Each cut had its own subtle torque and pressures that bound saw and ax blades as I worked.

After that, I left it; it sits above the ground on branches, and will dry better in the air, with less contact on the wet ground. This summer I’ll buck it up and stow it in the wood shed to dry until next winter.

Fallen tree

View from the hill, showing the two supporting roots on each side I needed to cut (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I piled the trimmed branches on the hill to dry. I may move them to one of our various brush heaps on the beach to dry, eventually to cut up for shower wood and kindling, unless the Pacific wrens colonize them in the meantime.

Fallen tree

A quick and dirty fix to a sticky problem. It’s ready to dry on its own time now (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I’m a bit worried that the fall may have damaged the Christmas lights I strung on the outhouse railing. I’ll find out the night I wrote this—they’re programmed to come on at certain times after dark, and I didn’t want to mess with that. I can wait to find out. The impact did split one end of the railing, which I’m not pleased about. We’ll need to see if we can repair it, or perhaps remove it—that remains to be seen.

split handrail

The impact split one end of the handrail (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).


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