Big storm; timber salvage

A big storm blew threw a few days back, and it spread havoc all over the midcoast.  We were not spared – a large pine tree growing on shallow soil uprooted to the northeast of the orchard, and it crashed into a second, smaller pine tree.  The whole conglomeration came down hard on the north fence – just the tops actually hit the fence, but still all the electric fence wires were stripped off of the posts, and the deer netting was collapsed as well.  Dave discovered the problem last week, and he, Jake, and Joanna went out and cut enough away to hang the wires back up on the posts.  Joshua and I went up yesterday, cleaned up further, fixed some of the insulators that had shorted out, and put the netting back on the posts.  Fortunately we didn’t seem to have any deer damage (we think they learn to give the fence a wide berth, and that being creatures of habit it takes them a while to move back in once something changes).  I also checked the majority of the trees and didn’t find any more with mouse damage; I guess the massacre of the Opalescent tree despite the spiral wrap was a fluke – freaky though.

Two big pines and a spruce also came down on the southwest corner of the orchard, but these fell away and did no damage. I had been leaning towards removing these to let more light in on the orchard; as it happened nature made the call for us.  These were on very shallow soil above a rock outcrop, and by clearing up to them we both increased the wind load on them and probably compromised their roots.  When you see what these trees are growing on, it’s not hard to believe that just a few hundred human generations ago the coast of Maine was scoured bare by mile-thick sheets of ice.  We yarded the trunks out to the grandparents’ dooryard and added them to the pile of saw timber there, and making some nasty ruts in the south field – need to pick a route and start to establish a proper road through there.

Soon (at orchard weekend if not before) I want to spend some time with the trees, maybe pruning a bit but mostly training some of the ganglier branches outward at a more favorable angle.  Also more mulching, removal of rocks, and maybe establishing a couple of squash or pumpkin beds between rows.

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