Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wind Casualty

My work has been really busy lately, and I've been missing my regular bird and plant walks around the garden.  Today I decided to take one of those walks, even though I felt like I didn't have time.  I was pleased to be back from my trip and able to feed the chickadees again.  I noticed a lot of leaves and small branches on the ground as I began walking.  We had some extremely strong winds, and other parts of the Maritime provinces have been very badly damaged by the storm that was the tail end of Hurricane Matthew passing by.  There were record-breaking rainfall totals in several provinces and many power outages.  New Brunswick fared better than Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but we still had the damaging winds and fairly heavy rain.  I wandered around to the front yard and discovered, much to my surprise, that we had a tree fall down during the night!

The tree was an old spruce that was positioned along the lower edge of our driveway.  When it fell, it broke with about 2 or 3 feet of stump left in the ground.

The tree fell outwards, towards the road, and spans between the road and the bottom curve of our driveway.  The wood doesn't look rotten, so I think it was just the heavy winds combined with the height of the tree.

It's probably a 75 foot long tree, or thereabouts.  These tall spruce have branches without many needles along most of their length, with the green and vibrant part right up at the top where it gets the sunlight.  I wonder if that also makes them a bit top-heavy.

I noticed that it also took down a large bough from a pine tree in its fall.  Here you can see the top (green) part of the spruce pointing to the left, and the pine bough underneath it.

When he came home after work, Marc was able to help me move the pine bough and the top part of the downed tree into the goat and sheep area, so that they could snack on the pine and spruce needles, which they love to eat!  They also eat the lichen on the branches.  Now there is a bit of an open patch where the sunlight comes through - no doubt it will lead to a new tree being able to grow up into the space that has been left.

I was sad to see that we'd lost this tree, but it's part of the natural cycle of woodlands, and many creatures will benefit from the old wood as it decays.   We will have to cut up some of the largest portions and move them, but some of the branches and smaller pieces will stay on the ground.  Here's a young spruce just starting out in the area that the old one was shading - maybe this one will be the next towering tree!

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