Monday 17 January 2022

Processing: alnus to twigs

 Two Fridays back, I wrote about the forcible transmigration of a handful of our riverine trees [alder Alnus glutinosa and willow Salix spp.] to the opposite Wexford <ptui ptui> bank of the wee stream which marks the end of our demesne and then county borrder. 

These things happen even if one could wish otherwise. asap, I planted about 20 Salix whips to help hold the bank together during the periodic floods. Last week, the weather being unseasonably sunny and dry, we descended on the field where the tree corpses had been laid out: self with the mighty Zomax ch.saw & The Beloved with loppers and a hatchet. I R old, so I resolved to work a shift equivalent to a tankful of gas in the ch.saw. The willows especially were quite gnarly and twisted; and I could see length suitable firewood through a veil of twigs. Removing the layers of occluding brash was not dissimilar to a surgeon peeling back the epidermis, dermis, adipose, muscle and mesentry to reach the patient's pancreas. 

I stopped the engine every little while a) to spare the arm-muscles b) to get some work out of the others: pulling brash out of the way, so it wasn't a trip-hazard [I R old: it goes with the territory] but also stacking the logs into tidily convenient piles. TB did more work pulling all the small stuff into a long bank along the edge of the field. This stop-start meant about two hours of work and two trees dismembered for each tankful of gas. Three shifts over Thursday and Friday saw our part of the task finished.

I am confident that, some time soon, the log piles will be delivered to our yard in the front bucket of our neighbour's tractor. The stumps, which are too fibre-tangled to split and too stone- and sand-included to cut, will disappear into a hollow - for habitat, like. Twigs also.

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