Saturday, November 15, 2008

Heartwood Time

Saturday, Novemeber 15, 2008

A busy morning here on the mountain, not "us" being busy but being surrounded by the commotion generated by the opening day of rifle deer season in Vermont. Headlights break the darkness, traveling in all directions as hunters head for deer camps, favorite "stands" or agreed upon meeting places. Karl the Wonder Dog began his security watch around 4 AM and within half an hour I was up and around, wanting just a little more sleep but knowing it was a hopeless wish with so much uninvited company.

Karl and I had hardly stepped off the walkway to the lawn and he came to attention with a mean growl that sounded like a "STOP, Who Goes There?" to me. Close by, in the damp, thick air of the 52 degree morning, I felt the presence of a big bodied animal not far from us. First I thought it was a moose but as it moved away, there was no sound of hooves in the damp soil. I quickly passed over 'paranormal' and concluded that Mrs Bear and the cubs were passing through again. As long as she is moving away from me I am fine with that but having a protection unit at the end of the leash can be troublesome depending on how the bear interprets relationships. This morning all went well and we got back to the house safely.

Yesterday morning as I stopped at Tim's Mobil for my daily morning paper and extra large Green Mountain Coffee , someone I had never seen before asked "Blog don't work?" as he never stopped walking towards the sleepy cashier. "What's that?", I queried as other coffee pourers stopped filling cups to catch the answer. "You're not writin" much now. Sick?" It still didn't register who this man was but I could tell by his dress that he was a logger and the conversation proved that even some loggers are gardeners....or read gardening blogs.

It might have been difficult to figure through his oiled chain saw chaps and ragged sweatshirt, but the smile through a pile of third day growth whiskers made it clear he missed the blog. I topped off my coffee and walked up to him as he almost swallowed whole the first of 6 Eddie's jelly donuts. "I've been cleaning up for the season and the new nursery is taking more time than I thought." "I figured that." he replied "See you out there every night and don't know when you sleep. Get some writing done cuz we miss it." I told him that I appreciated his comments and I'd get back on target soon.

If you follow garden blogs, there's always a time when there's a noticeable absence. Everyone has some chores which take a bit longer than usual and priorities are a must. For me, it's been splitting wood for the next season or two as I like to be at least a year ahead. That insures that we have dry would to burn and even if something happens to me that interrupts my schedule, the house will be warm and worries about creosote in the chimney won't exist.

In a few minutes I have to get going on the wood pile that if half and half, ash and beech. I dislike cutting either of these trees as they are on my list of favorites. Unfortunately both have major problems and they are dying out around here. The ash is bothered by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that has been here for 6 years now. That number is in conflict with what all the state and federal tree people say but I identified the problem here while they were denying it existed.

With the beech, there has been a serious decline that started in Vermont in the early 60's. The problem involves Nectria fungus and the beech scale insect which in conjunction are known as Beech Bark Disease. The smooth beech barks become pock marked and the heartwood begins to get pulpy as the tree quickly dies. In short order the tree is worthless for lumber or even firewood and the result is great economic significance to an important resource. I cut this very high BTU wood when I see signs of bad health. I don't like to but it's better to use the resource than it have it fall into useless piles.

Before it rains today I want to wash off the brush hog and the tiller and get them covered for the winter. There's a still a ton of empty pots stacked here and there and residual debris from a short but successful summer on Route 2. Better get going as rain shows strong on the radar and the temperature will fall as will snow by morning.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where two shots just broke the morning silence. Deer hunting is a big economic event in Vermont.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


tina said...

I can almost smell the burning fire all the way down here.

troutbirder said...

Ran across your blog this a.m. and found it very interesting. We joined the leaf peepers on a tour of New England in early Oct. Am especially interested in following your progress in building a "shady garden" as I have a similar project underway.

George Africa said...

Hello troutbirder;

Glad you found Vermont Gardens. If you check out today's post at The Vermont Gardener you will see how the new shade garden is shaping up. Our website, has some pictures of building shade gardens here at our house. Included was a nice garden within the confines of a very old barn foundation.It will never be replaced but will serve as a model for what we have planned at our new site.

The foliage this year was the greatest. September 30th I took some pictures and they were by far the best. Some tour groups come to Vermont too early or too late and people unfamiliar with Vermont still get excited but don't get to see what is available.

I notice you have an interest in Civil War history. New England has some great reenactments in the summer and those in Vermont bring you in touch with a part of the past few seem to understand any more. Just try "Vermont Civil War Hemlocks" and you should get a sense of some of our past. My son Alex has been studying this topic for years and it's become a real interest to me too.

Thanks for finding us!
George Africa

Barbee' said...

George, I appreciated your comment on my post about moles. I wrote a reply to your comment, then decided to do a post of it. I mentioned you and put in your 3 links, I hope that is ok. You will find my post HERE.
Also, I tried to subscribe to your blogs and got a message that your feeds are not turned on. Is that correct?