Saturday, September 22, 2012

We didn't hear it fall, but it went!

The other half of our ancient oak tree fell over this week, during a very windy, rainy night. I looked out the kitchen window and thought something was different in that corner of the yard. It was hard to be sure, due to the smaller (20 footers) in front of the massive oak, but the treeline definitely had a hole in it.  I told my father I would put pictures up here for him, so here we go.

First, a picture taken the week before to show off the clean van. The oak is centered behind the car, with the branch for the rope swing showing up going off to the right.
New gap in the treetops.
Half of this tree had come down several years ago and we hoped that when this side went, it wouldn't cause any damage. It missed the power lines, the road, our neighbor's house and yard, ending up in the front of his yard, among smaller trees. It would have been better had it gone the other direction, into our yard, but it's okay. We have a neighbor who wants the wood, so will help us clean it up in a few weeks.
The trunk is actually a little wider across than it is 'tall' but you get an idea of the size. That part may not be moved, except to pull it across onto our land. J's chainsaw will not get through that trunk. I'd love to get boards made of it, if it's solid, but have no idea of how to get that done, or what it might cost.

 A couple of branches got caught and are hanging from these trees.
 The remains of our old rope swing- which looks like a noose here. It had a tire once, but evolved into that loop that the kids stuck one foot into and than swung out from the stone wall. (And that branch the rope is attached to was alive when they used it- we didn't hang a rope from a dead limb)
 This is one of the roots and the hole that was left when the tree went over. The root is about 4 inches in diameter. I'd guess the tree was at least a couple hundred years old. It's sad to see it gone.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Butterflies are free

I spent the last week of August blissfully playing my new favorite computer game, Guild Wars 2. Yes, it is finally here and Ameranth and I do the dishes, vacuum the house and walk the dogs before rewarding ourselves with some game time. If it's raining however, it's free- I don't know why, since most of the chores are inside, but that's just how it works.

Today the sun is shining and I found a delightful surprise when I hung the clothes outside:
There are little gold flecks that I couldn't get to show up in the photo. After the photo shoot I moved the pin over closer to the post for a little more protection. This is a monarch butterfly chrysalis, and from what I understand this may be the 4th generation of the year, the one who migrates south for the winter. The caterpillars eat milkweed, and apparently the adults like Joe Pye Weed, since we saw a cloud of a dozen or so flitting about last week.
Now, I'm wondering how the caterpillar got so far off course as to end up on a clothesline when it had to stop and spin its case. This butterfly might head for Canada, instead of Mexico! Good luck, little friend.