Tuesday, December 13, 2011
With the garden frozen hard and covered with snow, Ed gets his required time outside by walking the perimeter of our thirty-six acres. This moss covered glacial erratic lies near a neighbor's field. Its companion tree is a black birch that is now large enough to tap. Making birch syrup has long held a fascination for us. We have reduced maple sap to syrup by boiling but have never tried the same process with birch trees. An outdoors man friend of my father reported several unsuccessful attempts to tap birch trees. He could never get the sap to run. I have since read that the time to tap birch trees is after the taps are pulled from the maples. Birch sap does not start to run as early as maple sap. One tree does not a sap line make so this tree is likely safe from the tapping drill.
This rock always reminds me of Scott Nearing. He built a woodland study atop a similar rock. My rock is not large enough to support an office. Peeling off the rough surface could be easily done but what would I do with the birch tree. This tree will never see the rock cutting chisel attack its anchorage.
We have lost several trees that grew on the edge of our field adjacent to the bedrock ledge. Here the trees roots were restricted to a few inches of soil overlaying the rock ledge. Abundant water moving above the ledge also kept the tree roots shallow. A strong wind has little difficulty throwing such trees to the ground. Mother nature will have to clean up this mess. We have neither the necessary tools nor the will to tackle a job of this proportion.
Here is a recent picture taken from almost the same location as the first picture in the last post. When we first obtained the land I had serious reservations about placing our new house so that it looked into the raw edge of this glacial terrace. Time without grazing livestock has allowed trees to grow here. Now our house faces a wooded slope. Some selective cutting would improve the developing structure of these trees. Cutting some of these trees would make a decent winter task.