Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Perilous Widow Maker
Our three day lake effect snow event has finally ended and today's clear skies drew me outside for a walkabout. This nearly inverted snapped off tree trunk is a new feature likely the result of the recent fierce weather. At first I had no luck finding the original location of the newly fallen tree branch. Looking up it was impossible to find its former home.
The original farm included the field in the foreground and the one that extends to a distant tree line. Fields beyond the tree line lie on the opposite side of the Unadilla River and are part of another old farm. Our land consists entirely of ground now found unsuited for cultivation and occupies glacial deposits that are higher than the river.
This view shows that the hanging wood was actually the entire trunk. How this happened is a bit of a puzzle. The fallen trunk above the supporting crotch is more massive than the remains below it. Only the steepness of the angle allows the fallen tree to remain where it is. This system is not stable. The supporting tree is far too small to bear this load for long. We will check in to see what happens next but only from a safe distance.
The high ground that provided these safe views are at the end of a fill that was made to bury the remains of the barn that was struck by lightning in the early 1960's.
This snapped off tree could hardly be classified as a widow maker. It does have the potential to be a leg breaker. For that reason I have chosen to simply leave it alone. My walking path did pass under where the tree fell and I could duck and scoot under it but my path simply took a new route. Walking about in the woods does require a measure of common sense.
Field workers do pass under the first tree shown to dump stone removed from the adjacent field. It is likely that the tree will have completed its journey to ground before that work resumes. That is also a spot where I find great wall stones but that work is also suspended until spring.