After I took the Horsey Swing Turkey Oak down back in '05, I spent several weekends cutting up the giant limbs for fire and BBQ wood.
Eventually, the tree was reduced to one giant log section that was too big to fall into the "fun to chainsaw" category ... so I left it. It lay like a big bark covered parking barrier and actually kept delivery guys from driving across my struggling lawn. I toyed with the "let's make a dugout canoe" daydream for awhile, but eventually, I just let it lie.
The log is now the home of a few fence lizards (genus Sceloporus) , including a tiny baby who is only about an inch and half in length. Their cryptic coloration is so good that they usually sit tight, instead of dashing off as some other lizards do.
If you approach them slowly, they will cock their head and study you, as if trying to decide if they are still invisible or not. I don't know if a lizard can be confident, but they have this air of cockiness about them that I find endearing.
This one is a boy ... see the bright blue patch? Sunny days find him sitting atop his perch, surveying his kingdom and slurping insects that wander by. He seems to really enjoy this log.
I'm glad this tree is still in use. When it stood healthy and tall, my small children and plenty of adults took hair raising rides on the horsey swing that hung from it's branches. The swing, a horse cleverly made from an old tire was hung so high that small children had to be lifted overhead to mount up. A length of rope attached to it allowed an adult to get the swing going fast enough and high enough to bring forth a mix of terrified squeals mixed with laughter and always, always, a "Swing me again!" response from the riders.
The lizards like the tree the way it is now since it supports a nice bug collection and offers loose bark to hide under. They can't imagine fun or swinging so a horizontal tree is just fine to them.
Meanwhile, the horse swing sits out by the barn, draped over the garden fence. The kids who rode it are in high school and college now, but still around. Last week, I poked it, shook it, and gave it a good once over. It seems as sound as ever.
I bought a coil of rope and I'm looking up ...