Saturday, February 21, 2015

Brush Piles For Your Wild Things

So, last week we were doing some tree trimming.

This photo is for all you "safety saints" who will feel the urge to question going up a ladder with a chainsaw.
You can see it wasn't all that high ... my ladder will go a lot longer than that , 34 feet to be exact.

Plus, I didn't climb the ladder with a running chainsaw, heck that would be crazy.

I started it once I reached the top.


If you look closely, you'll see the ladder is ratchet strapped to the tree at a low angle, so balancing is not a challenge.
Center of mass and all that...

The reason for all this (besides pure fun), was that the lower branches of a couple of nice oaks were drooping down so low that they were interfering with travel through the yard.
Plus, they were doomed anyway by the self-pruning of low branches all trees do as upper branches shade them out.

I don't recommend one arm chainsawing, but in this case, I couldn't work safely around the limbs I wanted to cut until I cleared out some of the dead hanging palm fronds.
(Thank you Tony Horton

Instead of doing this with all of the brush and adding more carbon to the atmosphere, I hauled a bunch of the branches out to a former wildlife brushpile site.

The site, pictured below is whats left of a brushpile I made years ago by using a wire crate as a support and layering branches over it.
The wire and wood crate had contained the faux stone I installed when I redid the fireplace and living room. At the time it was destined for the landfill ... until I decided to let it work here rather than take up space there.

As you can see above, in the world of brushpiles, this one was "tired".
If the purpose of wildlife brush piles is to provide habitat and temporary shelter for critters, this one had melted down to a point of ineffectiveness.

This is what it looks like after "rebrushing".

Here's a view from a different side.
Now it's back to being a place where a cardinal can dodge a hawk or make a nest, a ratsnake can hunt for cardinal eggs, warblers can flit about for whatever they flit about, butterflies can make cocoons,  rabbits can rest, lizards can bask and avoid black racers, and all kinds of insects can creep, crawl, and munch.

I have some other brush pile plans to create, they involve some old decrepit fence posts, but that project hasn't happened yet.
IF you want to see the original post about the making of this brushpile about 5 years ago, just click here.


Julie Zickefoose said...

Lots of favorite lines here, but "Plus, I didn't climb the ladder with a running chainsaw, heck that would be crazy.

I started it once I reached the top.
is near the top of the list. Also: the luverly little circle of life about cardinal eggs and rat snakes. Yep. We're brushpile fans here too. I never cease to be amazed at their capacity to melt down to NUTHIN'. Even in the cooler climes. I can haul stuff out and pile it higher than my head and within a year I could almost step over it. Have to admit I do like to burn, though.
One-armed chainsawing. C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Big brushpile creators here in PA too. Lots of heavy use this snowy, cold winter. And on an somewhat unrelated topic -- have you ever noticed how many creepy images and "faces" so often appear in fire photos? Kim in PA, long-time reader - lousy about commenting

Rondeau Ric said...

I'm sure the safety brigade will have lots of comments about how foolish one handed chainsawing.
I think back on all the foolish/stupid/dangerous things we did as kids and we managed to survive.
As adults we take calculated risks, as kids we just did stupid because we were immortal.
Take care with that thing.

R.Powers said...

Zick, I burned a micro controlled burn today around Gunny the gunrange gophers burrow. Pyrofaction.

Hey Kim,
Ahh Pennsylvania. .. love Mom is from PA.

True. I tell my students my tales are mostly due to calculated risks not foolish risks. One handed chainsawing falls somewhere in the grey zone, but it's not that hard when you only do it for small branch quick cuts and never overhead.
Having had a finger almost completely amputated by a rope on a boat makes a chainsaw seem an easy risk to calculate.

Wally said...

The ultimate form of recycling!

It's a good thing OSHA wasn't around our grandparents' farms and ranches. We'd all have starved and had no place to live.

robin andrea said...

It's a wonderful thing to reuse all that stuff and help the critters there. Good job!

Carol said...

We had several trees that survived hurricane Charlie but were topped and now rotting in the center. Jim cut them down and all limbs and brus becomes "wildlife habitat" all disappears in a few years anyways...

Kort said...

I just picked up a battery powered chainsaw to replace a gas one, and it is surprisingly powerful and easy to use. Highly recommended!