Chores done and lessons learned

Don came over with his chainsaw today to help out again. The apple trees needed some dead limbs taken off so that they werent just dead weight sapping the trees energy. I had tried using a hand saw and only managed to have it keep getting jammed, then jerk out and hit me in the hand and bruise my thumb joint badly.

So I was hoping he’d give me chainsaw 101 lessons, but the chain on the saw was loose and kept kicking off its track so….. I didnt really want to mess around with that, it didnt feel safe. An 18 inch chainsaw is about the largest recommended for someone like me to handle, and it wasnt as heavy as I feared it could be, but it wasnt exactly light either, not for me to safely lift it up and cut higher limbs, especially with a wonky chain. So I mostly just pointed at what needed cutting and he did all the work. Oh well.

Actually, mostly we just stood around shooting the breeze, inbetween talking about the garden plans, identifying trees, finding a morel in the woods, messing with the chickens, etc…

Good news is that the trees near the garden which the extension agent had identified as black walnut – which he said we would need to chop down because otherwise the juglone chemical the roots produce can kill most veggie garden crops planted near by – are actually not black walnut, they are black locust and there’s no problem with those. Don pointed out how the bark between black locust and black walnut at that width/stage of growth can look very similar, but if you look at the smaller branches on the locust, they have very obvious thorns on them, the walnuts do not. He also said the locusts will have sparse foliage that comes in late and drops off early, so we’d really only see leaves on those trees from about june till august and that’s it – whereas the walnuts, once their foliage comes in, will have much denser leaves that stick around longer, not to mention they will form and drop walnut fruits, where as the locust will drop nothing.

No hard feelings to the extension agent, he himself said it was important to listen well to everything people could teach us, glean all info we could to get the bigger picture, but also take things, including his own word, with a grain of salt. Perhaps he’s just not as good at identifying trees by their bark as Don is? Don did go to school for biology and studied things like that, even pretty avidly as a hobby, whereas the extension agent went to school for agriculture and has mostly focused his livelihood on crop production, not specializing in wild hardwood species.

Limbs trimmed, a couple of small and dead trees cut down, chicken bedding cleaned up and fresh bedding added, and oyster shells put into their feed mix to help give them calcium.

All in a day’s work.

– e.

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