Saturday, May 4, 2019

A serious glut

Last year we had an extreme breakout of gypsy moth caterpillars, for the second year in a row. They do best in fairly dry conditions, which means that the trees along the roads were devastated, while the  deep woods weren't as badly affected. But when I say devastated I mean it -- miles of dead oak trees, particularly along the state roads. So the DOT sent crews along this spring to take them all down, leaving immense piles of prime firewood.

There is so much of it that the landowners took to putting up signs saying "Leave the wood!" because they couldn't get around to processing it themselves or hiring someone. It's still disappearing very gradually.

So my neighbor has three dead oak trees along his driveway, and he has a crew taking them down right now. This afternoon I'm going to go over there and start sectioning it and bringing it back to my house to split and shed. I figure I'll end up with enough for the next two winters. I believe I mentioned that I already had a grandmother maple tree come down on my own property so I have a  head start. The bad news for a lot of hardworking young guys is that the price of firewood is obviously going to tank. Selling firewood is no way to make a living anyway, but now, forget about it. But, if they can keep it shedded, maybe it will be worth something in another year.

The good news is we have had an exceptionally wet spring. In fact we set an all time record for the most rainy days in April. The caterpillars won't be back this summer, but still, we lost millions of old trees. The landscape will never be the same.

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