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February 05, 2014

Ice Pruning

So.... I've been working at my home office since about 4 am to the sound of enormous tree branches breaking off from the weight of the ice that's coating them.

One tree in my neighbor's yard extends over the property line and overhangs my office. It has lost 6 (count 'em! SIX!) branches over 10 feet long in just a few hours.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should work in the kitchen?

Posted by Cassandra at February 5, 2014 08:15 AM

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I'm thinking you should be in another building completely!
We're just having extreme cold. Too cold for ice, snow or even clouds really. It'll be sunny and beautiful...all to enjoyed from the comfort of inside as the wind chills will be in the -30's.

Posted by: DL Sly at February 5, 2014 09:32 AM

I'm beginning to wonder if I should work in the kitchen?

Sure! Cookies would be nice. Thanks!

Posted by: spd rdr at February 5, 2014 10:33 AM

Sure! Cookies would be nice. Thanks!

mr rdr, please step to the front of the classroom and hold out your hand.


Posted by: Sister Mary Bag O'Metaphors at February 5, 2014 10:58 AM

Work in the kitchen? My wife told me "I want to get out of Minnesota cold for a while. I want to go somewhere warm--someplace I've never been before."

I suggested she try the kitchen.

And I thought it was cold in Minnesota BEFORE that episode!

Posted by: frequent flyer at February 5, 2014 11:41 AM

As I like to say to my esteemed Spousal Unit, "I can only excel in one room of the house at a time. Your pick... :p"

Posted by: Cassandra at February 5, 2014 11:46 AM

"As I like to say to my esteemed Spousal Unit, 'I can only excel in one room of the house at a time. Your pick... :p'"

And that, folks, explains the trapeze and disco ball.

Posted by: DL Sly at February 5, 2014 12:07 PM

Pppphhhhtttthhhh :)

So I spent about an hour before dinner last night walking the back yard and dragging enormous tree branches into a pile to be sawed up and hauled away. There were somewhere between 12 and 18 of them - all 10-15 feet long - and gazillion smaller ones (3-5 feet). Two were so heavy that I couldn't even drag them even by digging my boots into the ground and using my legs rather than my admittedly wussy upper body muscles.

After a while I stopped counting. Pretty amazing! I haven't seen this kind of tree damage since our house in NC weathered a hurricane back in the early 80s.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 6, 2014 08:25 AM

Re moving to the kitchen, I say Yes. We had the top 30 feet of our tallest oak tree enter the guest room (via the roof, bummer that) during Hurricane Ike. I would not have wanted to be on the bed when that happened.

Off topic: Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan. And, Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you both.

Posted by: MathMom at February 6, 2014 09:44 AM

Yikes! That must have been "interesting" (as in "may you live in interesting times"...).

Our bedroom has a wall of picture windows facing into the back yard. If the enormous cedar and pine trees out back were to fall in this direction, we'd be toast.

Posted by: WomynKynd at February 6, 2014 11:25 AM

"...we'd be toast."

Maybe marshmallows as I'm pretty sure you're a bit more squishy than toast.
Just. sayin'.

Posted by: Evil Twin at February 6, 2014 01:04 PM

The cool thing about pine trees is that they don't weigh like an oak. My sis is an insurance agent, periodically has tree damaged clients, and she says the pine trees are really wimps when it comes to damaging things.

But I'll bet they could "do windows"...

Posted by: MathMom at February 6, 2014 02:21 PM

With a due respect to your sis, MM, a frozen pine weighs just as much, if not more, than a green oak due to the additional moisture the loose-fibered, soft pine wood absorbs on a regular basis. This is also the reason why they break so easily. The fibers, being frozen, have no place to stretch and bend as they normally do. Hard woods have nice, tight fibers that a) don't absorb as much moisture relatively; and b) are inherently stronger due to their tightness.

Thus endeth today's tree infomercial. And now back to your regularly scheduled snark.

Posted by: DL Sly at February 6, 2014 03:05 PM

Wow! I thought they fell down easily because they have a root ball instead of deep and wide roots. You certainly know more about this than me. I hope your trees stay upright while frozen!

With Hurricane Ike, hundreds of pines around here broke off about 15 feet up the tree. I figured there must have been some whipping action set up that got them all at that height, but maybe it's the way the fibers are.

Posted by: MathMom at February 6, 2014 03:40 PM

I"m not sure what some of the ginormous trees in my back yard are. Some are clearly pines. I suspect others are firs or cedars (but they're HUGE!).

The pines are the ones that had the most damage. A lot of pines broke off during the derecho in DC a while back, but that was during summer.

Even with the unusual cold we've had here in MD, the pines were not frozen through yet. But I can see where pines would be very heavy if they froze. My hands are covered with pine sap after spending my late lunch hour cutting up about 1/3 of the fallen limbs and trimming/stacking the larger limbs that will need to be sawn into sections.

Posted by: Cass at February 6, 2014 04:41 PM

Butter will take the sap off your hands and out of your clothes if you got any there. Just rub it into the spot really good and wash out with regular dish soap. Same with your hands.
And hair if you were really messy.

No, I haven't spent a lot of time in the woods or around sappy trees, why do you ask?

Posted by: DL Sly at February 6, 2014 05:35 PM

Hi Cass,
Not many Firs Back East (outside of xmas tree farms), and fewer Cedars. No Hemlock, that I know of. FYI, Spruce and Western Red Cedar are the very finest evergreen trees. Yews are something of a favorite for nostalgics.

Growing up in Puget Sound area, I learned to recognize each by sight (near or far, by bark, needles or cones or even smell).

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at February 13, 2014 01:05 AM

"Spruce and Western Red Cedar are the very finest evergreen trees."

Yes, they are nice. Smell great - especially a blue Spruce at Christmastime. But you forget Doug Fir and Redwood, the former being the standard for large, solid-beam timber contruction in pretty much every vaulted ceiling cabin-styled building, and the latter's color and natural restance to bugs and time makes it one of the most beautiful and expensive woods you can buy.


Posted by: DL Sly at February 13, 2014 02:22 PM