Saturday, January 8, 2011

The War and the Woodpecker

Today we launched a full throttle assault on the trees. It's nothing personal, and it's certainly not that we hold anything against them. Jeremy and I both are avid arboreal enthusiasts. It's just that they're in the way. And they're multiplying, it seems, exponentially growing thicker, fuller, denser, more tangled. Trust me when I say that our assault was a last resort type of situation. We've tried peace talks and all sorts of negotiations involving trimming and pruning. When the drought struck 2 years ago (and returned recently) we silently hoped it would do the dirty work for us, choking them off at their source. But these are Texas trees making them stubborn and hardy in the most inconvenient way.

I feel terrible about the war we've declared. They were here first, after all. Which makes us, sadly, The Occupiers. I hoped it would not come to this.

This particular spot is being attacked for base camp, i.e.: Marta. Each species of tree at the land is represented in this little patch, and it's wrapped up in ribbons of devil's vine. Devil's vine = thick vine with dagger-like thorns all around and thrives on pure air. It is, truly, the Devil. Jer went into the heart of the beast, tearing down the vital pieces with his chainsaw. I stood by to pull out limbs and other fallen soldiers, tossing them onto a somber pile.

It's grueling work, destroying a forest one limb at a time.

But once the tall trees are downed, the wee sprouts and grasses have a better shot at a good life. So actually it was Operation Sprout Liberation, which makes our actions completely justifiable. And in case you were wondering, fighting for the freedom of small trees and grasses everywhere is an exhausting endeavor.

Apparently we've got another breed of soldier attacking oaks in the woods.

At first sight we felt certain this was a weird sign of witchcraft. The holes lined up so perfectly, ringing the trees from the base to their tippy-tops. In fact it was so reminiscent of something out of a Blair Witch type of story, that I suggested we burn down the forest. (A little dramatic, yes, but then, you can never be too careful). Of course then our arborist/geologist/naturalist friend Jeff assured us that the holes were just a typical woodpecker calling card. I remembered seeing the red mo-hawked birds sailing above the trees and hopping in the limbs many times and called off the forest-burn. I'm pretty open-minded in this way. So if you've ever wondered what a woodpecker hole looks like, then here ya go. Luck you! And, you're welcome.

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