Monday, September 26, 2016

Old Stumps

Near Ye Olde Homestead lie many acres of forestland that were harvested about 70 years ago. Unlike today, where saplings are planted within a year after harvest, the old standard was to leave a few adult trees to re-seed the area naturally. You can still spot these parents because they're significantly larger and scragglier than their children. You can also still find many old stumps with a springboard notch still visible on the downhill side. Chainsaws were still not very common back then, so handsawing was still a thing. This generally meant two man teams; one on the ground, and one on a springboard shoved into a hasty notch on the downhill side.

Searching for springboard notches while hiking is now a classic PacNW pasttime.



I ran across this extra special stump during a Chritmas hike. It must have been a bitch for those poor loggers back in the day: they tried really hard to cut it closer to the ground, with four saw marks (note how ragged the saw marks are, too, showing that it was a hand saw, not a chainsaw),


before they gave up and cut six feet higher up the trunk. (That's the notch from the springboard they eventually put in).


There's also signs of what I think are healing in the bark. It lived as  'living stump" for at least a few years before finally succumbing completely to rot. (Now home to numberous invertebrates, mosses, lichens, and a robust salal plant.) Nearly every one of these old stumps is a nurse log. Huckleberry and hemlock love them especially.

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