Cutting Out The Deadwood

If a dead tree wraps around a live one and steals the sunshine, cut it out. If a negative habit (or person) wraps around your core and steals your energy, cut it out too. Life lessons from nature continue at Camp Many Moons on Lake Superior’s Huron Bay, five years after I purchased this 300-foot waterfront plot to give myself a quiet get-away. It was impassable and unattractive then. It’s charming now, thanks to years of DIY clearing and my partner’s vision. Still, the maintenance continues. Just as in life! See photos and captions below. (To read my first blog post upon buying this land, click here. To continue the story, click “next” at bottom.)

At least 10 dead trees went into this waterfront bonfire, including many elms. (We don’t know what killed them, but I guess it doesn’t matter.) Winter is the right time to cut trees on the water’s edge because the ice makes it easy to drag them. We’ve done a few small ones in summer; it’s not much fun standing in water surrounded by tree limbs!
A dead elm wrapped itself around a live oak. We decided to amputate. Jeff studied the interlocked trunks awhile to figure out the best approach. It took some surgical chainsaw cuts and a few ropes, then me pulling hard from the ground, to yank them apart.
Poor elm. It hung onto the maple stubbornly, only succeeding in giving itself these “pressure wounds.” Sometimes cutting something (or someone) free is the kindest thing to do. It brings memories of some past relationships, and the painful break-ups….
We also cleaned up this little “presque isle” (almost an island, in French) at the south end of the property. I didn’t want to cut the dead cedars that stood here because they had so much character. But it does look better! Clearing away deadwood does open up new views. (I’m sitting on the stump of the largest dead cedar. I’ve sprinkled these sitting stumps all along the waterfront to encourage me to meditate. Still doesn’t come naturally, but the reminders help!)
Cutting away deadwood sometimes causes pain. I don’t even remember how I smashed this finger … it happened during our two-day clean-up…but it sure announced its injury. Serious pain for something so small! A trip to urgent care and antibiotics is helping it mend.

3 thoughts on “Cutting Out The Deadwood

  1. Dutch Elm Disease most likely killed your elm trees. The only one in our yard in lower Michigan that survived was next to our burn barrel and I think the smoke was enough tk kill the pathogens. This disease has devastated the elm tree population.


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