October 10, 2018

What Dan Found Inside the Old Oak Tree

A goodly portion of our firewood this year is coming from an old oak tree which used to grace our backyard. About a year ago it stopped producing leaves, so Dan took it down. We knew at least part of it was rotted, but hoped we could get quite a bit of good firewood out of it. That's been Dan's priority project this month.

48 inches in diameter and over 100 rings.

It has not been your straightforward firewood job. The base of the tree is four feet across, and he has a 20-inch chainsaw. After pricing larger chainsaws and one- or two-man crosscut saws, he decided to buy a 24-inch bar and chain for his saw. By cutting from all directions he's been able to cut it into sections.

The surprise came when he hit something inside the tree, something that sent sparks flying. At first he thought it might be a piece of metal, perhaps an old nail? It was all the more puzzling when he hit it again farther down the trunk.

Several ruined chains later, he managed to chip away enough of the trunk to discover this

Not easy to tell in the photos, but what you're looking at is either concrete or a rock about 70 years or so into the tree. Was someone trying to fill the hole, or did the hole form as a result? We'll never know.

Trying to drill it out. No joy.

It's an odd shape and it's impossible to tell how far it extends toward the base of the tree. Very curious.

Higher up, this section measures 33" by 38". It has two ring
circles indicating a double trunk which eventually grew together.

These sections are quite heavy.

Once they are cut into wedges they're ready for the log splitter.

Then it's stacked.

The old carport is making a nice firewood storage area.

Considering that our temps are supposed to drop quite a bit this weekend, I'm very glad to be well on our way to a good winter's supply.

Yesterday Dan finally managed to free the mystery rock from the tree.

He wanted to get it out whole, but ended up having to cut it into pieces. Here's a close-up.

Any ideas?


Goatldi said...

A Mystery Tree very interesting Leigh. I would imagine there could be many reasons for a rock in the tree. And it was how far down into the base? Perhaps since it was two trees at one point could it of grown in over the rock? Did you have any problems removing it when you took it down?

I believe you said at least 100 rings a nicely aged tree too. A lot can happen in that time span. What a good base for some yarn spinning as to the origin and when it came about.

Who knows perhaps the next down tree will yield a stash of gold coins!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I told Dan he should make a spoof for YouTube about finding an alien rock in our tree, LOL. Gold coins would have been more useful! It was probably about head height from the ground, which makes me wonder about tree growth. I'm guessing that is higher than where it was originally placed. The base of the tree was concentric rings from the center. No double rings that far down. Possibly it was placed in a crotch in the tree? An interesting puzzle for sure!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

That is very interesting. If two trunks grew together, I wonder if someone picked up the rock and put it in between years ago and it just grew over it? Hm.

Living Alone in Your 60's said...

Wow what a lovely lot of wood you've got. As for the concrete inside how weird.

Ed said...

My guess would be an old gravestone or similar marker that was leaned against the tree at one point. Also when dealing with double-trunked trees in a homestead yard, one often finds boards between the trunks that perhaps once was used as a chair wedged in there. But due to the orientation, I don't think it was the case here.

Mama Pea said...

So interesting (and the fodder for a good story!), but so hard on those saw chains. Ouch! I'm thinking a rock placed or caught in the crotch of the two tree branches that eventually grew together. But it kinda sorta looks like an early concrete mix, too.

On one of the country gravel roads near here, if you know where to look when leaves are off the trees, you can see a good sized rock (about a foot in diameter) waaaaay up in an old poplar tree by the side of the road. The story is that when the road was being constructed, the road builders had to blast solid rock out of a section and the rock in the tree was tossed there from the dynamite blast.

Leigh said...

Kristina, we'll never know but it's fun to puzzle over. :)

Tania, very thankful for the wood!

Ed, that's an interesting thought. Our house is about 90 years old, but from the work we've done on it I don't think it was the original house here. Who knows!

Mama Pea, good story! Yes, it makes for great speculation. :)

Goatldi said...

Agreed gold coins would be more useful. But a good tale no matter.

Tell Dan if YouTube doesn’t pan out try the National Enquirer.

Looks like you all are in for it again be safe.

Woolly Bits said...

whatever it was, luckily nothing happened to Dan and/or the saw! one of our neighbours was pretty badly injured, when his chainsaw hit metal while working! the chain flew off and hit him in the leg:( anyway, looks like you're getting a good haul from that tree - ours is much smaller, loads of twigs and smaller branches, but storm Ali brought us 50 banana boxes full, so no complaints:) a lot of work in collecting and storing, but free - apart from the time spent.... the next storm is coming in tomorrow night - let's see what comes down this time!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, the National Enquirer, ha ha. That's about what YouTube has turned into :) We're getting rain right now with the brunt of it expected tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully it won't be too bad.

Bettina, yikes! That was very bad for your neighbor. I hope he healed well. Yes, those storms sure do bring down the kindling and firewood!

GiantsDanceFarm said...

I love having firewood on hand as we live in northern Michigan and that's our only source of heat. But I hate cutting down trees, even when they are ailing. It make me sad. As for the rock, I have no idea what that is, but I'm very very curious! Will you share if you learn more?


Leigh said...

Oh Shelley, I fell the same way about cutting trees. I love trees and it's always a hard decision to have to cut them. We waited until this one died, but one of the things we learned is that it isn't good to let them get bigger than your chainsaw!

If I ever figure out more about that rock, I'll be sure to blog about it. :)

Unknown said...

Probably the area between the two sections showed some rot. As result someone thought to seal it off with concrete. A lot of amateur tree surgeons think that concrete is a great treatment for rot.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Very interesting. Glad he did not injure himself on it.

Leigh said...

Unknown, I agree with your assessment. If only they could see it now. Not sure it helped much in the long run.

TB, thank you!

The Wykeham Observer said...

Despite the damaged chains, I'm glad you got all that wood out of the tree! And just in time for some cooler months. Phil/MN

Leigh said...

Phil, me too! :)

Chris said...

That's a lovely pile of wood, Dan has put together. I'm sure you helped stack the carport though. Have you fixed the carport yet, or is that still on the to-do list?

No expert on the tree, so no help there, sorry. Intriguing though!

Leigh said...

Chris, no! The carport hasn't been fixed, so there's a distinct possibility the roof may come crashing down on the wood pile at some point! We didn't think it would hurt it if that happened and we needed a place to store the wood, so we'll see!