Love/Hate in the North Woods

As many of you know I am an ardent outdoorsman, and a lover of all things that are wild and wonderful. When I retired, I got to live out my lifelong fantasy of living full time on the shores of Child Lake. Therefore, I have immersed myself in a world that is totally controlled by the raw forces of nature.

This is a land of stark contrast. Beautiful and serene one day, then tempestuous and ominous the next. It is a place where one callous mistake or wrong decision can have far-reaching consequences.

Deep into our third year residing on the sunny shores of Child lake, thoughts and feelings about this place have evolved, as one lives and breathes the entirety of the land.

One feeling that has changed in me a great deal is about trees.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I still love trees, and I still feel a great deal of remorse when felling a living one. But I have become a harden tree snob. I have compiled a short list of one species that I have little affinity for, if not out-right hatred.

Number 1 on my hit list is:    Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Now to the unseasoned eye one could argue that this is one of those most beautiful and symmetrical tree in the forest. I would have to concur. But aesthetics aside. This is the Devil Tree!

Doe-eyed tree hugging romantics will be appalled, but I shed no tears when I bring one to its knees… err limbs…whatever. Cut them, burn them or shred them, then stomp on their babies,   Don’t let their pretty little looks deceive you. They breathe danger and rain destruction.

Excuse the expression, but this is the wussy tree of the northern forest.  They smell great, they look great, but after that they have little going for them.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Hates This Tree

1. They just don’t live long… 50-60 years.

2. Their roots grow only 2-3 inches under ground.

3. They tend to rot from the base up.

4. They grow 60-75 feet tall, then grow multiple tops called “sails” that weigh hundreds of pounds and soak up snow and rain like a sponge just to get more top heavy.

5. Every thing in a sixty foot radius is a potential landing site.

6. They have little to no firewood value at all.

7.  You can’t make decent lumber out of them.

8. They have 1 billion branches each when they hit the ground.

9. They have sappy pitch that gums up my chainsaw and permanently binds to clothing, hair, and human flesh.

(and most of all)

10. In a windstorm, they surrender like an Iraqi Army!!

(70 footer with sail)

Now this behemoth is not leaning to be playful, my         garage is 50 feet down range.

I’m not as heartless as my post seems to indicate. I do have some fond memories about this tree. For the tops of these aromatic evergreens have graced the Marzinske living room of many a  Christmas.

At the end of deer season my father would simply walk out into the woods and shoot the top off a particularly nice one with his 30.06. I was fairly grown  before I finally discovered that other fathers didn’t shoot Christmas trees.

I have carried on the tradition, however… with a slight twist.


                      Now I Simply Cut Off Their Heads!

“Beware the pine-tree’s withered branch..beware the awful avalanche!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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One Response to Love/Hate in the North Woods

  1. You my literary friend never cease to amaze me with your writing! Hugs, Margie

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