I was looking at the hay-field hedgerows the other day, eyeing the work that needs to be done, now that the hay is finished for the year.

As I got to the bottom hedgerow I noticed something a bit odd…large amounts of skinned wood and bark scattered here and there, with splinters hung up in the trees and scattered out in the field.  Look a bit harder.  Sure enough, the tallest ash (about 16 inches in diameter and fifty plus feet in height) in the hedgerow was most assuredly damaged.  A direct lightning strike had blown off the entire quarter-side of it, for all the world like someone had split a single long rail starting about forty feet up and running to the ground.  The largest ‘splinters’ were about 12 feet long and up to seventy feet away.  One that stabbed itself into the field* actually bent from the impact, no easy thing to do to a chunk of ash several inches thick.  They are also bone dry.  I can see where inspiration for a split rail came from!  For that matter where the myths of Paul Bunyan came from.


*a late season hay-field around here has a little more given than concrete, but not much.