or disruptions of the kingdom. The big snag of the silver maple was cut down yesterday. I mostly watched, removed the crown as it was cut up (new addition to the highway fence*), and otherwise cheered. I know better than to be in the way of someone dropping a twenty four inch diameter, leaning, rotten to the core, thirty five foot tall snag….in such a way that it lands exactly right and does not hit anything worth saving.
It turned out to be entirely hollow from the break almost to the ground: an inch wide ring of living wood surround a void. But not a dead void. It had ants, thousands of ants. Every cut of the saw to make another chunk (really ring) came with a wave of ants from both sections of cut wood, rather along the lines of a horror movie if one doesn’t care for bugs. Today the ants have mostly vanished, probably into the highway fence.
The ants, however, weren’t nearly as impressive as the other denizens of the rotted center. As one gets down towards the base, the void of any hollow tree is filled with rotted dirt/wood/organic material. In this case it is also filled with the biggest white grubs I have ever seen. Half inch in diameter and three or so inches in length. I do wonder what sort of beetle they end up as…..and how many we will find when the remaining fifteen feet are finally cut up….I wish I could tell our various insectivores (the foxes, weasels, skunks, etc) about them; they would have a ball.
*the highway ‘fence’ is a long brush pile built out of whatever chunks of wood, branches, etc come to hand and placed on the very edge of the highway easement. Over time, it will hopefully end being solid along the entire frontage; whenever I have a good bit of tree that is easily place on it, I try to do so. Interwoven and stacked so that the pointy ends face out, it would be possible to take a bulldozer to it, but climbing over it is less than attractive in many spots now. Made even less attractive by the carpet of poison ivy that blankets the strip between it and the highway, said poison ivy is quite deliberate.