• 17Apr
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Nurse Logs and Old Growth Stumps

    How many of you know what Nurse Logs are?  At our recent Quilt Retreat at Falls Creek, some of us hiked up to the falls, and I couldn’t help but do a little narration along the way.  One of my favorite things to point out are Nurse Logs and Old Growth Stumps.

    At one time, Pacific County was covered with old growth cedar.  Most (but not all!) of it has been logged–many years ago, like 100 or more.  Because cedar is slow to rot, a lot of the stumps are still visible in the woods here–and you can see them as you drive along the highways.

    Here’s an old growth cedar stump.  Look closely and you’ll see some notches in it.

    These notches are where the early day loggers would set their springboards.  Springboards are what they stood on to saw down the tree.

    Here’s an old photo to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.  They didn’t stand on the ground and saw down the tree because the trees were so thick at the base.  They went up a ways, to where the tree tapered in, so they wouldn’t have so much trunk to cut through.  I think every logger must have had his picture taken in the first cut of a tree!

    So, my point is, all through the woods here, we have lots and lots of old cedar stump.  These stumps, as well as fallen logs, often serve as a nursery for seedlings.  As the stumps start to rot, the little seeds find a welcome home there–often above the reach of hungry deer!

    The new tree grows up and the roots grow down.

    The new tree gets lots of nutrients from the decaying stump.

    Eventually, time and the new tree nearly obliterate the original nurse log.

    On our short walk to the falls, we passed dozens of these.

    They’re all different…

    …and interesting in their own way.

    We thought this one looked like a giraffe!

    As you can see, many of these “new” trees are decades old.

    Here’s a perfect example.

    This tree must have been at least 60 feet tall.

    This nurse log has two very old trees growing out of it, as well as a new seedling!

    I hope you enjoyed this walk in the woods and your forestry lesson!

    By the way, my grandpa called logs like the one above “keel” logs.  They got more money for them because they already had a natural bend in them and were used for the keels of boats–but that’s another story!


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