Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Old Juniper Tree and Me

I've always liked this juniper tree, so large and healthy. But like an overgrown hairdo, it needed some trimming. It's too close to the house and branches dragging on the ground are not allowed within 100 ft of structures here for fire safety reasons.

I didn't know how much I could do by myself. I had never tackled a juniper before, but I brought my lopper and started trimming the twigs off the larger thicker branches. 

I was thrilled, it went really well. When my BIL, Glenn, came to work on Wednesday, I asked if he could cut down the heavier branches. He said he can and will do it this week. I plan to cut the twigs and smaller branches on the right side also to make it easier for Glenn. The foliage is so thick, it will be easier for him if I can do some prep work.

Looking at the thick, twisted and gnarled trunk of this tree, I believe it must be pretty old. Some California Junipers may be more than 250 years old. And they are the only trees growing on my property, except for a few others planted by people. The latter are not doing well in the drought and may all die before it's over. Several junipers have also died, but most are doing OK. 

I loved sitting inside the canopy of this tree, resting. It's a magical world in there, so shady and quiet. With the ground covered by

juniper "berries" that are not berries at all, but cones, a favorite autumn food of our local black bears, coyotes, as well as birds, ground squirrels and other small animals. The junipers were also important to the native people of this area, who would eat the berries and use the wood for bows, arrows, and other tools. 

After resting for a while, the sun prompted me to get up and finish work for the morning. It gets way too hot around ten or eleven, so I usually finish up then and head inside to have lunch and rest some more. At my age, rest is good.....

Some more twisted branches on this old tree. 

Some of the work I did.

Cleaned up now and taken to the dump. Even though junipers don't have the prickly foliage like pine needles, their twigs and branches are prickly enough to make up for it. So long sleeves are a good idea before tackling a tree like this. I will post a picture when Glenn and I are finished cutting back the branches. Hopefully, we'll do a good job and honor this ancient tree.  


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