Gutting a Tree

  Tree Gutting is when you cut the bones out of a tree. The process is the same for all trees, though the end product varies by tree type. In most cases, it's smoke, as the tree residue is used for firewood. Sometimes, a tree can be used for creating useful structures, artistic carvings, and beneficial medicines, though I haven't done any of these yet.

Follow along as I take you through a tour of Tree Gutting, using a downed tree from Hurricane Isabel.

  Black Cherry downed by Hurricane Isabel Here was but one tree that Hurricane Isabel pushed over - this is a Black (or Wild) Cherry. We have a million of them. Most are multi-trunked. However, since this one was a loner (by itself, not rental), it was single trunked and quite full. The goats loved it and kept it's lower branches pruned.

  The lone stump after pulling away the tree carcas. When I cut the carcas loose, the stump sprong back upright. After a few years, it will grow a new canopy. After the bones were cut off the stump

  Carcas is towed to Boning Field Here is the carcas after being towed to the boning field. Note a couple of other trees from the Hurricane. The carcas to the left has already had a few amputations to allow it to get through the gates.

  Here are the Preliminary Bones beginning to emerge from the carcas. This takes about ten minutes of chain sawing to get to this point. A few stray flesh sticks remain on the skeleton. The object is to cut off all the branches that can be pulverized by the bush hog and leave them on the boning field for subsequent grindup. After Preliminary Boning

  The main bones being pulled out of the flesh Pulling the bones out of the canopy. Once these Preliminary Bones (three or more inch diameter) are out of the rest, the bush hog can grind it up.

  After the first cut, the Preliminary Bones go to the stick pile. Here, anything less than about six inches in diameter gets hacked off and thrown onto the bonefire pit. Preliminary Bones ready for Downsizing

  Final Bones Here are the Final Bones, getting ready to be towed to the final processing facility.

  The final processing point: Firewood. Here the Final Bones get cut and split into little itty-bitty chunks appropriate for our little fire place. Ready for Firewooding

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