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Each year I clear out media files and organize the pics and picks of media I’ve accumulated and I found a file of pictures of the big aspen in summer.

The aspen is the show piece of the backyard but right now it’s bare of leaves. It’s survived another year and that’s quite the accomplishment considering it’s got big issues.

Chris estimated the tree would fall over two years ago and it’s still standing but even from here, sitting my big cozy chair on a snowy, cold almost-winter day I can see a 2-foot black scar on one of the branches.

The tree is funny shaped and should have been pruned when it was very small. I don’t know what it’s called but aspens sometimes have two or three branches that poke up out of the ground. At some point during their early maturation, a decision needs to happen as to which branch will become the main trunk. Nobody made that decision for this tree so many years ago.

There’s a right-of-way at the back of the property and it’s a highway for animals, mostly deer and elk but both like aspen trees and mine have taken a pounding from antlers. The scars are proof. The scars also leave trees open to disease and the elements but this tree has a core of steel and still stands.

The tree is also on the ROW and power lines go through there.

Chris got in touch with the power company to find out if they could come through and trim the trees along the ROW but they said they didn’t have time to do it. Two years ago the power company came through and cleared out the ROW for many areas but not mine.

I’ll have to make a decision about the aspen in the spring, probably have a tree company come and look at it. I’d hate to lose it.

A couple years ago Chris cut down a smaller aspen that had a serious lean to it. The great thing about aspens is two-fold: first, they are rather fire resistant and second, when they die, they propagate tens of little trees. Their network is pretty immense. Some trees sprouted more than 40 feet away from the original tree.

While I’m walking the property also need to pluck and thin some small lodgepoles near the ROW but right now you can’t get to it – too much snow. It’s December, after all.

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