Written by Joanne Freemire —
NORTH FORK — With a 90 percent die-off of Ponderosa Pines and PG&E sub-contractors hard at work felling those that threaten power lines, my Cascadel Woods home feels and sounds more like a lumber mill operation than a residential community – chainsaws whining, huge pines crashing down, chippers and splitters roaring, burn piles smoking, and logs laying everywhere.
But Cascadel residents are maintaining their sense of humor through all this. Thanks to some creative folks, we have bears carved from stumps, and “woodmen” decorating the neighborhood, which puts a smile on our faces every time we spot one.
Interestingly, the Black Oaks seem unaffected by the drought, while Live Oaks near Pine Flat Reservoir and Blue Oaks and Gray Pines along Route 41 are dying. The latter three species are supposed to be drought-resistant with their reduced foliage and light-reflecting leaves, while Black Oaks have large thin leaves – go figure!
Meanwhile, our herbaceous native plants are loving the winter rains – the best crops of miner’s lettuce, snake lilies (twining brodiaea), fivespots, and common gilias I’ve seen in our 14 years here are covering the lush landscape.
Mountain Dogwoods are blooming three weeks early and non-native grasses are already forming seed, due I guess to a warm as well as wet El Niño winter.
Joanne Freemire, CNPS member and North Fork resident