August 29, 2015
It started out like most Saturdays, more time to linger over a cup of tea while we compiled the day’s to-do list. At around eleven a.m., the winds began to pick up. Windstorms in our part of the Pacific Northwest are common in November, but high wind warnings in late August are rare, if not unheard of. My wife Connie had made plans to run some errands and left home at noon. She didn’t notice the force of the winds at first, but as she drove through the neighborhoods, she realized that the gusts had knocked out power to a number of homes and businesses in the Bothell area. She cut her trip short, leaving some of the errands undone until after the windstorm. By this time, a main thoroughfare had been blocked by a downed tree, so she decided to cut through the business park where she works. Winding along North Creek Parkway, she saw tree after tree strewn along on the ground. The towering ash trees that hours before had lined the street, had toppled over, roots and all.
Back at home, her eyes as round as saucers, she related her experience to me. I was glad she was okay, but anxious to see the trees for myself. Thinking I might be of some help with the fallen trees, I loaded my chainsaw and drove over to North Creek. When I arrived, there were several more trees down, and the entrance to the park was obstructed. The Bothell Police had also just arrived, and were diverting traffic. I spoke to the officers and offered to help limb the trees for easier removal. For safety reasons, they asked me to refrain. I enquired as to what would happen to the wood. They weren’t sure, but gave me the phone number of the city’s public works department. I took a few photos and headed for home.
Monday, I reached the public works department. They told me that the trees belonged to the park's property owners, and I'd have to talk to them about the wood. We tracked down and contacted the owners. They said that once the tree service removed the trees, they didn’t care what happened to the wood. I asked who would be removing the trees; they told me Davey Tree Service.
I had worked with Davey Tree Service before, so I gave them a call. They said they would be removing the logs within the week, and that they’d be happy to give the wood to me. I offered to bring my trailer over, if they would use their boom truck to load the logs. For liability’s sake, they said they couldn’t do that. They COULD, however, load the logs onto their own truck and deliver them to my shop.
Later that week, two loads of beautiful ash logs were dropped off at Woods by Weber. I took the logs up to Wild Edge Woods in Oso to have them cut into slabs, then took the wood to F.A. Koenig in Sultan to have it kiln dried.
Instead of being run through the chipper, the ash from Bothell’s August windstorm has been put to good use. I’ve turned a number of bowls and serving trays on the lathe, and I’ve made three custom tables for the Seattle King Street offices of JW Architects.