My personal fitness plan revolves around trees. We have a wood stove which contributes a not-inconsiderable fraction of our home heating during the winter, and that means I have to spend spring and summer refilling the woodpile.
Mostly I cut up deadfalls, but occasionally I do cut down trees which look as though they're going to fall down anyway, or which are in places I don't want them to be. (I've tried asking them politely to move, but they ignore me.)
Earlier this summer I took down a medium-sized pine tree, about 40 feet tall, in order to bring more light to part of the yard. I cut off the branches, then sliced the trunk into 16-inch sections so that I could split them and burn them later.
Now, pine wood isn't as dense as, say, maple or oak, so it doesn't burn as hot. It's also full of resins and whatnot, so the result is that burning pine gunks up your flue with soot. My plan was to split the pine wood, but keep it separate from the rest of the woodpile for use as kindling wood or emergency backup fuel. So I stacked the cut segments and turned my attention to a fallen birch on the other side of the lot, because birch burns like plutonium. (And it gives the woodpile a pleasant root-beer scent.)
A couple of weeks later I happened to pass the stack of pine logs, and I noticed something. Two things, really.
The first was the sawdust. I cut the tree where it lay on the ground, then moved the pieces to the pile. So why was the pile of pine logs covered with sawdust? Not just a little sawdust, great drifts of sawdust. Hmm.
I bent closer and noticed the second thing. The wood was making noise. I could distinctly hear a crunching sound. Like something chewing wood...
My resident scientist did some Googling, and we guess it was some sort of beetle larvae, from one of the many species of beetles which attack pine logs. We could have split one of the logs to examine the larvae in situ, but I was more interested in getting the infested stack as far away from our house (built mostly of pine) as possible. The noise-making logs went into the gully beyond the driveway, where the beetles can reduce them to sawdust.
So the lesson for today is: listen to your wood. It might tell you something worth knowing.