I am not demonizing all norms and regulations here; however, it simply is erroneous and destructive to reduce our relationship with trees to numbers and regulations. Sorting out and grading the quality of building wood by counting the branches of the trees doesn't result in buildings which last for centuries.
In a carpentry workshop in Salzburg I found a carpenter family where four generations worked together. Of course they only laid floorboards when the moon was waning: "My great grandfather has done this successfully and obviously we too make sure we use the moon phases to our advantage." Those were the words the young carpenter used to confirm the longstanding tradition in his wood workshop.
The ideal time to set fence posts is when the moon is waning and in an earth sign like Virgo, Capricorn or Taurus.
Professional carpenters can make good use of this gravitational pull the moon has on earth. A wood floor laid when the moon is waning doesn't shrink creating gaps and also makes less sound when walked on.
You yourself can try out these energies in other contexts as well. Wooden fence posts never should be erected when the moon is waxing. After the next frost they will loosen and decompose faster. Fence posts set when the moon is waning or new seem to sit tighter in the ground and also last longer.
The moon's gravity directly influences the absorption and the release of moisture in any being or object which contains water. While human, animal and plant cells absorb when the moon is waxing, the earth absorbs water and nutrients when the moon is waning and the earth releases moisture and nutrients when the moon is waxing. It is a perfect symbiotic process.
When the moon was waning however, it seemed additional and unseen powers were released. The water gouges deeper ditches and trenches into the roads, landslides occurred more often and afterwards, much more maintenance and repair works were necessary.
When I was a forester in my district at the 'Karwendelgebirge', I was looking after a wide work of graveled roads. Dirt roads always experience the biggest damage when we have heavy thunderstorms in midsummer.
I noticed then, that thunderstorms and heavy rains created less damage when the moon was waxing. Usually there was just some gravel debris to be removed.
"I just had a look at them", explained the father. "The three which you put in at the right time, are still filling up nicely with water. The other two however, don't have a drop of water in them. The water runs past behind and underneath the trough."
When the carpenter told me this story, it was clear to me why.
It was after the snowmelt in spring when the farmer finally made his way up there. When he came back and asked knowingly why two of the troughs have been dug in later than he specified, his son asked surprised: "How do you know, you weren't up there all autumn last year?"
The father however insisted: "those troughs need to go into the ground today and that's that." His son then went up to the alp and after he finished digging in the third trough, he left and went dancing. He installed the remaining two troughs a couple of days later and was confident his father wouldn't notice.
Those troughs are dug into the ground and positioned right at a spring or little creek so that the water flows over the rim filling the trough without the trough needing its own intake. The son wanted to postpone this job because right on that day was a dance in the neighbouring village.
Flowing Water and the Sign of the Moon
Another story by the above mentioned Tyrolean carpenter appropriately shows the influence the moon has on nature.
"One autumn, this farmer in the Tyrolean lowlands asked his son to go up in the mountains and install five wooden water troughs for the cattle which are staying up there in the summer months.
By using several examples, I'll show how practical it is to consider our yearly seasons and the moon phases when harvesting wood. In early times, everybody who was involved with the forest and wood knew this. However, today there is an imminent danger that this very valuable knowledge and skill will be lost. Let us remember and record it so we can pass it on to future generations.
The moon moves ocean tides, it influences the fertility cycle of women and animals and the growth of plants. Sometimes, it also prevents us from getting a good night's sleep. I now want to illuminate the fascinating correlation between the moon and wood.
A wooden frame with a saw blade tightened to it was run by three men. One man was standing on top of the tree trunk and two men were standing below the trestles. This gang of three sawed one plank after the other, in a steady and rhythmic way, for weeks and months until all trees felled were transformed into wooden boards and beams.
After settling in, we built trestles from round wood. On those trestles, we processed the trees which had been cut down and prepared the previous winter. The trestles were placed at the side of the hill in a way that allowed us to lift the heavy tree trunks without hand tools onto the trestle and lock the trunk into place. Then we used a colored string to mark lines on the tree trunk.
Many of our building sites didn't have any access by roads, like the farmsteads and small alpine cabins high up in the mountains. We needed to be inventive and help ourselves with what was available. Yes, yes, these were long days... But then, no one was fussed about the tempo of our work. There was no rush. We steadily worked along with our hand tools.
The even better days are when the moon is waning and just before New Moon in Capricorn which falls around Christmas and mid-January every year. This wood has the least sap and moisture content; it will dry more evenly, won't warp and won't attract fungi and wood bugs. After the trees were felled, it took several months before they were further processed.
"The trees were always felled in winter! You see, if you log a tree in spring, when the sap is pumping, the log contains heaps of moisture and nutrients. The wood won't be good for building because it warps, attracts fungi and termites. The best time to log trees is in winter when the tree is hibernating.
The Sparkling Eyes of a Ninety-Year Old
This story has been told by our grandfather who lived in 'im Pinzgau', the area around Salzburg in Austria. Between World War I and II, he worked as a carpenter six days a week from dawn to dusk. Here is the story in his own words:
Modern machines, chemistry, and even computer science have all been invading all areas of the economy and forest management, as well. In Austria, young foresters often have to wait several decades before receiving their own forest supervision area.
He was lucky, however. It turned out that there was an area in the Karwendel Mountains where no one wanted to supervise as a forester as its residency was entirely snowed in and cut off from the world in winter - the closest store would be found 50 kilometers away. However, this was a dream come true for Dr. Thoma and moved in with his wife.
Mr. Erwin Thoma, an Austrian raised in the Alpine forests, was a hiker and a mountain guide, but always wanted to become a forester. As a result of his forest engineering education, like many young people in the 70s and 80s - he was convinced that modern engineering was able to solve ongoing environmental problems.
Finally the scientists, who had initially mocked him, began to applaud him, even having renowned institutions and scientists back up his theories with studies, experiments, and lab testings. He successfully began to disintegrate the system of lies created by chemical, wood and other industries of the like, lobbyists and corrupt politicians.
He rediscovered and reapplied certain valuable knowledge that had already been commonly known since the ancient times, initially derided and mocked in modern Europe. However, staying firm and true to his own experiences and family generations of woodworkers, he didn't give up.
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