Dendrochronology tree ring dating kit
Today, four centuries after first emerging as a sapling, and nearly 150 years after it was felled, that ponderosa still rests firmly in place at the molino, hidden among the cottonwoods and apple trees off Camino Abajo de la Loma, just a stone’s throw from the Acequia Madre del Río Grande del Rancho. The roof is all but gone, and a sheet of black plastic has been strapped to the top to keep out as much water as possible. Some have rotted and snapped inwards, smashing through the floor.
And there’s plenty of graffiti marring the inside and outside walls.
Inocencio and his older brother, Antonio, may have taken turns with the ax, chipping through the trunk with swift, clean strokes until the mighty beast cracked and groaned and collapsed to the earth.
If the rings are clear enough, the sample will reveal the entire lifespan, down to the year, and sometimes even the season, it first emerged then finally died.
It was the backbone of the purely utilitarian structure — the primary beam that would support the grist’s upper level.
Several strong backs would have been needed to lift the log — still green — into place, atop two even more massive vertical stumps where it was shimmed snug.
Then the men, salty with sweat, most likely affixed the log to a horse or mule to drag it over several miles back to the valley below.
When the molino was erected, that timber would have been one of the first to be set.