It started raining last night in the wee hours and kept up through a grey wet dawn.
Brother Nick put on his almost dry gloves and trudged down to the bottom of the hill to a nice little meadow where we’d spent the previous day cutting brush, pruning low tree branches and dragging it all into a burn pile for the expected rain.
Soon, the white smoke of his attempts to induce wet wood to burn rose over the glade and was dispersed north by the wind.
I dragged a handful of dry paper and cardboard down to my burn pile and managed to get it going and spent several hours feeding it while getting rained on.
When the stacked piles of dead manzanita disappeared, I started picking up the loose stuff on the ground and walked amidst some pines when I noticed that most of them were foaming.
Foaming as if with soap bubbles. In the case of a couple of trees, foaming a lot, with the foam puddling at the base of the tree.
In all the years of visiting this place, I’ve never seen pine trees do this.
So I asked the smartest person I know what was going on. I asked Google.
Pine sap has fatty molecules like soap that lather up in a heavy rain.
Particulate matter adheres to the pine bark during the dry times, and during a rain, alters the surface tension of water dripping down, air gets in which creates bubbles, the bubbles collect at the base of the tree and look like foam.
The pines all have slime flux.