This old sugar tree came down a few years ago. It cracked like an egg where it hit the ground
Animals have been making use of it for nesting and storing food, notably acorns. Now, it's my turn to get in on the action.
The amazing product of rotting maple wood, fungus, and animal activity is this perfectly brown, soft, but not spongey, humus. I shoveled some over the compost pile to cover newly dumped scraps. The blue-gray stuff is our mineral soil, still frozen as ever, except for what I could excavate from the nearest maple tree (a peculiarity- the soil is not frozen solid among the fibrous roots of the tree). Our soil looks incredibly rich, but its looks are deceiving. Although we expect dark earth to be full of organic matter, here the topsoil is mineral. There is very little humus in these woods, so compost will be key.