Finally, the fire danger is no longer a problem for the logging job to start back up. This project was moth-balled when the fire danger skyrocketed in June just before hay season started. The woods have been so dry during the hot summer days, we avoided any contact with the brittle, dry forest.
This is a selective logging job on a lower, relatively flat piece of ground on the corner of the farm. Since acquiring the farm thirty years ago, this piece has been thinned before, now is the time to harvest the next generation of timber from the site. Selective logging takes more time than a clear-cut to identify and log only individual trees that need to be removed from a stand.
Trees not growing well, or that are situated too close to other trees, have too many limbs or have sustained an injury such as breaking the top out, will be harvested. This is also the area where our established fence line is not on the property boundary line and needs to be rebuilt about 40 feet outside the original fence. This will have to be done after the line trees are harvested, since the falling process needs the room to work with trees as they are felled and moved with the caterpillar.
When this piece is finished with this round of thinning, the woods will still have multi-generational trees growing. A few will be over 30 years old, many will be 20 years old, and thousands of seedling size to 10 year old trees will be seen growing up through the Oregon Grape and salal in the undergrowth.
Timber buyers are specific with the size and type of trees needed to fill their orders. Trees that are over-sized, contain stump rot or scars, have too many knots or twists causing timber bound wood are docked at the mill. It is possible for a logger to work several hours getting a tree fell, limbed, moved to the landing, cut to correct lengths for the mill and hauled; only to end up losing money on that tree because of the amount of docking when inspected at the mill.
Our answer to the wood that is not valuable for the mill, drum roll please, is me! I even gave myself a title, Wood Reclamation Specialist. The job of WRS Schmidlin is to clean up the landing from any salvageable wood and remove it from the area. Yeah, I know the job description is not nearly as glamorous as the title, but it is a valuable endeavor. A clean landing is a safe landing. I enjoy spending time around the landing and the fence line, and I have been known to wander off for walks during those times when I can sneak away.
Since the heat for the house is an outdoor wood furnace, the reclaimed bits and pieces from the landing are cut or split down to a manageable size and hauled to stack by the furnace. They don’t have to be pretty, evenly shaped pieces, they just have to be small enough to put into the furnace.
There is always work to be done cleaning the landing.
The priority on the farm is the cows. They are taken care of first of the day and the end of the day with no exceptions. The logging job is one of those tasks that is always waiting and needs to be worked on every week, but not necessarily every day. Some days it may just be an hour or two or not at all while other days could take up five or six hours depending on the schedule for the truck that hauls the logs to market.