With the sick tree safely felled and cut into log lengths, it was time to get the logs across the road and river to the log landing so they can be loaded onto the truck going to the mill.
Mike cut the tree into five pieces, four of those were for actual logs and the top sixteen foot piece that is not big enough for a log will go into my pile to be eventually made into firewood. The next log from the top was a 32 foot piece, then three 16 foot logs.
The logs were moved one by one with the front loader tractor across the road and over to the log deck. When it came to moving the butt log, the tractor could not lift it much less carry it down the embankment over to the other side of the river so we had to improvise. Mike guessed the weight of the huge butt piece to be near 4000 lbs.
By using a heavy gauge chain, he hooked around the butt piece on one side in about five feet, then across the blade of the bulldozer to about five feet in on the other side of the log. He was able to cinch the heavy chain snugly and use the hydraulics of the dozer to lift the big log.
Then it was back to halting traffic and Chinese Fire Drill the tires under the tracks of the bulldozer to move the whole shebang across the road. While we had traffic stopped on both sides, one of first rigs in line happened to have external flashers, the guy driving turned them on to keep Marilyn and I safe during the process. It wasn’t until we had Mike across the road, had picked up all the tires and was gathering the cones and stop signs when the pickup with the flashers pulled up closer. The driver rolled down his window. Marilyn and I were panting and sweating from the heat of the day and the exertion when the guy hollered, “Want a job?” Marilyn was shaking her head emphatically no and I was nodding just as emphatically yes. Her reasoning was that she already has more of a job that she could ever want! My reasoning was that any paying job would be easier than what I do on a daily basis!
As the rig rolled past us we noticed the sign on the side of his rig, it was that of a local flagging service. Maybe we should have taken that job offer a little more seriously!
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It is a convergence of two different worlds at the boundary line of our property and the neighbor who is doing a very large clear cut.
From our side of the line, we have no vehicle access to the area because of the steep terrain, and the non-rocked hauling and skid roads until next summer. All the our roads have been water-barred for the winter with deep channels dug across to divert rain and runoff in an effort to keep from carving deep grooves on the downhill slopes. From the neighbor side of the line, logging has been in full swing for more than a month and will continue throughout the winter. Continue reading
With the logging project squashed for the winter, Mike has been busy transferring the bits and pieces of the left-over logs from the back landing to the front landing.
These logs are destined to be worked up for the firewood project. On a typical year when the rains have not yet gooed up the place, I would be out there cutting them into chunks destined for the splitter, but as it is they are not in a good spot for production. Continue reading
We had tried to make it up the hill into the forest driving the Gator via the back road, this is the old skid road we have to get up the hill. It is much steeper and more narrow than the road we have been using. The thought was that there would be low vegetation like grass, vines of wild blackberries and dog fennel, growing on this seldom used road would help with traction.
Mike had the Gator in low gear and in 4-wheel drive as he began up the road but ran into trouble of the first switchback, he could not get enough traction to propel the vehicle both up and around the tight turn. It took a 12-point turn in order to get the Gator facing downhill to make it down the short trek to the bottom.
Our loggers have both the Barko machine and the large shovel stuck up here while the roads dry out enough to move them back downhill. Luckily the crew has projects on other properties that they can work on while this site is on mud delay.
Since we have been stuck on the lower end of the property, we have noticed that the pastures have started to green up from our series of thunderstorms over the last week. The herd is enjoying the fresh greens since this is most likely the last growing spurt of the summer.
The rain showers have put a hold on every task in the woods. Sunday had a good shower that we really needed, Monday brought several showers and a downpour around 3pm that gave us a full inch of rain in one hour, Tuesday ended up with a few hard showers between absolutely stunning bright sunlight. Continue reading
Sunday afternoon Mike and I were working on the mess on the top of the hill that is our property line, barb wire fence line and wind-ravaged, fallen and broken trees that litter the ridge line. He cut through a few fallen wild cherry trees and was going to pull them out of the way when strands of barb wire ended up wound up in and around the tracks of the logging bulldozer.
With him inching the dozer forward and backward while I tugged at the broken strands, we were able to free the dozer to once again attack the criss-cross tangle of trees and fencing. Continue reading
We are busy on the other side of the ridge while we wait for the pole truck to clean out the rest of the timber in the back landing.
The truck that hauls most of our timber to mills is this beauty owned by Weller Timber Corp. Not only do they do the trucking each year for our property but they are also the loggers that did the back patch on steep ground and the thinning operation currently in progress on the top of the hill on the other side of the ridge.
This truck is a self-loader, meaning that it has a crane/boom between the cab and the bed of the truck to pick up trees that have been cut for the mill and can load the truck ready for hauling. The pole trucks that we are waiting for do not have the unit for picking up logs giving the truck quite a bit more space in order to haul those really long logs. Since the pole truck does not have its own crane, a piece of equipment strong enough to handle the loading process needs to be ready to load the truck. The Weller crew has that equipment on site since they are using it during the thinning job on the other side of the ridge. Continue reading
Looking at the logging patch of hillside from the top of the hill makes the area look tame. The loggers had to be careful when falling to avoid hitting the younger trees that are growing on the far side of the stand and below the falling area.
They have been bringing the trees out of the woods tree length so they can process them into logs out in the open of the landing where the ground is relatively flat. Continue reading
The Columbia County Small Woodland Tour happened to be just up Timber Road a few miles from us.
The Courter’s have owned property in Columbia County for nearly 80 years, this tract of land is managed under the sustainable forestry standards of the American Tree Farm System. Continue reading
Where the Caterpillar is sitting is the spot where the end of the neighbor’s clear cut from several years ago met up with our property line. It is also the spot where tangles of big leaf maple, vine maple, wild cherry and tall fir trees intermingle in our disaster zone.
An experienced logging bulldozer operator, which Mike definitely is, can make a surprising entrance into the forest. He was able to maneuver around at a tiptoe pace to bury a couple of old growth stumps that are too big to dig out, remove a couple of trees that are pole quality and get to the heart of the damage area. The reason he buried the stumps with piles of dirt is because it creates a soft berm for the trees he will be falling. He can usually save the tree at full length by using this technique. Continue reading