Salvaged firewood from the log landings are what we use on the farm for our domestic heat source. The landings always seem to collect those end pieces, tops that are too small for logs, large branches and other chunks that have no value to sell. We clean up the landings by making pieces small enough to fit into the outdoor wood-fired furnace. It is a win-win situation, the log decks are free of debris and the wood pieces heat our home.
We have been in the process of cleaning up the back landing where there are very large pieces of logs strewn about. It takes the large, hydraulic splitter attached to the back of the big tractor to split the chunks with some weighing several hundred pounds. Continue reading
More than two months ago, while the summer was still hot, I had been working on tearing out an old fence that ran between the show barn and the road. It had been in need of repair for many years, and had been completely ineffective for the last year.
The old fence had been a mish-mash of barb wire, woven wire, cedar posts, treated posts, T-posts, sections of tube fences along with lots of baling wire and twine. Years and years of temporary fixes left it a mess and no longer viable as critter containment. What remains after all the cleanup were several treated posts and T-posts that were to be pulled out with a chain and the front loader tractor.
We are finally beginning the rebuilding process and have started with the corner post near the county road.
This fence is more substantial than the usual post and wire fences because when the herd sire is on this side of the river there are a lot of distractions if he gets down into the woods while the neighbor bulls are on the other side.
The new fence boasts recycled materials. Some of the treated posts will be re-set into this new fence (a foot or two off the original line), two heavy duty gate ends were cut from an old power pole, and the rest will be cedar posts that have done fence duty before and were salvaged for this fence. The boards themselves came from the old farm house that was torn down ten years ago and stored under the eaves of the shop until we needed them for a project.
The big white fir that we called Three Top had been turning red on the top and was quickly dying. Since this three is by the log landing, it would be dangerous to leave the tree standing where it could fall and land while we work or where the cows lounge.
The tree had provided nice shade while working near the landing and while I have been progressing along on my firewood project.
It took a deep undercut on the far side of the tree to assure that all the many tops and heavy limbs tipped the tree so it would not damage another tree in the area.
As the tree hit the ground, the dead tops shattered. All that could be salvaged out of the entire tree was two short logs of 16 feet each. The rest of the ‘bits ‘o tree’ debris was raked into piles by the bulldozer to decompose naturally and safely on the ground.
With the last load from our logging project hauled to the mills, the stacks of cut and limbed trees that are too small even for the pulp mill have to be dealt with.
Mike is working on the cleanup by scraping the limbs and un-salvageable debris into and under growing trees with the dozer.
Every time he comes down the hill and out of the woods for the day, he throws his five choker cables around bunches of trees and hauls them to the landing at the base of the hill.
He can bring between 15 to 20 logs out of the hill with each turn. In the landing, the wood will be made into firewood. A firewood project will be starting soon.
The first salvaged alder was cut into manageable chunks and pulled up from the river last week. Today we had the chance to tackle this first tree.
The large chunks were cut and split into firewood sized pieces before being loaded into the Gator and hauled up to the outdoor furnace.
It took four Gator loads to clean up this first and smallest of the two trees that fell along the rock bar.
The next tree will take quite a bit longer to clean up because it is almost twice the size of this tree.
The end of the logging for this year ended with the bulldozer (Cat) breaking down and Mike had to finish the last couple of loads using the farm tractor to winch logs to the landing.
Since then, we had towed the Cat to the barn where it has waited for us to finish our other fall tasks before we could begin to assess the problem with the machine. Continue reading
The wood stack is not the nice, tidy stack that was the result of that big old white fir that was formed with all the split pieces that fit together in one huge square pile.
This year the stack is more of a mish-mash of remnants from the logging. All the limbs, tops and crooked butt pieces make up the majority of the wood pile this year. The pieces are oddly shaped, some are short while others are long, many taper to a splintered point or are fractured and ready to split into several pieces if dropped.
It is a good thing the wood-fired boiler we use to heat the house and domestic water has a large door to fit all the crazy shapes. The firebox is big enough to take a hunk of wood 3 feet long. When stacking firewood, the statement ‘If you can lift it, it will fit’ rings true. It’s just that I can’t keep a fire going with only big wood. One grunt piece (makes me grunt when I pick it up) needs to have smaller pieces packed in around it to keep the boiler and me happy through long winter nights.
By using the slash (discarded wood pieces from logging), I am able to clean up the landing and salvage what would be just left to rot. Many years ago I had deemed myself ‘salvage reclamation specialist’ it is a job that creates a lot a security for me. It is not a job that is fought over.
With all the tree damage we had last winter, the windstorm and the subsequent cleanup with harvesting, the backlog of work will keep me busy for several years. Oh the joy of job security!