The log landing at the bottom of the hill looks is more messy than normal. The trees are coming down off the hill as Mike is ‘punching’ in the new skid road.
Most of these trees are smaller than we like to harvest, most only have one or two sell-able logs in them. Many still have lots of branches rather than leaving the extra foliage in the woods.
To help clean the area around the new road, the extra limbs and green growth will be removed at the landing and scooped into piles out of the way of the log deck and trucks that will haul the logs to market. In the meantime, the landing will be harder to keep neat and tidy, which is one of my main jobs during logging season along with firewood reclamation. It appears that my position will not be in jeopardy any time soon.
Change is a brewin’. It can be felt with warmer temperatures, it can be seen in buds beginning to emerge, it can be heard with exuberant chirping of new hatchlings in the tall trees. Even the mud (which there is plenty) seems to have a spring-time feel to it as I trek from barns, to fields, to garden and back again. The change is happening away from the farm also. The other day I was in town when I experienced a spring encounter. Continue reading
I have been putting off the fruit tree pruning for as long as I could but the time has come to get to the task of nipping off the water sprouts (some more than an inch through and six feet long) along with the extra growth inside the tree.
One by one, each tree with need to be thinned out so fruit can grow while having good air flow through the branches. An orchard specialist once described it to me as a good trimming job of being able to throw a baseball through the winter-bare branches without hitting any limbs. Continue reading
The ridge line is changing. Our neighbors have a plot of older fir trees that need to be logged in order to replant the area.
We could hear equipment and chainsaws working in the beginning without being quite sure where the sounds were coming from. Within a day or two it became obvious which trees were being felled. Continue reading
This small hillside was cut and replanted about 10 years ago and when the elk come in to graze around the young trees they are very easy to notice.
Counting the herd it looked like only about 15 animals, so this is the mid-sized herd out of the three that like to visit and stay for a meal or two. Continue reading
Between other chores and post-holiday activities (those are the ones that simply could not be fit into the jam-packed holiday season and keep dribbling forth in long awaited get-togethers and social events), I have continued to hack my way into the tangle beyond the wild hazelnut tree.
I have found more scrub trees past the hazelnut than I expected and so far I have vanquished a very cumbersome elderberry, a Hawthorne with long spiky thorns that punctured me right through leather gloves and lots of brushy vegetation. We have also salvaged four Gator loads of firewood that has been hauled and stacked by the woodshed. By getting the messy and unwanted trees out of the way, I have found two more fairly large hazelnuts, a willow and two elderberries that need to come out before I can start cleaning up the copse of cherries.
Mike has been using the front tongs on the tractor to scoop up those large piles of debris along with old logs scattered around in the underbrush and placing them on the site of the original hazelnut where the fire burns daily. I have been finding bits and scraps of old fencing as we go and trying to get all the metal barb wire pieces out of the area is tricky. Many times I have found the wire has grown into the roots and the bark on whatever tree they were entangled with. We have to look twice before cutting anything with the chainsaw so we don’t hit wire.
Looking over what has been done so far looks like a drop in a bucket, but the progress that has been made wants me to continue with this area. We have already started planning what trees we will replant in this area and now that we can see into the wild cherries realize that many of them are so tangled, bent and broken that some of them will have to be cleaned out also. The first of the two large alders that fell at the rock bar has been cut into shorter lengths and moved with the tractor up to higher/more level ground and is destined to be cut into firewood.
I am enjoying the look that is emerging and now remember why it has taken me so long to dive into this one acre project but I am not sure if I will be completed this year.
Since our hillside is very steep, logging cannot take place during the wet season because the dozer simply cannot get up and down the skid roads. We conclude our logging season, which was more just a cleaning up season this year from all of last winters damage, when the rains begin.
The plan was to be finished logging with the last log truck load that went out last week. Mike took the dozer up the hill to get one last turn of logs for the load. He moved across the hillside from where we had been cleaning up and found a patch of trees that had significant scarring from a bear or two or three.
In this picture, the dark spot about 10 feet up the tree shows where a bear had ripped a hole through the bark, past the cambium (where the life-blood of the tree flows and what the bears are after) and into the wood. This example has already scarred over so this gouge is most likely happened a couple of years ago. Continue reading