Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Life On The Farm - Forestry Project

Moving from the city about a year ago to a farm in the country has been a life changing event to say the least.  In the past I spent much of my free time with my bikes.  Living in the city with only a small lot to take care of left ample time for velo-related activities. Never one to shy away from some honest hard work I've found that the farm provides a plethora of projects to work on to keep me busy and fit.

Since I'm not so focused on the bike world I have decided to start a new topic on the blog and call it "Life On The Farm". Over the past year I continued to document my projects photographically and I'm going to make an attempt to get back to posting these endeavors here.

The back of our property is made up of a small three acre woodlot. We have Oaks, Maples, Hickory among other deciduous species.   A few weeks ago because of the lack of snow and the fact that the ground cover is dormant I decided to start cleaning up the area of downded branches and trees.  Our farm sat vacant for nearly ten years so there is lots of sticks to be picked up.

I've always enjoyed being in the woods whether mountain biking; hunting or simply sitting still watching the birds.  Even though the woods is only a meager three acres it doesn't seem to matter and I spend a lot of time being back there. And best of all I can call it my own. Well, maybe eventually I can when the bank is paid off.

A couple weeks ago we had a few days of very strong winds move through the area.  The fifty-plus mph gusts brought down a large Ash.  Years ago the woods was filled with many beautiful and tall Ash trees.  Unfortunately the Emerald Ash Borer moved in and decimated the Ash population.  Several of these trees are on the ground but many more are still standing dead waiting for the wind and gravity to have their way.

The first weekend after the wind storms I headed back and with the help of Wyatt and the RoadQueen we got busy converting this giant to firewood.  I'd rather have a forest full of healthy Ash trees but I suppose the one consolation is we won't have to buy firewood for quite some time.

When the Ash toppled it took out a couple smaller trees one of which it bent over fully and held there under tension.  Anyone who's been around woods and chainsaws knows this is a very dangerous situation.  After cutting as close as I dared to the area where the two trunks made contact I rigged up my winch to a thirty foot tow strap and eased the larger trunk off the smaller.  This way I was able to keep well clear of the danger area. The Ash slid off easily enough but I wasn't sure what the smaller tree under tension would do once freed from the weight of the Ash.  In the end it only whipped up a few feet.  Its base was splintered pretty bad at ground level.

The next day we sawed the massive trunk into managable pieces (see opening picture) ready for transport back to the woodshed.

Here's a shot of Wyatt tending the fire.  We're in the process of burning out an old stump using branches that are too wet or rotted to be burned in the indoor woodburner.