RicelandMeadows


Logging, Lessons and Leisure

MFskid2020

May 6, 2020

Its early spring. Everything is too wet for farm field work. We are filling our days with projects that fit the farm plan, the weather and the pandemic leisure time. I opened our maple sap woods to let in more sun for growing maple trees. This “crop tree release” harvest amounted to harvesting a bunch of ugly, low value trees. This “worst first” selection will lead to a beautiful sugarbush someday soon.

The trees were extracted using real horsepower. My horses are on maternity leave, so I enlisted the help of two Amish friends of mine. We had a fun time. Things went very well as we surgically removed the marked trees. I marked the trees using the following criteria; biologically mature, crooked or forked, distance to a growing hard maple sapling and density of the canopy. Biologically mature, means dying of old age. We also removed the last remaining Ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer.

logpile1

logpile2

These two piles are the result of six days logging.  I wanted them harvested before the leaves came out. This makes the big job of cleaning up the treetops a little easier. The treetops will be cut, split and stacked to boil maple sap and heat a few homes. We took out 60 trees in the wettest section of the woods. I am sure that I will see improvement very quickly. The horses made very little impact, even in the wet conditions. I will rework my sap roads that we used to skid the logs out. This will be an easy job thanks to the the horses.

logmud

We have also been working with our new horses. The two week old filly continues with her lessons in learning to lead and be tied up. She is a little sweetie and is learning very well. Hank, our stallion prospect also gets handled daily. He must learn to be a gentleman and a workhorse, before we use him for a daddy.

breetie

Spring is wet, but field work will start very soon. In the meantime we will work on manners, firewood and lessons in our leisure time.

 



Time For Another Lumber Project

101_0368

December 5, 2016

After a rough couple of weeks at my off farm job, it’s time to sort out the winter projects that we want to complete before maple sugaring time. I, of course, have our seasonal butchering to do, but I also have a few building projects on my list for next year. I walked the white pines looking things over and will be selecting the candidates in the next couple of days.

On some farms, these big pine trees would be considered a nuisance. Here on my farm, I consider them like a savings account. I will select and harvest the ones I need to have them sawed into lumber. I like to have a material list, before cutting. No sense in taking more than I need. Plus, I want to make sure I can get the lengths and widths I desire.

I also choose trees based upon the forest in which they live. I take the crooked ones, the small ones and the crowded ones. I want the little pine forests to be better off for my selective thinning. In this manner, I get two benefits. I get the lumber that I need, while improving my holdings at the same time. It is like adding to my savings account instead of always withdrawing.

Using the horses to skid the logs leaves a very small footprint. I pile the boughs and brush making winter places for small animals to take cover under. I enjoy the work. The horses enjoy working with me and our woodlands improve. That is a pretty good project for the winter months… getting the lumber is just icing on the cake.