Monday, November 16, 2009

Back to Basics - No "Clear Cut" Please!

This past weekend the weather was fabulous - and so, a good weekend to devote to cutting downed trees, splitting wood, and stacking, in an effort to save money on heat bills and utilize some of our resources in the woods.
We were able to borrow a log splitter, which saved on Mr. Wonderful's neck, shoulders and back TREE-mendously, let me tell you! I've never seen one of these machines in operation, and it amazed me how much time and labor it saved once I watched it do the work! The hydraulics raise and lower the axe blade and strong pressure splits the wood to whatever size you decide on; you only have to re-insert it, move a lever, and it splits away!
Above are portions of trees we started with on Saturday. These trees, as much as I loved them, had to be removed from our deck - they were rubbing the planks whenever the wind blew, and there were no more areas to remove decking to allow for their continued growth. They had begun to die - they were over 40 ft tall, and about 4 feet from our living room! This would not be pretty if a storm took them out. It truly pained me to have them removed, but like the dead wood in our little forest, they would serve a purpose in keeping us warm in the upcoming "freezin season"!
Here he is, ladies - Mr. Wonderful hard at work! This is the last of those large trunks that have been laying on the hill outside our patio. This man's self-motivation and drive can be frustrating to me sometimes, when I know he is sore and hurting. He just keeps on ticking, despite my pleas that he take frequent breaks. It is also one of the reasons I love him so much - he knows how to GET R DONE!
While he was cutting and splitting the wood, I was stacking it and also using the leaf blower to clean the front yard of leaves YET AGAIN this season ...I got 2 more huge piles cleared and burned. I had stacked 3 stacks of wood 4.5 ft high in one area outside our patio door, and the pile you see in the picture above is actually now TWO stacks (we got it finished before dark Sunday evening). I took frequent breaks, let me tell you! I'm not as young as I used to be, but I still enjoy doing work side by side with Mr. Wonderful!
This spring, and in previous years, we have been approached by a few different logging companies. Our trees here are so tall and straight; the loggers would love to come in and clear-cut, paying us one price for everything. They also have an option of what they call "land management" - they would do us a "favor" by coming in and cutting select trees, take the large trunks, and leave the brush for us to clean up and use for firewood, paying us for the trees they would take. This would be a renewable contract, for as many years as we would care to renew. Because of the economy and the construction industry taking a 'dive', the prices they would pay would not be much at all. Our trees are oak and cherry - worth a bundle when construction is booming! Very few 'knots' can be found when we cut and split the wood ourselves, so we know they are a big 'cash crop'!
But those trees to us are a precious natural resource - OUR resource, certainly, for home heating, but also resources to the wildlife that make THEIR home in these woods. Beyond our garden tractor in the above picture, you can see these wonderful trees - they provide food and shelter for not only birds, bugs, and tree frogs - and then - when we finish cutting the downed trees from storms or insect damage, we layer twigs and smaller branches to form a refuge for fox, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks, and even the most basic of creatures, the earth worms that burrow in decaying wood and vegetation below those brush piles. We take what the storms bring down, or what dying trees the woodpeckers won't be needing for their nests and their food sources. And the CHICKENS - they get benefit of the WORMS! Beak-smackin' Deli-iscious!



How very Green of you and Mr. Wonderful! And you lucky chicks get the worm??? How did I somehow know WORMS would sum up your lovely post today??? Hey...You could hang them there worms on a curtain rod too...loverly little accent to your wormy bathroom! Hugs is the day! I'm going to be a GRAMMY!

Carmen C. said...

I can almost smell that fresh cut wood from here:) Looks like you'll be warm and toasty all winter long!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I don't have your hardiness. Just the thought of your winter terrifies me.

I'm glad you didn't let the big logging companies clear-cut or exploit you. Everything seems to be about the Almighty Dollar to most people.

Brenda @Cozy Little House said...

I wish I could have chickens. My neighborhood is not conducive to that however. I would love to have my chickens squawking at the people going through the drive-through across the street at the new bank about to be opened! That would tickle me. I'm so glad to see folks like you caring about the smallest of wildlife. Due to situations like the bank cutting down trees and moving in, I feel more compelled to make areas in my yard for the displaced creatures.

farmlady said...

I'm so "at home" with this post. Your husband could be my prospector; out there cutting wood and splitting it. Very interesting to see your place and where you live. I can see Winter coming in your photos. It already looks cold there.

Glad you didn't sell out to the logging companies. NATURE FIRST...

Also, love your assortment of "chicidoodles". Don'tcha just love chickens?

April said...

Oh, I can just imagine the roaring fires you'll be able to enjoy this winter! Love it!

Elizabeth said...

My parents have heated with wood since the oil crisis of the 80s. They still get oil, but keep the thermostat super low. In the family room the heat can chase you out sometimes! And when the neighborhood loses power we're all set for cooking and staying warm!

Chatty Crone said...

That looked like a HUGE job. How nice to have Mr. Wonderful wanting to do the work and not having to be told to work (lol).

Nice also to borrow that log splitter - it must have saved his back.

And your little hens - look like they have their noses in the air (lol).

Great story and great pictures as usual.

Angela said...

You gotta love a wood splitter! Those things are just wonderful aren't they? Well, not as wonderful as your Mr. Wonderful that is!

I'm glad you didn't let the logging company come in and clear cut! I have seen a lot of those types of logging companies do that around here and it is not a pretty sight to see at all! And I won't even mention how the roads get torn up or all of the water that runs off of the hills and into the streams and the flooding that occurs after a very large tract of land has been clear cut around here! The farm we bought had been logged some before we bought it.

Your chickies are soo cute!