To Log or Not to Log?

Reader Contribution by Cynthia Brownell
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To Log or Not to Log?

Part 2:  Land

By Cynthia Brownell

Finally, you have purchased your dream property and you are ready to start your homestead.  If you are like us, you probably stood there in shock asking yourself, “Now what?”

Our property was a tree farm. The trees were planted by my husband’s grandfather and uncles about 50 years ago. They stood majestically in long rows of scotch pine, red pine, and eastern white pine. The lot was the fourth property from the dirt road. At the time, the only access to the property was walking in through the woods. There was no access to power or phone. We had a few decisions to make.

The solution? The property was logged. To gain access to the property, the logging company created a road on our right of way. They removed most of the stumps from the driveway and cleared a turnaround on our property. The logging company we hired selectively logged the property. When they were finished, we still had several trees standing.  At first, we were OK with that. 

That fall we had a microburst blow through the property. Many of the trees were blown over like pick up sticks. All in the same direction — what a mess. After that, we decided to remove a few trees from around the cabin. We measured 100 feet and cut down about 30 trees. 

Two years later, our property was hit by a small tornado. Once again, several trees came down — mostly blocking our driveway. Once again, we cleaned up the mess.

The last straw for me was this past winter. My son and I were in the cabin finishing his school work. We suddenly heard the familiar sound of a tree falling. The tree came down and crushed our clothesline and just barely missed our roof. That was it!

We contacted several home-school families to see if they had any solutions. One family owns a maple grove and they gave us a contact for a logging company that chips wood for a power company. We immediately contacted him. He can chip the wood that came down during the microburst and the tornado. Plus, he can take down all the other trees that will possibly die off and cause more headaches. When he is finished, the land will be cleared minus the stumps. The same family owns an excavating company and has given us information about renting a tractor to remove the stumps. We will get paid to clear the land. 

Trees are a wonderful renewable resource. We have already tagged a few trees that we want to keep on the property. I have also started digging up the smaller trees — black cherry, sugar maples, and hemlocks. I have been placing them in pots getting them ready for replanting after the lot is cleared.  We plan on selectively planting them around the house and barn.   

Our goal with the trees is to replant them in a good location so that there is enough space around each tree and they can grow without becoming tall and thin. The leftover trees from the tree farm were just like that and that was what caused the most problems. Once the land is cleared, I hope that will be the last time we hear the familiar sound of a tree coming down.

The next blog I will be talking about how to plan your homestead layout. Where should the house be located and why? What about the barn? What about the gardens and additional outbuildings?  Why plan?

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