Spring feature image

Spring time is tree-cutting time

topdogRural Living

Our five-month winter has finally packed up and moved out. Talk about over-staying your welcome.

It started the first week of November. The snow fell, and it still hasn't completely left. In fact just a couple weeks ago it added another foot and a half.

Personally, I think a nice white Christmas is nostalgic and pleasant enough. Heck, even a snowy New Year is fine with me since we usually stay home anyway. And I expect January to be cold, snowy and a good time to stay inside.

But by the end of February, I'm starting to lose my patience. You'll recall this post in which I surmised that Winter was on its way out? Nope. It reached the end of the driveway, turned around and came back for another month because that's just the way Winter (and a mother-in-law) can be.

The first week of March came in like a lion, with a foot and a half of snow, much of which is still hanging out in places where the sun doesn't quite reach yet.

The trouble is The Missus signed us up with the DNR for a big forest-thinning project, the deadline for which is the middle of May. I thought this last section would be easier than it's turning out to be, mainly because I didn't think I'd have to work in a foot of snow.

This last section of thick young trees is on the side of a hill where my tractor cannot get. So we have to cut and haul the trees by hand (thankfully downhill) and then find a way to pull them across a stream and up the embankment to our tractor trail. Either that or clear enough space to burn them on the hillside (not the best option for safety or efficiency).

thick forest image

This area next to the tractor trail is the easy part. This is the BEFORE pic.

As an added difficulty factor, several clients have decided that I need to come out of retirement to work on design projects, but only in March. I'm not complaining about the work because I like helping them out and making a little beer money along the way. But, dang! This month was already busy.

As for the forestry, we started in February and got the easy half done this last weekend and burned over 30 slash piles, loading them on the tractor forks and dropping them on a burning pile. It was a three-day burn.

burning slash pile

One of 30+ slash piles loaded on the tractor forks and dumped on our 3-Day Burn

The next half is gonna be rough.

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of explaining my absence for the last couple weeks. I'll probably be missing at least until the middle of May, so I apologize in advance.