Thursday, March 3, 2011


On one of my first posts I told you that on our property we have a forest.  This area has been unmanaged and allowed to grow up into a dense, uncontrolled forest system.  We have some unwanted species of invasive plants like honeysuckle.  Some of the forested areas had been productive pasture in the past 25 years, but with lack of management they have produced honey locust trees and wild cherry trees.  Our vision was to create a productive forestland that is managed and to reclaim some of the pastureland.  We wanted to create more of a savannah atmosphere, using grasses to control erosion and provide a controlled grazing area.  We also have a rather large "creek" flowing through our property.  This is a wonderful added bonus to the tranquility of the place but does cause issues with erosion and flooding.  We are consistently losing trees along the bank to the swift waters of a flowing creek.  Taking all this into consideration, I met with the local district DNR forester this last week and came up with a workable plan to create a managed forest.  I also met with the local Soil and Water Conservation officer and discussed some of our erosion problem.  He made some suggestions on the best ways to stop soil erosion in the creek and our driveway wash out area.  I am thankful for the encouragement, advice, and help that these two fine gentlemen have given us. 

In Oregon we worked on similar projects and found excellent counsel from our local extension and SWCD agents.  These folks know your area better than most people and can help you in invaluable ways.  Upon the advice of our district forester we began last week to log trees that are sitting on the bank of the creek.  Most of these trees were leaning over the water.  They created quite a challenge to drop and retrieve from the flowing water.  Some of the trees were able to fall onto dry ground while others fell into the creek.  Those in the creek required the use of our small dozer to pull out.  We had a rather large cottonwood (see top picture) that after many attempts to pull out of the creek, still rests there waiting on a larger dozer to get it out.  I often call myself a farmer or livestock owner, but never before have I called myself a Lumberjack!  I always have enjoyed watching, with respect, the Oregon lumberjacks that would work day in and day out cutting, clearing and hauling logs.  These men were a tough crowd of folks.  After working just one day at our forestry project, I can see how these men became tough and rugged laborers of the forest.  Now our 26 acres will not make me a fully experienced lumberjack, but I have a feeling that it will toughen me up and give me an even greater respect for those homesteaders and pioneers of the past.  Those folks labored hard to clear some land to raise a few acres of food and run a few head of stock.

 The work may be hard, but it is enjoyable.  Here is my dad who worked as our dozer/skidder operator, dragging logs and dropping trees where we could best work with them.

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