Winter of Wood

Winter of Wood

We purchased the property where we now live in 1987. It consisted of a small house/camp with a one car attached garage, some 40 acres of grown over  farm fields and 100 acres of recently harvested woodland. We never moved to the property for several years.

In the meantime I hired a contractor to clear the wood from the farm fields. It took a few months and lots of trailer loads of chipped wood but eventually I was able to start reclaiming the land and turning it into productive blueberry land. To be honest this is still a work in      progress but the land is now much easier to farm and is producing very well.

We eventually moved to the farm and gradually rebuilt the house and added buildings for the kitchen and then a processing plant. All the while I ignored the woodland. I hunted it each fall, found a native x-mas  tree each year and would cut a couple cords of firewood each spring. Beyond that it was managed in a benign neglect way. I have been a member of the Maine  Woodland Owners organization for several years and gradually came to the realization we needed to improve the health of our forest land.

This summer we hired a forester to develop a management plan. Our goal was to thin the forest so as to provide a more open canopy for young, healthy trees to grow. The forester hired a harvester and we are now well into a major harvest.

When I was a teenager I worked with my farther in the woods. I predate chain saws. We went into the woods with a double bitted ax and a bow saw. We had a good day if  we cut a cord of spruce or fir and pilled it up. When the sap started running I became the spud man and peeled bark off the trees. I guess we probably got a dollar or so more if it was peeled.

The forwarder has replaced horses to bring the wood to the yard. The machine that limbs the trees also can measure the diameter and length as it does so and the operator decides if it will be a 12′ or 16′ log and cuts it to length.

The wood business sure has changed !