I have always loved trees, when I was a little kid I was always climbing them.
I distinctly remember at the Casville house a tree that we would climb to the second story roof much to my moms dismay. It had to be at this point I decided trees were more than just trees they were old, very wise, and insanely beautiful.
I have seen the Redwoods, Kauris, King Maples, and the list goes.
The one thing all these forrest have in common is they have many trees of varying age and species so when the oldest falls there is a new life waiting to soak up the sun that now flutters through to the forrest floor.
This is sort of my approach to how I care for my own little forrest.
Early spring the grind begins and won’t end until my wife feels like we have enough wood- which is usually around Neveruary. If I had our whole property stacked to the hilt she would still probably give me the look.
You know the “sure honey” look.
I start by walking the forrest and looking for any dead outs. For those unfamiliar with dead outs it is the trees that have died but not yet fallen, they are usually already seasoned so they are really good wood.
By cutting out these dead outs it gives the smaller trees a chance to reach for the sun. At this time I also culled the young Pine Tree stands that took up the small rise above the house.
Here in Maine Pines tend to cluster. This makes for a very high PH in the soil and all the trees are starved for everything because they are to close.
So I cut out the most unhealthy and leave the rest with room to grow. I take some of the pine logs to use in the morning to start the wood stove. It burns hot and fast so with a few embers left and some hard wood on top it gets the fire blazing again quickly.
Then I look for anything that has fallen, is diseased, plagued by bugs, or has branches rotting. Any tree with a little rot will spread and ruin the wood.
I also make sure to leave all the branches to feed the soil and keep everything happy including all the salamanders and mushrooms. This rounds out the wood for the year.
Keeping up this routine year over year will let us (me) harvest all the wood we need keep the forrest healthy, while keep me in good shape 🙂 .
I think showing the proper respect for the forrest we can help it grow and it can help us in ways more than firewood.
This year I was pleasantly awoken by the sound of chain saws.
I looked out and saw the crews out cutting for the winter to keep trees back from the power lines. Some of you would ask why lucky because all that wood they cut is mine and they cut it for me score!
This really helped and saved me a ton of time. I actually went out and talked to them and told them to leave everything on our part of the road.
They were dumbfounded “even the small stuff?”
I replied that I will burn it all- my wife is from California and while she loves winter, she hates to have a cold house.
I saw two of the workers look up at this point realizing they did not have to chip a ton of wood they just smiled.
I could tell they were stoked to get a break. Not realizing I was the one getting the break.
Two of my neighbors saw me cutting this last week and called me over. They don’t have wood stoves and there forests are over run with dead outs widow makers. You name it, they have it.
To my surprise they said I could cut anything that was dead and keep it. I was floored there is enough wood to heat our house for years. I could not thank them enough but in return thanked me because they did not have to do it or pay some one to do it.
This brings me to today.
This will be my fall and probably spring and summer project. It is about a total of ten acres and filled with several species of Hardwoods. I can’t wait to see what I find and the lessons I will learn from the forrest this coming year.
The one thing I know I can wait on is how sore I am going to be tomorrow. But you know what they say “chop wood, carry water,” and practice making babies. 🙂