April 5, 2013

Clearing Brush

When we bought our acre property, it was about a third wooded, with 60 – 75 foot tall trees lining either side of it. I love trees, but a fully shaded lot doesn’t make for good growing conditions. Some of them had to go.

We got our friend Richard in who’s handy with a chain saw and he got to work. At first I was on the side of the trees. I really didn’t want any of them taken down. But then one day as I was at my desk writing a book I looked out my window and one of those 60 foot tall trees on the border of our yard just keeled over while I watched, missing one of our outbuildings by mere feet. I have never seen a tree fall over on it’s own before, and as I pictured one of my kids or my husband under it when it went, I changed my mind about this tree-knocking-over business. Like a bunch of people had been trying to tell me, these are trees that should have been trimmed years ago – they’re at the end of their lives and they’re going to go one way or the other.

As if to drive the point home, a few weeks later, another tree – a beautiful cedar near the house we meant to keep – split in two and the chunk that fell off missed our truck by inches. In the end we took out almost all of the side border trees, several in the middle of our property where the berry beds and orchard will go, and some off the back “forest”. That’s a heck of a lot of trees. We’ll replant the sides of our property with a cedar hedge to give us some privacy eventually. We kept a bit of the forest in the back (much to the disgust of my husband, but really – you have to have some trees!), and soon enough we’ll have an entire orchard out back, so we’ll get the rural feel back over a number of years.

Once they were all down, we had to get to work chopping them up. My husband took over the chain-saw wielding. My youngest son is in charge of splitting logs. Thankfully, we were able to trade some cedar for the use of an electric splitter for a number of months. Otherwise my son would’ve been out there for years. I’m in charge of clipping up branches and hauling them into piles. The city banned us from burning those, so we ended up having to haul them away. We filled three containers to the top and we still have more.

Like I said, we’re still cutting, clipping, hauling and clearing, but we’re making progress. Our poor, beat up, barren lot does not look its best but this is a long-term project. I can’t wait to see where we’re at five years from now!