Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts

Monday, October 15, 2007


With the season change, we go straight from the garden to trees. In many ways the forest is its own kind of garden where we harvest, plant, thin, cultivate, weed, store and walk through with inspecting eyes. The forest as garden is a gigantic leap in learning for me, and I am proud of what I have learned. I can identify different trees by their leaves. Three years ago I would not have been able to separate the oak from the maple. I am about 75% accurate on identifying trees by their bark and limb structure, and I now know the type of tree by the smell after I split it.

How do we best care for our forest in terms of habitat (animals, water and soil)?
How do we best care for our forest in regard to our resource needs (wood, nuts, animals, syrup)?

A giant elm tree died. Elm wood is wonderful for burning but extremely difficult to split. The little red machine is a hydrolic wood spliter. Pump the white arms and the wood slowly cracks apart. The tear inching through the wood sounds like a castle door slowly opening on 100 year old rusty hinges. After the spliter, the maul will finish the wood apart.

The pile up by the house with mostly dead elm.

The remains of the giant elm tree that have not been cut up yet. Any suggestions?

Piles out in full sun to dry quicker.

Chris found a great and Andy Goldsworthy way to help dry popple wood. Can you tell which one Chris built and which one I built?

Popple wood is a weed. Three years ago these trees did not block the pines. Yes, there are pines back there. We are cutting the popples down. There are a lot of baby oaks on the hill and the pines need room. I learned that popple grow from their roots. Therefore, they will just grow right back. Any suggestions on organic ways to keep the popple from reappearing?

Part of our woods looks like it was clear cut 10 to 15 years ago. It is filled with maples about the size of my shins. Ten years from now this could be syrup heaven. How do we manage this forest to be its healthiest? It already appears overcrowded and needs help.

It is my plan to try maple syrup this February. With the help of Matt and Owain, we painted red the maple trees on the hill by our house. I went back and put a green string around about 10 more trees right on the top of our hill. They are all an easy walk from the forest road. I also built an outdoor firepit to boil down the syrup. A neighbor friend says he has connections for me to buy a stainless steel pan for outdoor boiling. Another neighbor has an abundance of buckets. I just need bucket lids, taps and tubing. Plus, I need a large growth in understanding how to do all this. Does anybody else syrup and have pointers?

For the past two weeks when I take Owain for a walk, he heads straight off the path and bushwhacks it through the woods. We could be there for hours. He longer than I. This is the top of the hill looking towards our farm.