Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Logging becomes a family affair

Do-it-yourself logging is not for the faint of heart. With help from the family, we're starting to make progress. I was glad to already be in decent physical condition!

PHOTO: My brother carrying a choker cable, helping to skid logs out of some challenging locations.

We started several weeks ago, and initially spent much of our time developing the infrastructure necessary to carry out the logging operation. We needed skid roads, landings, deck areas, and a good place to store house logs. Each of these took a long time to build, but then we got down to logging.

Once we got the hang of the process (and got better with a chain saw) it was relatively easy for two of us to spend a morning and fell 10-15 trees, limb them, and skid them out of the woods, and land them on a log deck. That's allowing for the tree that hangs in the crown of another, or whatever.

My brother thought logging sounded like great manly fun, so he flew up from Austin to help for 4 days. He was a tremendous help. If he was dreaming of a new career in logging, he probably has reconsidered!

Together we cut a few trees and mostly pulled logs out of a deep ravine. We used a snatch block and 150' of steel cable to reach the choker and pulled the logs up the steep slope one at a time. Radios were extremely useful, because the tractor operator couldn't see the other person, or the logs, at all.

We took the hot afternoons off from logging to do other chores. We built a spool for the tractor's 3-point connector. It's not a winch -- they're thousands of dollars -- it's just for cable storage. It feeds out and takes up choker line in a very simple, non-powered way, but it does the job to keep long wire ropes from getting tangled. More on that and photos if anyone's interested.

To date we've cut almost 200 of the approximately 1,000 trees we need to harvest.

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