Monday, July 21, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Logging

Another successful 3-day stint of logging. We cut more fir from a fuel break along our down-slope boundary line, on a bank above a log landing. Three are suitable for house logs. This was our most productive morning. The trees conveniently* fell into the landing, so minimal skidding was involved. However, it was like crawling around in a giant game of Pick-Up-Sticks while we limbed and bucked the logs -- and a puzzle figuring out how to work around them with the tractor-loader.


 *One small tree set back on my saw and eventually fell the adverse direction. It's been a while since I had one of those, but in the beginning they were routine. I bent two saw bars earlier this year, learning how to avoid stuck saws. Before we got the tractor, we were hooking up a come-along to a nearby tree and working for 20 minutes to bring down hung trees. We hooked the tractor to the butt of this one and pulled it down in a minute while we watched from the safe end of a 30' cable.


We spent the better part of a day finishing off a quarter-acre stand on the opposite corner of the property. We had cut everything weeks ago, so we just needed to skid everything out and pile up the slash. Now the stand is neat and nicely spaced. It's in a corner of our driveway and one of the first things we see when driving in, so it's good to have that done. Now the stands on both sides of our gate are finished.


Background: We're logging our 20-acre stand because a commercial harvest is uneconomical. The parcel is too small, there's a height-restricted bridge, we're far from a mill, and we're keeping the best logs for building. Ours is a certified sustainable forest, managed to a plan we wrote 3 years ago with help from many experts. Thinning is necessary because of forest fire danger. We're getting modest but meaningful financial help from Washington state government funds targeted to reduce forest fuels and improve timber health.


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