Problems and Solutions

 

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We’ve been cutting a lot of wood on the back acreage.  I bought a 1991 Arctic Cat Lynx 300 last fall and it’s the best $700 I’ve spent on homestead equipment.  I was a Polaris man growing up.  This Arctic Cat has expanded my horizons.

We’ve had an easy winter.  Lots of rain and not much snow.  That makes it hard on the old snowmobile, especially in the sink holes.  We ran into a slight problem yesterday.

20 minutes with the Echo Timberwolf 590  chainsaw and a little grunt work and we made ourselves a solution.

She’s saying, “I’m gonna get mud splattered, I’m gonna get mud splattered!” I told her that if mama had a fit, she could blame me. 😉

Mike, Oscar, Hotel…..out.

The Wall of Axes

We bought a farm on 30 acres and moved in a two weeks ago.  Half of it is open fields and brush and the other half is well forested and has been mismanaged for a long period of time.  When unpacking, I decided to take inventory of what I have and don’t have to help me through the situation.

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Lots of axes and a few handsaws.  Don’t worry; there’s a 59cc chainsaw as well, which isn’t pictured.  I do need to pick up a peavey.  Somewhere in the move, I lost mine.  Not sure how you misplace a peavey, but if anyone can do it, it’s me.

I took my first hike to the back of the property and into the woods.  I brought the boys along, just so we could take stock of what resources we have back there and so that they could get a sense of what is now theirs.  I figure we’ll clear brush and branches this fall and get in there to cut firewood this winter.  I’m going to try to twitch the wood out with a small snowmobile.  Our farm is currently being farmed organically by a neighbor.  Here’s what he’s doing with the cabbage.  You should see the tomatoes and peppers!

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We hiked into the woods.  Lots of conifers and most of the hardwood is small and young.  We saw a lot of situations like the picture below.  I was actually really excited to see so much blown-over timber because we’re going to need dry firewood and I don’t want to buy any this year.

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Below, you can see newer growth coming up under older trees.  Some of the older trees need to be thinned to allow the smaller ones to come up through.  I’d say some of the smaller ones need to be thinned as well.

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I saw a lot of duff disturbances like the one pictured below.  I’m attributing them to skunks.  I think they’re nosing around, looking for grubs or other things to eat.  I suppose a bear might do it as well, but I didn’t see any sign or scat.

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Most of the boundaries are defined by rock walls.  This area is still farmed heavily and was back when the house was built in 1900.  I love the rock walls.  There’s a lot of work and character in them.  Think about all of that sweat.

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Many piles of deer scat.  I’d like to think they are from multiple deer, but my feeling is more that it’s one deer that’s heavily haunting the area.  I plan to get a game camera at some point to find out if we’re dealing with a buck or a doe.  Doe hunting in Maine is on a lottery system.  I missed the resident deadline by about a week.

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No farm would be complete without it’s own swamp, right?

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Not sure what the bone is from.  If I had to guess, I’d say it was from a fawn deer.

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Not a bad hike.  Stay tuned.  We’ve got a lot to deal with, including wormy apples, a collapsing roof on a shed, bush hogging and more.

 

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike Oscar Hotel

Free Education

Is anything really free?

I decided to jump on the free education bandwagon.  I put out an ad on a local forum and asked for something free – wood.  I asked that if anyone had downed trees on their property that they wanted rid of to please call me.  I got a few responses.  One from a lady less than two miles from our place.  She’s on 32 acres and had some fire mitigation done a few years back and they left all of the wood.  This load was all aspen, but she has spruce, fir and pine as well.  She’s got a lot of dead standing on her lot, so we might just have to become friends.  I clear the dead stuff, her land gets safer for the insurance company.  Win/win.

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I brought the wood home and sawed it up.  Then I told the children that they were going to help me split and pile.  When the boys found out they were going to get to use axes, you would have thought Christmas was this week.

Child #2 (oldest boy) is a natural at all things physical.  I gave him my Snow & Nealley 2 1/4 lb. on a 28″ haft.  It seems to work perfectly for him.  He’s got good form and loves splitting aspen because it’s light, dry and easy.

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He split a lot for a little guy.  His brother, who is a year younger, was hard at it as well.  Books are his thing, but he wanted to be like his big brother and split.  He struggled to swing the axe and I spent a lot of time with him working on his form.  He’s still a little young, though his brother was splitting at his age.  Kids are different, that’s all.

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He got discouraged at one point and started to cry.  He said he’ll never be a good wood splitter.  I assured him that he had plenty of time in life to practice.  Then I offered to show him how to split kindling and explained that it was the most important part of starting a fire.  He relented and used the old Lakeside double bit to make some small splits.

We’ve had more fires this year than in all the other ten years we’ve been here combined.  So far we’ve saved $100 on our heat bill, and an as-yet undetermined amount on our electric bill.  In the process, the kids have learned how to split and pile wood.  I’d say that’s better than a free education.

Mike,Oscar, Hotel……out.