Cabin :: thinning trees

3.13.2011 – Sunday

Basswood trees grow faster and crown out earlier than hard maple.

It was 9:30 a.m. when we started. The first tree was the largest basswood on the slope, and the closest to the cabin. Using two tow cables and a come-along, anchored with a small chain at each end to a tree, we persuaded the tree away from the cabin. Dad notched the tree on the side toward me. I took up the slack on the cable with the come-along. As dad began to cut from the back of the tree I cranked not the come-along until the slack went from the cable. Then I ran.

It turns out the tree was 30 feet shorter than the line so I made a note of this and decided to save my energy for the next five trees we cabled. All together we downed seven basswoods. The loggers should be arriving tomorrow or soon after and will finish felling the basswood trees around the cabin. The reason we are cutting today isn’t to save the logger time or effort, but to remove the trickiest trees first. The loggers will have a large mechanical advantage. It will probably be a two man team. One cutter will fell trees with a chain saw while the other operates a 4×4 log skidder to collect the 108″ logs. Since the slope off the front porch of the cabin is unsuitable for the log skidder, we decided it wasn’t worth the loggers time to cut trees that they can’t remove – especially when a few lean precariously toward the cabin.

Despite our mechanical disadvantage we made due:

Though not as large as the first basswood we fell, this tree was 18″ at it’s base and somewhere around 70′ tall

We finished around 1 p.m. The slope is opened up and the maple ridge looks healthy. With this task out of the way I had a chance to inspect Dad’s finishing touches not he battery vent. It looks like he used a nylon screen and then cut a notch through a piece of left over pipe to mechanically hold things together. It’s still too cold to caulk so we’ll have to wait a bit longer until the battery enclosure project is completely finished.

The song birds up here are amazingly hungry and totally fixated on eating. Chickadees and goldfinches will eat through 2-3 pounds of sunflower seed in 24 hours. I took advantage of their single mindedness and got close enough to get a picture of one hungry Chickadee.

3.14.2011 – Monday

The loggers are here!

8:30 a.m. the chainsaw starts and the rumble of log skidder can be heard. The cutter and the log skidder make quick work of the basswood

3.15.2011 – Tuesday

The logging continued today. Today they worked on the South edge of the ridge. The cabin sits on a maple ridge that runs East to West. On Sunday Dad and I worked off porch side of the cabin, or the North side. Yesterday the loggers worked to the West of the cabin. And today they worked to the South East and the South side.

As I walked between the cabin and the garage snapping picture of the logging I noticed that the spaces between our panels was enough for the sun to cut lines through the frost on the garage roof.

You can tell this isn’t the first time he’s seen a tree fall.

They have been top notch when it comes to getting the logs out and leaving the rest of the forest in tact. Steve Jr. makes it look easy; weaving the 11-ton machine through the woods and then finessing the claw between trees and rotating the claw just-so that the logs miss the trees and the skidder on their way to the back loading area.

While the piece-cutter and the log skidder were at work I trimmed the bone and mounted the antlers on a spade shaped 3/4″ piece of walnut. Then Dad mixed up and plastered the mount. The next step is to file and smooth the plaster to the final place before adding felt and mounting it on a plaque.

A final walk around revealed how little the outside of the tree reveals about its internal structure

The logs are separated into two piles; the pulp logs and the saw logs. This is the pulp log pile. Not much will be added to this pile tomorrow. There are only a few ash trees left to fell before the operation is done.

2 thoughts on “Cabin :: thinning trees

    1. offgridcabin Post author

      Our purpose for thinning the trees was to promote the growth of the hardwoods – by allowing the maples to crown out they will add more mass in the coming years. This will increase the number of tappers for maple syrup. Removing all the basswoods also helps us accomplish this (the primary tree cut by the loggers).


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