Cleaning Up The Homestead

One benefit of buying and building on raw wooded land is that it’s growing wild.  One downfall of buying and building on raw wooded land is that it’s growing wild.  We love how untamed and natural our woods are, yet, as we began to wander around the closest areas to our yurt where we need to keep areas and pathways accessible, we started to see certain sections that could use a trim.

At the end of the path to our yurt, there was a huge, gnarly patch of pin cherry growing. This is where we decided to store our wood, so that patch of pin cherry would need to be removed.

The view from our kitchen table to the garden and chickens was a mixed patch of tag alder and pin cherry.  Once we realized how much this obstructed our view, this patch would be better removed.

Once the roses along the path to our yurt came in full bloom, we recognized how many wild plums were growing in that patch. They were not growing in a manner that would allow them to produce fruit nicely, so we decided to thin that out.  The outcome would give us a much more favorable view of the beautiful roses.

There were no large trees in any of these areas, so it was more like clearing out a lot of branches that are growing out of the ground.

It was time for me to get to work, which went like this:

  • put on work clothes, bug spray, and sunscreen (necessary starting point for all homesteading tasks)
  • use chainsaw or use pruners to drop the branches, get Tim’s assistance in areas I was not comfortable with (look, I’m a novice chainsaw operator….at least for now)
  • drag branches out of the area
  • manicure the branches – branches large enough for fire wood were kept, twigs were not saved so I had to pile them up in another wooded area creating a brush pile for wildlife (more on this, keep reading)
  • enlist help from Flora to drag twigs and branches to the brush pile (she was great!)
  • stack any longer logs for further cutting into a size for burning
  • regret not wearing long sleeves, especially after the wild plums were are full of thorns

The outcome?  Cleared space, two heaping brush piles for wildlife, small amount of firewood, and hundreds of small scratches all over my arms.

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Wild Plums cleared out, gives the roses the focus they deserve!

So, what’s with the wildlife brush piles? Instead of burning or chipping up the wood, why not create a little haven for our animal friends? According to yardmap.org: “Wildlife need snug hiding places like those found in log or brush piles, and we don’t just mean birds. Butterflies overwinter in them, rabbits seek shelter there, snakes hunt for rodents and invertebrates in their cover, and chipmunks conceal their seed cache in their depths. If snags are nature’s apartment buildings, then brush piles are her hotels.”

We’ve also seen that deer chew on them in winter and use them to rub antlers.  In just a few years, the brush pile breaks down to a point of barely even being able to tell that it existed.  In the first few days of our brush pile, the kids and I watched a family of chipmunks play in the brush pile and eat the pin cherries that were still forming on some of the cut branches.

The next big project? Start hauling wood from around the property to our new wood storage area. Perhaps I’ll choose long sleeves for this project. 🙂

Wishing you Peace, Love, and Nature,

-L

 

 

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