Sunday, August 8, 2010

Slash and Burn Operation?

I think what I am doing borderlines a practice of what is called slash and burn. We are cutting down trees (selectively), burning the tops and branches, stacking some for future firewood, and preparing some to be milled into wood for my house. So, yes, there is some slashing, and yes, there is a bit of burning. So therefore my work buddy Paul can call my operation a slash and burn and not be incorrect. However, the definition in my dictionary (which is Random House Webster's College Dictionary) is: 1. of or noting a method of agriculture in the tropics in which vegetation is felled and burned, the land is cropped for a few years, then the forest is allowed to reinvade. 2. unnecessarily destructive or extreme.

I could argue that my operation is not really a slash and burn because a) it is not occurring in the tropics, b) while the cleared land will be used for agriculture, the forest will not be allowed to reinvade in a few years (depending on what is consided a few), and c) I do not consider the clearing unnecessarily destructive or extreme (although that is subject to opinion.)

Enough of semantics, let's get on to the good stuff. Assuming you the reader agrees with me in that my clearing work is not unnecessarily destructive or extreme, and that I am making "progress" in selectively clearing a site where I can live and raise food, this past weekend was another good push in the project. Friday I had Zoe and PJ helping me clean up from the last big wave of work. We moved and re-stacked some firewood, cleared debris from some of the trees that were felled last time, burned a bunch of brush, cut a couple of small trees down and cleared them out of the site, and then relaxed to shoot the breeze, laugh a lot, and shoot upside down plastic plant pots with my Mossberg 20 gauge (single shot pump action shotgun.) It was a fun, hot, long, hard and productive day. Thanks Zoe and PJ!

Saturday was another big day of cutting down trees and cleaning up the debris. White pines are messy trees to cut down! Lots and lots of clean up ensues. Eduard was the tireless Belgium work horse who did all the cutting, and we were joined by some impromptu helpers and visitors who came, hung out, chilled and pitched in a hand when they could. We got 2 more large white pines down and almost ready for the mill. I am hoping to get all the wood for the siding of the house from the white pines and wood for window framing and such from the black walnuts. I will probably have wood left over, so hit me with ideas (like does anyone want to buy any wood for any projects of your own- cheaper than the lumber yard?)

At the end of the day, Eduard shot all the upside down plastic pot targets down, and we chilled and ate and drank. Once again, I am so grateful for my friends and family who come and help and support me while I am working on making my home. It is really fun to have people come by and get involved in one way or another. Jenna is a really good commentator to goings-on and keeps everyone entertained and informed of the events of the day. Todd randomly shows up with much needed equipment to help at just the right moments. KB shows up from various states and countries periodically to help with whatever is going on at the time. Eduard of course does very heavy big labor work horse-like things and sings while doing it. It is a down-right scene over there... Enjoy the pictures:

Here's Zoe. She's tough. Maybe because her momma had to slide down a snowy hill in Maine on a sled while in labor with her to get to the road to go to the hospital...

Here's PJ. He wears all manners of do-rags (like this one inspired by Tupac). He dreams of someday building a 6-story tower to live in...

Here's me, tidying up the burn pile at the end of the day.

Some stacks of wood:

Target shooting at the end of the day is like the carrot for these work horses.


A Girl In An Apron said...

Oh my. First of all, Zoe looks too good. Then you scroll down and see tupac, I mean, Pj, and he is lookin too good! I am very sad to have missed this one. The shooting is truly the cherry on top! Nice post Dane!

Anonymous said...

you did not scroll down far enough

rachel said...

My bad, couldn't see who that was, then when I did a double take, I realized, it's the King of looking too good! Get it Eddie!

Anonymous said...

that is what I mean looking; well done Rachel, you got it.

Milkweed said...

What an excellent update. Unrelated: are you interested in home cheese making enough to be interested in a spare, like-new book that I have on the subject?

Dustin Pearson Harlan said...

A breath of fresh, smokey air! You just could not be any cooler Starla.
You still rock my butt off :)~D