Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cutting Down a Tree

This photo shows Jesus and me cutting down the saltcedar clump in the beeyard where our electric pole is going to be. This was our major Wednesday project. When this picture was taken, we had already spent an hour cutting out the horizontal branches blocking access to the main trunks. We were an efficient team – I chainsawed, while Laura and Jesus hauled brush and firewood out of the way. They burned the brush, and tossed the firewood into a pile to dry until next winter.

While sawing, I thought about the thousands of other teams around the world busily sawing down the rainforest just as fast as they possibly can – the Amazon, Equatorial Africa, Southeast Asia. Of course, the trees they saw down are much larger. And unlike me, they will never stop, not as long as trees remain to be sawed down. Since the trees on my 8 acres put on considerable growth every summer, I figure that all the tons of biomass I’ve removed this winter don’t equal the annual accumulation of biomass on my property. So I’m still to the good, carbon-wise. And I don’t anticipate ever cutting down so much biomass in one year again.

Tree ring analysis reveals that this clump of saltcedar was 30 years old. We had it all cut down by lunchtime. Then Jesus came back for a couple of hours in the afternoon and sawed the logs into firewood. Next week we’ll have the junk dude come and haul away the old refrigerator, and we’ll move the papercrete mixer to a less-conspicuous location.

It was a satisfying little homestead saga... good hard exercise; goal-directed activity with a useful result. Laura and I have always thought how nice it would be if we could clone ourselves. One set of clones could work full-time doing homestead work, keeping our place neat as a pin and cute as a button. But now we don’t have to clone ourselves. With Jesus’ help one day a week (if he keeps working for us), I’ll have this place totally organized within a year. Then we can move on to whatever’s next, which I suspect will involve optimizing the sustainable food production aspect of our microfarm. Stay tuned for further developments on the homestead front.


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