We did not want to do it. This pair of elm trees were likely original to our farm (origin date of 1865), but they had to go, and last week they went.
The two trees were landmarks for us as when we drove up our road, as it was those two tall fellows, standing above all the others on our seven acres, that told us we were almost home. Sadly though, they were in the way of progress, progress referring to the building of our new (old) barn.
Elm tree #1 and the makeshift calf shed beneath it. It had to be dismantled and moved before the tree cutting began. It will now serve as the
summer digs for our three hogs.
Elm tree #2 next to the current feed shed. The inventory stored beneath
it, also had to be relocated.
If we moved the barn father away from these trees we'd pay more to run utility lines a longer distance, but if we built the barn in the shade of the trees and closer to the well and power pole, we took the risk of future building damage during a storm. As it was, all winter we worried about branches falling on the old feed shed, which eventually will be torn down, but currently shelters hay, straw and more. We didn't want to lose it before we were done using it and we didn't want the new (old) barn to be damaged after going to the trouble of rebuilding it.
Both trees had large dead branches just aching for a good wind to knock them down. We suspected internal rot as well.
So we contacted a young fellow in the trade who said he could take them both down for $1000, which is reasonable compared to other tree guys in this county. He came, he cut, and we paid. He and two buddies felled these two massive trees in less than four hours and spared the old feed shed any damage at all.
As hard as it was to see the trees go, we'd already made plans to use the limbs to build hugelkultur beds. If you're not familiar with this practice be sure to check out the link. In addition, we'll use the smaller limbs for next years fuel for the rocket mass stove, and we'll hollow out the two big stumps and use them as flower planters just at the entrance to our new (old) barn.
The $1000 paid did not include cleanup however, so that's what we've been working on this last week. Keith and our son Jason made some serious dents today in the huge piles of felled trees, and we have a path again for unloading more of the new (old) barn as it arrives. Next weekend we're renting an industrial size chipper for $200 and we'll make quick work of the smaller branches, those 6-12 inches in diameter, and thus have more mulch for our farm.
One can never have enough mulch.
And so, each week we get a little closer to the summer's end goal of a completed barn.
At the end of execution day (from left) daughter-in-law Amanda, grandson Easton, Keith, and our sons Kyle and Colton explore the woodsy remains.