Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Slaughter of Innocent Elms




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.



11 comments:

  1. I understand this inner turmoil. It's hard to see them go, but you know their time is limited, and you want to reduce damage to something or someone in the future. I like to take the opportunity to find plants I know will be more suitable, and replace the felled trees, when it's possible.

    I reckon you'll get a lot of good hugelkultur material, and those trees will just continue giving to your homestead, in different ways. It does feel better on the other side of that. :)

    I look forward to seeing what you two are able to manage for the new barn, by the end of autumn.

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    1. So do we. Just the idea of having all our animals, which we plan by then to be 4 steer, 1 cow, 1 horse and a couple dogs, in one building vs the four makeshift shelters they are housed in now, makes us silly with anticipation.

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  2. Hi Donna! It is a shame to cut the trees down, but you have to be practical too, plus look at all the gifts they're giving you! But honestly, just seeing that photo with the guy up the tree gave me the willies. I'm not usually afraid of heights, but there is a little phobia lurking in me lol...I checked out the link, I think those hugelkultur beds are a great idea!

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    1. I myself love heights and if I ever do myself in, I'll be leaping off the Cliffs of Moher for sure, but I have no talent for working in high areas. I'm too clumsy. This tree guy was absolutely part monkey!

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  3. I guess you had your reasons...I love trees.

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  4. I love them too Debby. And I'm excited about putting them back to work in huglekultur areas where as the wood decomposes, new plant life can thrive. Keith and I will do the same with our own bodies when the time comes. I imagine a huge lilac or two blooming on top of me!

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  5. These two trees will continue to provide uses and you won't have to be concerned about any building damage in the future.

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    1. Until the feed shed collapses of old age!

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  6. It's always so sad to have to take down trees but sometimes it just has to be. Your two elms remind me of our two old oaks. We've been glad for the wood, but I miss the trees and especially the shade.

    When I was a kid I remember all the elms in the village having to be cut down because of Dutch elm disease. I don't believe we have any growing where we are now.

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    1. One of the good things about this farm having been uncared for and abandoned for so long before we purchased it, is the abundance of trees. We have in fact, too many and not all are in good shape, but soon through careful selection, we should have a decent "tree crop" in about 5 years. best news is that we will never have to purchase wood to burn in our rocket mass stove1

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  7. It does seem a shame, but if there's no alternative.....

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