Baby Steps

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William, our strapping young man of nearly 14, pulling a post. That is literally the end of the road in front of him.

Our 20 acres consists of 7 acres of hay field, and 13 acres of mixed forest and peat. That’s all. There is nothing else on the land.

We are at the end of a dead end road, and to the north is a quarter section (160acres) of heavily treed grazing land (see pic above, those trees are the grazing land). To the east is 160 acres of farm land (also see above, the field is the farm land). Same thing to the west. Just to the south is our only neighbour. He also has 20 acres, but he is zoned ‘country residential’, which means he can’t do much with his land, other than live on it. I think it suits him fine, as he doesn’t seem like the type to raise chickens. We are zoned “agricultural”, which means we can pretty much do what we want with it – and that suits us just fine.

On the project list right now is clearing trees for our building site and planting trees in the pasture (hay field). We are wanting to clear approximately 1 acre for our building site, but have it nestled in the trees. We are actually crazy enough to attempt this (mostly) by hand. What I mean by mostly is that we will cut the trees with a chainsaw and pull the stumps, either with a chain and my Jeep, or with whatever equipment Allan can borrow from work, ie; a skidsteer, loader, mini-excavator. We know that this will take a long time, and isn’t nearly as efficient as a D6 Cat (aka – Bulldozer), but all it will cost us is time and labor. We looked into renting a D6, which my amazing husband knows how to run (I’m impressed at least…), and around here it would cost us $1000/day, plus 14% insurance, plus cartage to get the cat to our place. *sigh* We will do our best to pull the stumps safely. We will dig around each stump and cut the roots before pulling it. We know all the horror stories of chains breaking and stumps flying through windows. This adds a huge amount of time to the process, but we think the added safety measure is worth it. Hopefully though, we will be using the skid steer to push the majority of the stumps out. Our first weekend on the land we managed to drop around a dozen trees. Half of those we bucked up for future firewood. The other half we moved to the side to be bucked up at a later time. We also planted 80 white spruce saplings. If we cut a dozen trees, and planted 80, we’re doing pretty good, right? I’d say we are ahead of the game for now. Soon enough, we will have cut more trees than we have planted, but at least we will be closer to having our home.

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