Tree piles – large piles where you cannot burn them yet are in the way now. I had been waiting for over a year to get to this little farm chore – clearing piles of old large trees. I cannot burn them where they are & they are definitely in the road or in the ‘lane’ I should say.
The ‘Travel Lane’ is the sheep-way or herd-pathway where we walk animals from paddock to paddock. It really is a good management tool – we make a fenced 10-20’ wide pathway between / through the pastures / woods. Well, the lane had a long gap in its fence barrier along the creek bed, 250′ of a gap. The tree piles are right at this gap and in the way of putting up the barrier fence. The tree piles kinda’ made a barrier but animals were not fooled for long. If they can find a way to go somewhere, they will! They can walk around or over many things.
This need to put up a fence is all about making it easier for us to handle our boys-n-girls peacefully. No aggravation or injuries for daily chores, thank you very much. How do you move the milk cows twice daily for milking them? – Answer – follow the travel lane between field & barn. Herding animals is a common need on a farm. From my observation, “Herding Livestock” can be like snack times in the kindergarten except the kids are way bigger. And they have a serious pecking order attitude, brambles, rocks, flies, poop & grass to nibble. This herding can quickly NOT be smooth & straightforward BUT it can be easy if setup properly. Bringing in the flock or herd can be enjoyable.
So, this travel lane gap has to be closed. For a couple weeks, the girl cows have been ignoring my rotational grazing plan: They should know better! And I truly think they do know the routines yet are like willful children getting away with what they can. They are just being themselves, not actually trying to cause trouble. So into the gap or breach they go: The donkeys, sheep & cows walk around / through the tree piles then simply scramble down-n-up the steep ravine banks crossing the creek and like-magic escape into somewhere special – in this case the beautiful, shaded creek bed with many green delights. They actually don’t go that far; they are just not where you want them to be. To round them up, it takes a lot of time & sweat: You can picture me jogging back-n-forth, panting, waving my arms, clapping my hands as they shift and dodge around me. They are perfectly happy eating that fresh greenery, merely being. Did you know they love being first to get to it and race to get there!
All together there were over 100 whole tree trunks (6-20” diameter, 15-40’ long), collected over 8 years. I had drug & stacked them at the bottom of the garden field next to the creek ravine – it was out of the way back then! It is right in the way now. The chainsaw, log chain & tractor front end bucket helped make these piles over the years. Various farm needs and bad weather required clearing trees (I try to not cut trees down, actually hate having to do it – I really love trees). Yet, there they are nicely stacked laying parallel at 4-5′ high & 10-20′ wide in 5 piles all along the gap. These wet, half rotten trees do NOT move as a ‘pile’ because of my little tractor.
It took two weekends, lots of sweat/beer/water/ ibuprofen & my trustee chainsaw. Most of this tree mass had to be removed by hand. I cut them into 3′ pieces and carried / tossed / rolled 3/4 of these piles into the ravine and creek. Only after cutting them into little pieces and digging down to the bottom of the piles could I shave off a cluster of pieces with the front end bucket to push them over the edge. Yeah, the tractor helped push them into the creek bed / ravine late yesterday afternoon but only at that point. Only that last hour could I use the tractor. I finally cleared those large piles of old trees from the travel lane. Happily I did find a few locust trees – cut / hauled them off to use for fence posts later.
Then I put up the fence – Almost finished that part before dark.