Working on Trees on the Homestead

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At the moment that I type this, I am exhausted, my hands are scratched and covered in sticky cedar resin, and I think there’s a new hole in the sole of my boots. And I’ve never been happier. Working on the homestead is can be tiring, but it much more satisfying than anything I’ve ever done. At the end of a hard day, you can actually see the result of your labor, unlike in any job I’ve ever had, which just felt like treading water.

I posted before about chopping down some of the cedar trees on our land. Well until today we just left them where they had fallen. We did not have the time yet to go back and use them. Today we started to limb them. It really means to de-limb it, to remove all of the limbs from the base of the trunk, so you are left with one very long log. The cedar we started with was not the largest one, but the one that was taking up the most space in our clearing. It was really time to get them out of the way, the tree was drying out and cedar is super flammable, and it’s relatively close to where we cook our food.

We used a battery-powered reciprocating saw, because the cedar is so full of resin that it would clog up a chainsaw. When the battery died we used our new Kobalt ax we just bought. Kobalt tools have a lifetime warranty, so it’s worth putting down the money. It takes a little more physical effort to swing the ax (and to be honest that’s something I’ll let my brother do, since I’m kind of a klutz and the ax scares me a little bit), but it still managed to go through the limbs pretty fast. So we got an entire tree done. We have one large log now, one of the long sides of the raised beds we’ll be building this week. It everything goes according to the plan, our neighbors are going to help us clear the brush in our future garden area in a few days, and we have a few more downed cedars to de-limb, and then we’ll be able to actually put together the raised beds. The clearing already looks bigger and there’s more sunlight with some more of the cedars down. Then we’ll fill the beds with compost, build a sifter to sift the composting wood chips from the Rolla recycling center to get a finer topsoil, and soon the garden area will be coming together.

The pear and plum trees are really leafing out well too, the leaves are a bright, vibrant green. The peaches were flowering, but we had to pick all the flowers off. If we didn’t, the tree’s energy would all go into turning the flowers into fruit, and the tree is still too small for that. Several of them are seven feet tall, but they are very slim and not strong enough to support heavy fruit. We need the energy to go towards the tree getting taller and putting out a good root system. If you pick off all the flowers, then that stimulates the tree to focus on growing more instead of fruiting.

I’m tired and my muscles ache but I’m happy.

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