A year ago this month, a logging operation began on our land. We own about 245 acres, and most of it is woods, a mix of hard and soft wood. It is important that the wood be cut because otherwise it would become overcrowded, and the large trees would completely shade the land underneath them. This land is called the understory. Here is the dictionary definition:
a layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy of a forest.
If the understory can’t get light there is no new growth. When some of the trees are cut, the sun shines through and new plants and bushes begin to grow providing shelter and food for animals and birds. It is the healthy way to maintain a forest to have mature trees cut down every 15 years or so. Over the 34 years we’ve owned our place, it has been logged several times in different areas. The land where Margaret and Matthew have their house was a logging yard for a forty-acre cut of densely packed fir balsam trees that were inaccessible except through that part of the land. We wanted it cut before they started building because it will not be able to be cut again.
Have you ever driven by a place and seen this sign?
I suspect that some people think it only means a Christmas tree farm, but it doesn’t. You may read about the American Tree Farm System here. And if you go here, you may read about tree farms in your own state. We manage our woodland by hiring a forester who walks the land and sees what needs to happen and when. He gets a part of the money we make from logging but it is money which is very well spent. Our fellow, Charlie, has been working for us since we first bought the place. We trust him. He knows trees and forests and how to keep them thriving.
Last year we were due for a big cut. Over the years we’ve hired different loggers, from large operators down to a one-man business. The man we had do the work last year has done logging for us before. We like him, and in one of life’s beautiful coincidences, his name is Forrest. The land being logged this time was up the hill from the house which meant big trucks went by steadily over several weeks.
First they came and made a logging yard.
This is a place where they haul the logs in preparation for them to be loaded onto trucks and taken to mills. The yard was a short walk from the house, and some ous went up most every day to see what they had done. Hazel Nina loved the machines and would start pointing and making noises as we got closer to them.
Her dad and mum would come home from work, and they would take her up again. Whenever Michael, Estée, and Campbell Walker came to visit, we’d all go up. Those were sweet, fun times.
They cut along the road on the way up to making a landing.
A logging road in the woods.
Hazel in the crib watching a truck out the window.
Intricate work with big machines.
I love this picture, as we walked back down the hill.
A baby’s favorite toy, a pulp hook!
When they were done, they did some cutting closer to the house to ‘weed out’ some trees.
They finished up just about the time we had (another tree man) cut the old maple in front of the house, which I wrote about here.
The loggers told us that when they were working they saw a hawk, a mother and her fawn, and they heard an owl before sunrise. We wondered what changes we would see this summer after all that logging work and the maple gone. We have had a summer of birds: phoebes, bluebirds, chickadees, crows, bluejays, song sparrows, other sparrows, and wild turkeys. We’ve heard a lot of coyotes quite close at night. They have big boulevards to travel on now. Tom and Lucy saw a moose the other day. The logger came back this year and smoothed out the logging yard. Tom scattered grass seed, and it is already looking greener.