Things are moving forward at the future site of the Runamuk Acres diversified farm, in preparation for our new beginnings. After much deliberation and–at times–heated debate–Keith and I hired a team of local loggers to do some careful thinning of this un-kempt forest in preparation of our upcoming endeavors.
I was very apprehensive about have any of the trees removed, however after seeing the work that has been done and talking with the man who has been doing the selective cuttings, I’m more comfortable with what’s being done. If I think about the forest as a very large garden that I am managing and tending, then I can consider the cutting a thinning of the crop, removal of trees growing too close to each other to allow proper growth, just as I do in my vegetable garden.
Our logger has uncovered a stand of young rock maples–a couple of which are tapable for syrup-making, with a number of others reaching tapable size in just a few years. There’s a herd of approximately 20 deer who apparently follow the skidder around the forest in anticipation of food that the felled trees provides them at this difficult time of the year. And it seems we have a surplus population of porcupines that we’re going to have to deal with in order to balance the forest eco-system.
We took Runamuk a step closer toward our future yesterday when we demolished the ancient farmhouse. The old farmhouse has stood as a symbol of hope and possibility for the Burns family for more than thirty years now, and I admit that I teared up a bit as I watched it fall. The ancient willow tree was planted by Keith’s grandfather, the man whom our eldest son was named for, and it’s absence in the landscape will be sorely missed.
I’m no pro with videos, but I made these recordings to share with you. This first one is where the last supporting corner of the farmhouse is ripped out with the winch on the skidder.
The idea was to knock the house over with the old willow, so before I even got out there he’d gone around and taken out the lower walls to make it easier to demolish the house. In this next clip he takes out the entrance to the old summer kitchen and some other last-minute prep.
And here he’s gone around to the other side of the old house and taken the chainsaw to the willow tree.
Now that the old farmhouse is toppled it will be safer to remove, whereas before it was not even safe to step inside the ancient house. Keith will begin working to sort out the rubble into three different piles–a pile of garbage bound for the dump, one to be designated as a burn-pile, and a pile for salvageable lumber and materials.
Things are happening–sometimes one small step at a time-but we are working toward a very bright tomorrow. We will live in this forest, nurture this land, it will support our family, and we will support our community. It was difficult for us to decide to remove these icons that connect the whole family to this property, but the hazard they posed was too great to ignore, and this is a step forward that seems to signify the coming of a new era.