Sunday 5 February 2012

Sizing-Up the Land

It was warm enough today for everyone to go for a walk in the woods.
Baby Meer took it easy.

We were able to go quite far which gave me a chance to visualize some of my plans.

I have a good idea of how to develop the land.
There are some areas that I will never touch.  Places like a Black Ash swamp that I love.
There are healthy stands of Maple that will be preserved for possible veneer log sales.
There are fairly healthy Maple stands that I intend to use for Maple syrup.
You're not really supposed to use perfect trees for syrup because the tapping process opens the way for infection.
There is an area that holds mature Balsam Fir and Tamarack that I am saving for important building projects.
There is a high hill with a good variety of the hardwoods and no softwoods that I will select cut for woodworking.
And then there are those spots with less valuable trees and habitat that I will change to suit our needs.
Today I checked out a couple of spots that may be suitable for growing the Quinoa.

The photo on the right shows an open area that is in first place for crop consideration.  Notice the blackberry and raspberry canes.  There is also a large presence of Aspen suckers.
This spot was logged pretty hard and also served as a resting place for our old deck.  The raised humps are actually old brush piles from when we did some clearing for our wedding.
At that time, we would clear brush and remove it into the back.
We burn our brush now.

So, the remaining trees will come down for fuel-wood.  The logger select cut our property which is fine if you follow up the job with your own maintenance.  Otherwise, the best trees are removed and the undesirables are left standing.  That method does nothing to improve your woodlot.  It's important to clear the canopy if you want rapid regrowth on the forest floor.
My goal here will be to get all of the fuel trees down soon.  The few conifers will be left to provide shade for the pigs.Once the ground is broken for crops, then the remaining trees will come down, including those to the south that create shade.  I want to get one acre of arable land out of this spot.

One of the great advantages of this landscape is that it is watershed country.  That means that there are ponds and swamps and springs everywhere.
(I should add that the biting flies like that too.)
The land is well drained in most places due to the topography, which means that I should be able to have a well drained plot adjacent to a water source.
The water is necessary for both livestock and irrigation. Our planning guidelines accommodate for some climate change, whether it be excessive rain or drought.
Having a natural water source precludes the need for complex irrigation or water transportation for animals.

Flat ground and deep soil are ideal in ideal weather conditions, but on rough ground you may engineer forgiveness into the cropland.  Using natural drainage and water storage will make us less susceptible to erratic weather patterns.

On the right is a photo of the land that I've been working on for a couple of years now.  It was completely treed.  There were only a few trees taken when it was logged.  Most of them are crooked and sick.  This is where our fuel-wood comes from.  It should give us two more years of fuel.  Here too there is water in the form of a spring that creates a swamp.  There is more bedrock than I had originally hoped for but we'll make it work.  The overall layout will make for an excellent centralized farmstead.

Having put up my first electric fence last Spring, I feel that I'll be able to do it much faster the next time.
The key to clearing these plots for crops is to get the pigs on the land.
If I take the trees down then they will do the rest.  I just need to keep them contained so that they don't clear out all of the naturally occurring species.

Plans are just plans right now and I need to wait until the snow is gone before I get going.  I could start taking trees down, but I need my tractor to do a good job.  The snow laden hills are too much for my little FE35, so I will wait for open ground.

Winter seems to have been made for the homesteader.
It gives you a rest and the time to quietly prepare for the next season.
But I'll be ready to go at it again soon.

In the meantime, snowshoe season has only just begun, and there are lands beyond our own to explore for the sheer beauty of it.

You can never get enough cute baby pictures!

Fern and I showing off our teeth!

No comments:

Post a Comment