Saturday, February 21, 2009

Working in the Woods

We're currently working on building up our firewood inventory for sale next fall. This enterprise is a partnership with our friends Allen and Nancy Edwards at Edwards Family Farm in Colfax. We've divided our labor, with Allen and Nancy falling trees, piling the slash, and skidding logs to processing areas. I cut the firewood to length and split it in preparation for sale. The firewood is a byproduct of the Edwards' efforts to improve the health of their woods through thinning and fire protection. We're making the transition to using horses and mules for skidding, which will further reduce the carbon required to harvest our firewood.

We're interested in learning from others who have used animal power in the woods. We're dealing with some very steep slopes, which can make direct skidding with horses and mules very challenging. We're thinking that we'll be using long cables and a pulley system so that the animals are always walking on the road system, and generally walking downhill. If you have experience with this sort of system, let us know how it works!

We'll also be milling lumber this spring and summer. This year, we're focused mostly on Douglas fir, but we'll eventually be milling pine and perhaps even oak. Again, this is part of our effort to improve forest health and provide the community with a direct connection to their lumber products. We're currently using a circular sawmill (a Mobile Dimension), but we're interested in talking to others who are using other types of portable mills.

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