We've been working on peeling poles at Edwards Family Farm last week and this week. We're making teepee poles for a school in Loomis, jump poles for a friend with horses, and structural poles for our own uses.
Allen has selected a site that needs to be thinned - it is packed with small Douglas fir trees. The trees that we're harvesting are too small even for firewood, but they work for poles. Allen falls them and limbs them, and I cut them to the appropriate length.
During this time of year, the bark on Douglas fir is very loose - the trees are growing rapidly. This makes it easy to remove the bark with a drawknife. We can remove the bark from a 25-foot pole in about 30 minutes.
I'm finding that I like the work. While I always enjoy working in the woods, my work is generally accompanied by the sound of a chainsaw or woodsplitter. Since we're relying on handtools for most of this work, we can actually hear the birds sing.
I also like the fact that we're turning trees that are a liability from a fire safety perspective into a useful product. Allen's woods will be healthier for our efforts, and we're able to provide our community with a useful product.