This is a Sunfun Farms Minute that shows how to build a temporary greenhouse/hail shelter for your garden plants from a 55 Gal drum.
I made myself a brooder completely from reclaimed materials. I was driving around and saw a farmer whose barn was falling down, so I asked him if I could have any materials I could salvage if I took it down for him. He gladly accepted, and I now have a 7 foot by 2 foot brooder. :)
Today's chore was working on the new driveway that will eventually lead to the big house. For those of you that haven't been out to our property, we have ~2.5 acres that are cleared which is where our current house and the orchard reside. We also have 5 acres of forest which is where we intend to build the big house. The new house will not be visible from the road, so the new driveway curves a bit to hide the house. This is great from a housing visibility stance, but makes it a bit difficult to drop some of the taller trees that reach 50 feet or more as you don't always have a perfectly straight area in which to drop the tree.
When you're cutting down a tree, it's common practice to cut a V shape notch just slightly longer than halfway thru the tree. This notch open in the direction you want the tree to drop. You then go to the opposite side of the tree and make a back cut an inch or two higher than your V cut. Usually the tree will start to come own on the V and drop cleanly exactly where you want it. Some loggers of yore were so accurate with their cuts, that they would pound a stake in the ground and place bets on whether they could hit the stake and sink it into the ground. I've cut down quite a few trees, but I am still not that good. :)
Anywho, today I was dropping a tree relatively close to several other trees. The cut needed to be pretty precise as the area was relatively small and flanked on wither side with trees I wanted to keep. I love the sound a tree makes when it's coming down. There are usually several cracking noises as the tree starts to go followed by a whooshing sounds as thousands of leaves spread the air all at once. So, I make my V cut then start on the back cut. I should probably mention at this point that we are having 30-40 mph winds today. (It was also 80+ degrees, so the wind was quite refreshing.) As I finished my back cut, the tree started to drop beautifully. Several loud cracks later and it starts to go over. Suddenly out of nowhere, a huge gust of wind kicks up an instead of falling BETWEEN the trees, it gets caught up in the canopy of the neighboring tree and doesn't fall any further. Now I'm in a bit of a pickle.
It's a dangerous situation when a tree hangs up in another, because the cut tree could go at any moment. You also have to remember that the only thing between you and said tree is a motor attached to a bunch of snarling teeth that don't particularly care whether they are eating tree bark or shin bone. If the blade binds it can cause the saw to buck aiming it straight back where it came from, which coincidentally is usually where you are standing. A hung tree can also "kick back" or fall on the wrong side of the stump, which is also coincidentally where you are usually standing. I'm left with a couple of options, none of which are particularly safe and some of which are down right stupid.
Being just slightly smarter than average redneck, I choose what I think is one of the safer courses of action. Now that last sentence should tell you a bit about how this story is going to end. :) I decide to make another V cut and bring down the tree along my original vector. I start my V about a foot up from the first one figuring that should be enough to dislodge the tree and bring it down. Wrong!!
It starts to drop perfectly again and another gust of wind later hangs up in the other tree!?! Dang!!!! Well now it's a foot or so shorter. :) So I proceed to try that strategy again. Third time is the charm right?? Well, the tree falls breaking the first tree I wanted to save in half, then kicks out sideways and snaps the second tree I wanted to save about 4 feet above the ground. And that's how you cut down three trees at the same time . . .
There is no doubt that being a farmer is hard, dirty work. The animals have to be tended twice daily which leaves little time for vacationing or going out of town for the weekend, but it's also very peaceful to spend time with the animals. There is a certain amount of sereness amongst the quacking ducks and the squaking chickens. As each chore is finished, the cachophony diminishes a little bit until at last, all of the animals are fed and quietly pecking around looking for that last scrap of food that the other animals missed. It's a constant source of contentment knowing that if all else fails, at least our food source is secure. Sitting by the pond as the last rays of sunlight are slowly fading and the ducks are lazily paddling around, it's hard to figure out why city folks like the city.
Here are some pics of the latest additions to the farm. We brought home 3 Silver Appleyard ducks (1 drake and 2 ducks). 4 Welsh Harlequin ducklings and 6 more Pekins. Everybody is getting along great and having fun in their new environment.
For those that don't know, all ducks are ducks. A male duck is called a drake, but a female duck is called a duck. A baby duck is called a duckling regardless of gender.
I grew up on a small hobby farm in rural Michigan. My earliest memories are of feeding the chickens and picking blueberries with my dad. Share my experience as I create those memories with my twin daughters.