My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frank Talks Critters

4-H and the Heat

We will be headed for the fair next week.

Where food comes from.

The real perspective is the best perspective.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Tree Farming

The photo doesn't do justice to the amount of effort expended for the wood.  There are over 100 pieces in this load.  The wood came from a piece of property in Washington State that was planted in the late 1980s.  The tree growth is actually pretty poor for their age.  I am learning that stands of planted trees should be thinned at about age 12-15 years. 

It can be seen in the photo below from the growth rings that the trees are growing very slowly.  The rings toward the outside of the tree are very small, 1/16".  In the center the growth rings are much larger (1/8"-1/4") this growth occurred when the trees were all happily growing up together.  In more recent years the trees limbs have crowded into one another and are competing for the same sunshine and soil.  To improve the growing situation for the trees they need to be thinned.  This involves selecting the healthiest trees on spacing between 8 and 12 feet apart and cutting out everything else.  Some of the cuttings are in the truck.

Getting started was the hardest part.  When the trees to be removed are cut, they don't fall down.  They stay standing straight up on the stump and have to be pulled down.  I don't have a trailer right now so I couldn't haul the 4-wheeler out with us.  If we hauled it in the back of the truck we we wouldn't have any space for wood.  So we either pulled the trees down by hand or we set up a little yarding rig and used the truck to pull the trees out to the roadside.  We just rigged a block (pulley) to a tree at the roadside and ran the truck up and down the road.  This allowed us to pull at a right angle to the road.

The last  picture is of an alder tree that was growing on the roadside under more ideal conditions as its growth rings show.  In ideal growing conditions the fir trees should or could have growth rings up to 1/2" wide.  If we get things thinned properly the fir trees should be very happy and put on wood efficiently.

I'm no forester but when I was in the business of designing forestry equipment I worked on a machine built up specifically for thinning.  The contractor that we built the machine for was contracting to Weyerhaeuser for first entry thinning.  The idea in those days was to make small saw logs (5" dia. minimum) and make the rest into pulpwood chips.  Typically the first thinning is done by hand with chainsaws and the cut trees are just left to rot.  I need firewood and the trees need thinned so it is a win-win.

It is a hard way to make firewood due to the number of pieces required to make a cord.  The price is right though.