Cleaning up around the future shop and sawmill site

We’re finally having a little bit of cooler weather, so I thought I would get some stuff done outside. I haven’t really brought you along with what’s going on with the property or showed you around too much. Let’s go for a quick walk and take a look. 

I’m going to be walking all the way to the back of the property, and I want to show you the area in the back where I long-term want to put all of the business-related stuff, including the future “dream shop.” It’s still a dream and it probably will be for a while.

There’s the sawmill and the log yard, with the current stack of logs. 

We’re going to keep walking all the way to the back of the property. For anyone who is new and hasn’t seen this area before, this is a 22-acre property, which was previously used for horses, for about 30 years. It hasn’t had horses on it for about 10 years at this point, but it is set up for horses, with lots of pastures and land for the horses to roam and do their thing. 

This area back here, this little flat pasture land, is what we have planned for the future business zone on the property. It’s about two and a half acres of area, very nice and hilly. The end of the property is right where these fun-looking trees are at the end of the grass here and then over to this side, where again, we have trees that grew up past the fence line and then back over to here.

Over on the left here is where I’m thinking I’ll put the shop some day. We have this nice hill space, with about a 10-foot rise, so I’d like to do a two-story shop structure and be able to have ground access on both levels. 

At the end of this trail is where I was thinking of having the sawmill building. It’s got this nice little alcove area that’s nestled in these trees, and it’s fairly flat (flat for this property). 

I have been getting a little obsessed with the history of this property, and I went back and found a lot of aerial images of the area, including this property. One of the weird things I didn’t quite understand about this area was why it was so weird. This area seems like it’s cut out of the hillscape and the ground conditions seem a lot drier. It just looks weird, like someone was digging out here. There’s also an old, rutted road area through here, and it’s odd to have an old road with just some rut lines that go around the corner. But in the aerial images, it looks like this area was quarried or was a rock pit or sand pit or gravel pit or something like that. After seeing the images, it becomes pretty obvious. This is where something was being dug out in the 1950s before this property and our property (which used to be one parcel) were sold off. They were sold off in the ’60s, and then this parcel was split off from ours in the ’80s. 

But anyway, this is the area where I’d like to put the sawmill. This is all super sandy, so it’s nice to know that the area back here is going to have good drainage. But now we’re at the back of the property line.

There’s this nice little shaded alcove area over there, which I think would be nice for a drying area or a log yard. It’s shaded, which is nice for that kind of stuff. And then again, if you pan back over, that’s where the sawmill ideally would go and then panning some more into this hill here is where the shop would go. So this is a nice big open area to run around and do woodworking stuff and whatever other stuff I feel like doing. The only issue is there’s no good way to get back here, so we are thinking we’ll do a separate driveway, which would make this area a little more accessible. It would bypass the house and would be truck accessible. If we just extended the driveway past the house, it wouldn’t be truck accessible anyway. So a lot of infrastructure has to go in first.

But anyway, one of the things I wanted to do today was finish the removal of the old electric fence that was used to keep the horses contained. I still have a few posts to pull and there is some fence line throughout the area. I especially want to get some of these fence posts out from in front of where the sawmill stuff is going to go. So I’ll grab a skid steer so I can start pulling these T posts out. 

While we’re back here, I want to show you this tree. This is the most mature walnut tree on this property. There’s only a few, but this is the biggest. It’s not super big, but as you can see, it’s producing walnuts so I’ll be able to propagate a few more walnut trees from this one. I didn’t have a chance to prune it over the winter, but when it goes dormant this year, I will remove these lower limbs so it’s less bushy. 

So I’ll probably end up removing all of the limbs pictured above. I’ll start with a few of the lower limbs this year and then work my way up, encouraging the tree to grow upwards. You get more trunk that way and grow trees instead of bushes.

This is the alcove area that I was talking about that would be good for a drying area or a log yard. It has decent shade. South is to the right in the above pictures, so it’s got a little bit of shade cover and morning coverage, with less shade in the afternoon and evening. There’s not a lot of shady areas here on this property.

I also need to do some tree maintenance. Up in this area needs a little bit of pruning and cleanup. These trees need a lot of dead wood removed to make it easier and more fun to walk through this area. So I’ll come through here with a chainsaw and clean up all this dead stuff.

It’s already making a huge difference being able to walk in here without all these limbs hanging everywhere. Unfortunately, there are several smaller trees that couldn’t quite compete with the established canopy, so they’re dead, and this area is going to look pretty empty without them. 

What a difference. Before is on top, after is on bottom. Still needs a little more work, but it is looking quite a lot better. You actually can walk through here, and it seems a lot more spacious now, too. I will have to come back with a pole saw to get some of the higher dead limbs, but just getting that lower stuff out of here makes a big difference. You can actually walk through here and it’s just so open and clear. I think the kids are going to love this. This is going to give them one more place to hang out and explore and have fun. 

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