Our house and property have been experiencing some big changes! As you last saw, we have a new kitchen floor! We also now have a new wood stove. We took advantage of the 30% tax rebate offered as long as you purchased an energy efficient stove by the end of 2010. So... in the classic Steve and Nicole Style, at 4:25 (5 minutes before the store closed) on December 31, we ordered our new stove. We are still learning the ins and outs of this giant new beast. It is HUGE compared to our old tiny Vermont Castings work horse. And it burns very differently. In time we will adjust and get to know the intricacies of this monster and it too will become a reliable, domesticated member of the family. The only photos I have of it are terrible, so once I have some decent ones, I'll post them.
The biggest and craziest changes happening around here are that we have taken down a bunch of trees. And more are scheduled for harvest. As it turns out, we have (or, had, I should say) a lot of unhealthy hazard trees around our place. Particularly around our landmate/tennant's house. Around his house alone, there were nine trees identified that needed to come carefully down, before a storm brought one violently down on the house or one of his cars. Plus, the twin to the one that fell on our house needed to come down as well, bringing the total to a nice round ten. So, over the course of three separate days, ten lives were taken (nine actually since one of the trees was standing dead as a doornail). I had a very heavy heart going in to it. Three of the trees slated to fall had a very special place in my heart. But, as the sadness crept in, I reminded myself that I do not wish to relive this:
|The scene the day after the tree fell on the house in Jan '09|
|The maples after being felled|
The tall stumps on the left are being left that way until they can be assessed for fiddle wood.
The surveyors will be out here this week to find the corners and mark the boundaries of our property. Once that has been done, the tree crew will be back to thin the trees. They will be taking down all the scrappy, unhealthy trees and leaving all the big, healthy ones, which should make for stronger ecosystem in the long run. Currently our land is a badly mismanaged, overgrown second-growth forest that needs some help to become healthy again. Hence so many sick hazard trees. Once the trees are down and hauled out, we will be fencing and cross-fencing the freshly thinned flat land. Once fenced, we will be planting pasture grasses and herbs. I still need to contact our county extension to find out what species will do best in our climate/ecosystem. Once the pasture is established, healthy and strong, up go the loafing sheds and in go the animals! Woot! Woot!
The plan at this point is to get alpacas and icelandic sheep. Not too many of either. We plan to start with two alpacas and three sheep. On our small acreage, we need to keep it small and simple. The point is to improve the health and productivity of the land, not damage it! Sequoia just burst into tears when I read her this post, because she wants horses and cows, not alpaca and sheep. Honestly, I share her horse and cow dream. I would LOVE to have both as well. But, this small farmstead just can't support them. Maybe someday we'll be on more land with a sweet old farmhouse and more pasture, but for now, those alpacas and sheep sure will make me happy. Oh so very happy indeed!