Winter Work


During our previous life before homesteading when we were doe-eyed and innocent, I thought that life on the farm would be idyllic and relaxing. “Sure” I thought, “A farm is a lot of work, but when the harvesting is done I’ll just hang up my work gloves for the year.”

I could not have been more mistaken.
Tree Falling.  Clearing for growth

    Here the trees are thinned to allow others to grow.

    The garlic has to be planted in the Autumn for next year’s harvest.

Winter-planted Garlic

We once live in the corporate world with deadlines and quotas. Sometimes the stress built up and it impacted relationships, sleep and general quality of life.

But here, the stress is a slow tide that builds with the seasons. If we miss a deadline, we could lose a crop. So the months of preparations, the money and time invested could just get ruined. We’ve lost plum crops, corn crops, and have almost lost hay crops. (That would be 88 tons of hay lost!)

Harvesting Hay

There are always jobs to do. So anything that is not crop related usually ends up getting done in the winter. (Our most relaxing time of year.) This past winter we worked on falling and thinning our fir trees. This increases the value of a future lumber crop; allows sunlight to reach the grass and provide more feed for the cattle, and works as a fire break, protecting both the trees and nearby buildings from a wildfire. We also cut down trees that are too close to each other allowing the remaining trees to receive more sunlight to reach their maximum growth potential.

Trimming Douglas Fir Trees

The problem is that we have 90 acres of trees. So between falling, thinning and clearing underbrush – our winters look pretty booked for the next, say … 10 years.

My winter motto: Have Axe, will Travel.

And with all the work, I still wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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