The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cutting the cedars

Bent red cedar against the barnAs you've probably figured out, we've put a halt to our building for now.  We're not quite done, but we need a few days over 50 degrees to allow us to seal in the skylight so that we can finish the roof, then the ceiling, then the floor.  And we need the same temperatures to caulk around the windows, paint the outside walls, and then paint the roof.  But that's all okay, because there's a lot to be done outdoors before the growing season really gets into full swing.

Wednesday, Mark cut down a lot of red cedar trees while I stood around and looked pretty (aka watched to make sure the trees were falling the right way.)  We've had trouble getting our apple trees to grow since they keep coming down with cedar apple rust.  The solution seems to be cutting down nearby cedar trees, which serve as an alternate host for the fungus, so we took out the ones closest to our orchard and will take out more if necessary in later years.  We ended up girdling some of the ones closest to the power line rather than risking losing our electricity --- I hope the girdled trees die quickly and don't grow over the wounds.
Girdling a red cedar tree
I'm afraid that opening up the canopy over there has made me think big again.  I know that we don't have the manpower to expand our garden area now, but I can't help wondering if we should figure out what we'd like to use that space for and do some preliminary work to keep it from growing up in brambles and honeysuckle.  I could seed it in clover and turn it into spillover chicken tractor pasture, or plant some fodder trees and figure it'll someday be part of a pig or goat pasture.  I could take advantage of the sparse canopy of tulip-trees left behind and fill the space with fruiting shrubs like hazels or gooseberries, or could plant black locusts and sourwood in the understory for bees.  So much potential, and so little time left before the growing season will make its own decisions about the disturbed ground!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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