After the tornado

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by VernaVox, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. VernaVox

    VernaVox New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Hello all,

    I'm new to this board, though I've lurked awhile and received much helpful advice from all of you. Thanks! Until now, I haven't had any questions that weren't already answered somewhere in the forum.

    One of the many tornadoes spawned in Wisconsin last Thursday ripped right through our property. We were lucky - we weren't around, we're unharmed, and our building only suffered minor damage from a flying limb. (By contrast, a nearby mobile home was demolished, but thankfully, no injuries there, either.)

    Now we have acres and acres of downed trees--mostly sugar maple and hickory, some oak and cottonwood, a few elm, cherry and black walnut. The land was logged by the previous owner about 13 years ago, but it was responsibly done, and a lot of these downed trees are sizeable. Many were pulled up by the roots. One maple, about 20 inches in diameter, was snapped off at the base and dragged about fifteen feet across the ground. Two ancient oaks, about five foot in diameter, which were mostly hollow inside, were also broken off at the base. But most trees were snapped off at about 15-20 feet. On many, the bark was peeled or shredded. It's just astonishing to walk through what is left of our woods.

    Of course, we'd like to salvage as much as we can for lumber and firewood. But where to begin? The old logging trails are narrow, mostly grown over and now criss-crossed with downed trees. The terrain where the majority of the trees went down is very steep. We'd like to find a logger, but how do we go about finding someone reputable? One neighbor suggested asking one of the local Amish men to come in with a team of horses. We hear he would take one-third of the trees as payment. We have no idea what a reasonable take would be, or what it normally costs to hire a logger. (But wouldn't it take much longer with horses? And how are the trees divvied up at the end?) Would a portable sawmill be in order?

    Although we are both comfortable with a chainsaw, this job seems too huge to tackle by ourselves (it would take forever), and of course, we have a half dozen other projects already in the works. I understand that it's best not to let the downed trees sit too long, because after a while they might get "stained" and would be no good for lumber. On the other hand, I've heard it's better to bring heavy machinery in after the ground freezes. (The "farm road" back to the woods goes through a wide floodplain, which isn't too mushy at the moment, but you never know.)

    Can you tell we're overwhelmed? Many thanks for any help you can offer!

    VV
     
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Messages:
    6,301
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming

  3. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    839
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ripley Co. Mo
    The Amish and his horses sounds like the best way to go.

    Have you seen the land and remaining standing trees after the big machinery goes through? Well let me tell you it isn't a pretty site.

    What young timber that is left they damage with the machinery. Never again will I let them on my place. It has been over 20 years and you can still see damage from where the skidders were in our timber.

    A third is usually a good price for downed timber. The logs can be scaled as they are cut. I myself am not familiar with how they do this, but DH is and I have listened to him on how they scale them and know just how much footage the log will make.

    Let us know what you decide.
     
  4. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Messages:
    1,658
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Central NY
    How heartbreaking for you!

    I have heard that some trees can be salvaged if you want to bother trying.
    If any have gone over rootball and all, you may be able to right them and
    support them until they get going again. Pull it up with a truck or car and give it a second chance. Don't wait too long, though, those roots need to get back in the soil...
    Pull it up with a truck or car and give it a second chance.
     
  5. VernaVox

    VernaVox New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, I think we'd like to avoid the commercial loggers. By asking around we've found two Amish fellows who are interested in logging in exchange for some lumber, and we'll talk with them next week.

    Does anyone know more about the timing question -- how long before the downed logs become unusable for lumber?

    VV
     
  6. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Ks.
    We helped our neighbor bulldoze his/our property that had blown down trees to middle of field and burned half. Waiting for cooler weather and still day to burn the rest. Don't know if that helps or not, but with twisted trees, half that seem hollow, we didn't want to go tramping in there and have one fall on us. Drug some out with tractor and even heavy pickup to burn pile. Sort of made a "path" from biggest concentration of damage to the field we are burning in. Just a thought. Ground was level for us, though.