First of all, it's kind of scary to break into a new community like this. However, I've read as much as I possibly could on these forums in the past few days and am convinced that the vast majority of ya'll know what your talking about (even if you have different ways of doing things). Anyways, I've gone out into the world, worked, went to college for a while... and came back with a somewhat "skewed" view on what the "American Dream" means to me. I have 186 acres in the catskill mountains of NY that was first cleared in 1890 and that being my family history means a lot to me. I would love to go down there and homestead for the rest of my life (making enough to support myself and possibly a family in the future), right now it's just me... so I see that as a challenge and not a wholly-unobtainable goal. I've done a lot of book reading, but I think that the best information is always from those that do, not those that teach. Unfortunately, the old farmers in my area are long gone for the most part. So, having coffee on sunday afternoon and picking their brains is impossible. Thankfully, I've found this place... and that's the kind of relationship I'd love to have with ya'll that are already here, established in your skills and confident in your methods. The land has been sitting for the past 50 years. What use to be cleared pastures have now become straight-up woods. What I'm doing now is basically clearing the land that was once pasture. So far I've just been cutting those trees that have been there for less than 50 years (dragging them out with the tractor and piling them for firewood needs at a later date). This, however, brings up my first real issue: what do I do with the pastures after this step is done? Do I HAVE to remove the stumps? A lot of the old pastures had apple trees in them (antique varieties that have basically gone wild and grown high enough in the canopy to fight with the hardwoods that are springing up all around them) do I annihilate these or are they worth saving? If I take them out... can I put new ones in... can apple trees lend themselves to a healthy, natural and organic pasture? I guess these are just a few of my questions... at this point in time the entire thing is a little bit more than overwhelming.