The Listing Agent wrote “Viable logging options” as part of the description of our property on Zillow. Skeptical, we noted that information but didn’t use it as a deciding factor when purchasing our home and land. We weren’t knowledgeable enough about forestry to know if it was the truth, or a fib to catch a gullible buyer. Going into this purchase, we decided if we were able to log it that would be a happy added bonus.
Regardless of logging, we knew we wanted to clear cut the area around the house, about 25 acres of it, to use for pasture as our farm grows. Clear cut doesn’t mean just mowing the whole thing down. Basically, we keep the big, well-established trees, which can be used as pasture shade. The small trees, often many of which are considered invasive, would be removed, leaving the land to breathe. We’d plant grass or rye seed, and it would be ready to use as pasture.
But I’m getting ahead of myself in this story.
I like to figure things out. All sorts of things. Give me a problem, and I’m going to figure out how to solve it. This works great when it comes to moving across the country. I’m not scared to look like a fool or as a dumb question. Because usually, questions truly aren’t dumb. You don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s okay to ask. I feel like we forget that sometimes. Questions are the key to learning.
I’m a question asker.
I also like to know what I’m dealing with. Uncertainty doesn’t suit me. I’m not going to stare at the forest for years, wondering what to do with it but afraid to ask. I’m going to call around.
So I did.
I typed in “Loggers near me” in Google, and saw what popped up. I looked at a few, checked reviews, and truthfully, most of the time I just go with my gut. So I called Randy’s Logging, and Randy picked up. “I have 120 acres that may have the potential to be logged. Truthfully I’m not sure. Is this something you’re able to come out and check?”
He said sure. Actually, he employs a forestry manager, who checks out potential logging opportunities, as well as gives advice on how best to keep your forest healthy. How neat is that!?
So today, a friendly gal pulled up in the drive with her sweet dog who jumped out, wagged her happy little tail, and promptly made herself at home. Together we walked back into the forest.
The forestry agent was friendly and kind, and we stuck up a conversation. She went to school in Montana and knew all about my hometown of Spokane WA. As we went down the trail, she pointed out trees, bushes, and ground cover, sharing what each was.
She also touched on the fire ants that are everywhere, and now they are an invasive species not native to the area. They took out almost all the native quail, which are ground birds and couldn’t nest anymore without being attacked by the ants. How horrible is that! I literally want to take a torch to every pile I see.
Back to the logging
We hadn’t walked far into the forest when she said, “This was logged recently, and it wasn’t done super well.”
When I asked what recent meant, she said most likely within the last five years. And when you log, she explained, part of the job is to clean the forest up as you go. Removing trees that lack value for the forests, and making sure quality new growth had space to expand. When they logged our property, they didn’t clean it. They simply took the trees they wanted and would make the most money, and that was that. Disappointing she said, as it leaves a mess not only for us but is also hard for the wildlife to maneuver in as well. Basically, the whole Forrest suffers when a bad log is done.
But there was hope and she provided a lot of information to help our forest heal.
A few things that need to be done
A controlled burn.
This helps remove a lot of the gunk that wouldn’t have grown if the forest had a healthy canopy. The hardwood trees would withstand the controlled burn, but a lot of the invasive shrubs and basically “weed trees” would be killed, giving soil space to the quality trees.
She also said we needed to keep our forest trails maintained, and that they would be a great asset to our land. (This is more confirmation to Travis that we need a tractor, which he’s itching to get.) We have several nice trails that are drivable throughout the property, and she stressed that keeping those maintained and not letting the forest take them back over means that we have better access to watch and care for the land as needed.
Another suggestion was about every 40 acres or so, clear out a one to two acre “meadow” and plant grass or rye seed. This is to help bate in the wildlife, encouraging them to eat and poop and move through our property, keeping it healthy and alive. Animals do a lot of the health of the forest!
Future logging opportunities
If we clean up and maintain our forest, working on its health and growth, she said within five to ten years they could do a quality log that would produce a profit. This is exciting and great news! Logging is not only profitable but done right, helps keeps the forest clean and tidy, preventing overgrowth and fires. Oftentimes logging is looked at as bad when if you do it right, that’s simply not the case! It’s all a balance.
Clear cutting around the house
This leads to what I was talking about above. Clear-cutting an area around our house. When I shared our idea with her, she said that she’d see if Randy would come out to check and see if we had enough wood for chipboard to make it worth his while. Since we don’t have trees large enough to log, the smaller trees can still be cut and ground down to chips, which are then used for compressed wood products. She said there may be enough wood to make it profitable for him, but that we most likely wouldn’t see a profit from it. For us, it would just mean being able to get the land cleared for free, which to us,
sounds amazing! So, we’ll be waiting to see if that’s something that can happen this year, or possibly next.
Each day here feels like information overload. I love learning, but gosh, it’s a lot. Which is why it’s nice to write it out. Not only because many of you love learning along with me, but also because writing it down fresh keeps it here for me, so I can reference it later when needed!
To follow along with our homesteading journey in real-time, make sure you’re following along in IG stories, which I like to pop into daily. And for more info about our farmhouse in Tennessee, make sure to check out: