Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Machine in the Garden



On Saturday morning (January 26), following a 2-inch snowfall overnight, a local land clearing company arrived to clean-up five fully-grown Norway spruces uprooted by Hurricane Sandy three months ago.  During the week after the storm, my staff had removed the smaller branches from the trees that had blocked the trail in the vicinity of the blow-down, but the massive trunks and the sheer volume of the branches and needles had overwhelmed the staff - who had plenty of other trees to deal with in the aftermath, anyway.
  
The huge root masses on two of the uprooted Norway spruces
"My" residence (owned by my employer but occupied by Kali and me) is visible in the background
The land clearing expert and his son worked all day, finally finishing up late in the afternoon.  They used a skid loader with a huge grappling claw to grab pieces of the trees...


...which they then moved out into an adjoining meadow...

...where they proceeded to reduce the woody material to small pieces by sending them through a chipper.

This project cost us $1,500, but the best the staff would have been able to do would have been to "whittle away" at the pick-up-stick mess over a protracted period, and the spruce logs would still have remained.  This way, the whole job was done at once, and we can replant with native trees this time.

8 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Scott: That looks like a major production, to be sure. It's good to get that taken care of now, so when spring arrives, you'll be ready for planting.

Gail said...

Hi - looks like hard work but quite effective especially because of the replanting part. Great pictures.
Also, I did respond to you over at my blog about the 16th century homes. I meant literally 16th century, not 15th. So you were right to wonder.
Love Gail
peace.....

Scott said...

Carolyn and Gail: I really hated spending $1,500 for what is essential cleanup, but it really couldn't be helped. A colleague told me that the Doris Duke Foundation, which manages a huge preserve that used to be the estate of philanthropist Doris Duke in central New Jersey lost nearly 2,000 spruces. Yikes!

robin andrea said...

That does look like quite a massive clean-up job. It really is a good idea sometimes to hire the people who have the right equipment and wherewithal to do this kind of work. It looks like money well spent to me!

packrat said...

Scott:

Here I thought we were going to have some kind of "Ghost in the Machine" revelation a la Arthur Koestler about how the spirit that pervades your preserve is not distinct from the material world of nature. Just kidding, of course. It seems to me that $1500 is a fairly reasonable price to pay for the service rendered. I find it's always easier to render judgments like that when you're not the one doing the paying.

:)

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: It DEFINITELY was worth hiring a contractor who had the right equipment. The two pieces of equipment that would help us the most in our land stewardship work are a backhoe and a sturdy, well-made wood chipper, neither of which we can afford.

Scott said...

Packrat: The $1,500 was a good investment; it's just hard to shell-out the cash when you're not seeing much "progress" (vs. clean-up).

Scott said...

Grizz: Somehow, your comment didn't make it to the post. I told Blogger to add your comment along with Robin Andrea's and Packrat's, but yours didn't make it. I recall that you asked how old the spruces were. I'm guessing that they were planted in the 1920s. The property where I'm located was purchased in the 1920s by a German immigrant who missed the Black Forest. The land was open farmland (I have images from the agricultural days on which I can hardly recognize landmarks because so much has changed since then), and the landowner instructed his land manager to plant evergreens. So, we have a living legacy of his (non-native, coniferous) tree planting efforts throughout the 25-acre property.