Temperatures Dropping; Time to Get to Work!

By , November 18, 2013

The temperature continues to drop; the north wind seems unwilling to abate. The ground has already frozen hard. Time to get to work!

I’ve been waiting for the winter cold to make the trees go dormant so that we can cut some of them. As reluctant as I am to cut any of our living trees (see Attitude Adjustment through Animism) we’ve accumulated a list of trees that need to be trimmed, pruned, or felled through the winter.

The former view from the front window, taken last May (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The former view from the front window, taken last May (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We got started yesterday. I cut about 6 small trees. Some will open up the cabin view and create a new, sunny garden space in the dooryard. One had been threatening the house. We removed limbs that droop under snow loads to block our trails, and cut back branches that have grown into pathways. We also trimmed the viewshed of the wind generator, so we can better see what it’s doing. We also want to continue shaping the windbreak (see Tree Work). As we worked, we heaped newly-cut boughs directly on the curing compost bin and garden beds to provide insulation.

We’ve got the whole winter ahead of us to do most of this, but I especially wanted to get the trees cut in the new garden space. On Thursday, we’ll have a rare opportunity to view the “homestead” from the deck of the ferry, as we head south to spend Thanksgiving with family. We want to have a chance to see what things look like after removing the trees.

The view from the cabin window after first tree removal. (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The view from the cabin window after first tree removal. (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We have never fully settled our feelings about visibility on the property. I waffle between wanting to be hidden from strangers, and being seen by them (see Lighting A Candle in the Darkness). I cut all but one of the trees we’d intended to fell for the project. I’m having trouble letting go of that last one—I can see that I will feel very naked if it’s removed. It will barely open up the view of the cabin more than I’ve already done, but I feel that as it stands, the tree creates a focus short of the cabin’s front windows, forestalling a viewer’s glance into our living room.

On the other hand, we’ll be able to see out a lot better. Our view of the water will be greatly improved. Considering the ratio of opportunities for seeing to being seen, it pencils out considerably in our favor.

I have yet to decide, but I’m sure that if I don’t remove the tree, I’ll at least cut back some of its branches, and top it. This particular tree shades the solar panels at certain sun angles. Removing it could give us several more hours solar power on some days. This is a consideration we should not ignore.

I suppose I should look at this process as husbandry. I have to remember that we have over 10.5 acres of forest here; cutting a few to improve our living should not concern me. It’s not as if they’ll go to waste, as we’ll end up using everything we cut in one way or another.

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