Bulldozing a Patch of the Land

Since the purchase of our land in February 2013, we have accomplished a few small tasks. However, we have mostly been in a stalled holding pattern until we could get some of the land cleared. Our first priority is to clear off a tear drop shaped patch of land that is about 2+ acres. There is already a logging road cut that goes all the way around this tear drop. Our goal is to build a permanent deer fence around the tear drop and plant our fruit tree orchard leaving a space for our future garden.

Luckily, our oldest son is a diesel mechanic for caterpillar and is able to rent equipment at a discount. We had planned on clearing this section months ago, but it fell through. Since we are depending on the employee discount we are at the mercy of when the equipment is not in use by other “real” customers. Finally, this weekend he was able to rent a D4K Caterpillar bulldozer.

He started pushing at the “tip” of the tear drop. It was about 20 degrees Saturday morning and there was still some residual snow on the ground.

Bulldozing the Tear Drop Starting at the Tip
Bulldozing the Tear Drop Starting at the Tip

 

Pushing Trees Over with a Caterpillar D4K Bulldozer
Pushing Trees Over with a Caterpillar D4K Bulldozer

The majority of our land (except near the creek) was logged about 15 years ago and what we have now is trees that have grown back on their own. Most trees are poplar, beech, white oak, and pine. The poplar, beech, and white oak are mostly only 2 – 3 inches around, but pine trees grow much faster and are 2 and 3 times larger than the rest.

Pushing Trees Over with a Caterpillar D4K Bulldozer
Pushing Trees Over with a Caterpillar D4K Bulldozer

The weather forecast for the day was a high of 43, but it never warmed that much. I believe the highest temperature we saw was 35 and the winds were 15 – 20 mph at times. I did not get there until midday to bring them lunch and coffee. It was an awfully frigid day to be working outside all day, but Jon actually had Saturday and Sunday off and we could rent the dozer so we had to take advantage of the opportunity.

Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar
Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar

 

Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar
Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar

 

Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar
Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar

The job was much bigger and taking longer than George had anticipated. We knew this was going to be a large job trying to do it ourselves to save money, but we were finding out it is going to be even bigger than expected. There were several large stubborn original roots from white oaks where 4 or 5 small trunks had sprung up from. We even found one HUGE pine that seemed to just appear out of nowhere! It obviously had been left from the logging because it had to be at least 2 – 2.5 feet in diameter. We cannot figure out how we never saw it towering taller than the rest of the trees.

Huge White Pine That Surprised Us
Huge White Pine That Surprised Us

 

Huge White Pine That Surprised Us
Huge White Pine That Surprised Us

Progress is messy! Our original plan was to burn the trees in a few months after they had dried out. We knew it would be a lot, but we were a bit overwhelmed by just how much was pushed over and how much work it is going to be to burn it all. Now, we are going to check into having someone local chip it for us. We are hoping we can get it done cheap if we give them the chip.

Large Piles of Trees To Clear
Large Piles of Trees To Clear

 

Large Piles of Trees To Clear
Large Piles of Trees To Clear

 

Large Piles of Trees To Clear
Large Piles of Trees To Clear

 

Large Piles of Trees To Clear
Large Piles of Trees To Clear

 

Large Piles of Trees To Clear
Large Piles of Trees To Clear

It was dark and he was still pushing trying to finish up on the tear drop. The only “brush” that we burned was just to have a fire to keep warm. Jon and I were mostly just moral support.

Bulldozing Trees After Dark
Bulldozing Trees as It is Getting Dark

Sunday he worked on widening and clearing the logging roads that lead to the creek. They are right steep in spots and have some really tight areas as well. Even cleared, only a four wheel drive, tractor, or four wheeler is going down there because of the steep incline. He also cleared out a nice flat area in the bottoms that could be a great spot for planting corn or something.

Up until this weekend we have been talking of all of our plans once we had the tear drop cleared, and not doing a lot else because of waiting. Now, we have so much work to do it is a bit overwhelming. We need to get the big trees chipped/removed. Then, we still have all of the very small spindly trees, brush, and rocks left over to rake, gather, and burn/clear. It will be sometime before the tear drop is in shape to build the deer fence and plant fruit trees. We had hoped to be planting trees by fall, but that may not be possible since we are trying to do almost all of this ourselves (the cheap way).

The Land Series:
Closed on the Land
Exploring the Land
Bulldozing a Patch of the Land
Clearing Land the Hard Way
Clearing the Land – Finally a “Little” Progress

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