Monday, April 29, 2013

Here come the judges!

April 27. The day we had been waiting for was finally here! The barn was swept and the deer exclosure repaired. The donuts were fresh and coffee hot. Arik even had on his custom jeans!

Saturday was a big day for us on the Farm - as finalists for the Regional Tree Farm of the Year, two inspecting judges paid us a visit. They wanted to see how Joe and the Farm incorporated the core tree farm values of water, wildlife, wood and recreation.

Talking with the judges and foresters under our "logo tree," a massive white oak. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Mother Nature cooperated (finally!) and our Earth Day celebration went off without a hitch!

Over 130 students, teachers and aides from Cambridge Elementary School and Walbridge School participated in our program, which was held in partnership with Aldo Leopold Foundation and made possible by a crew of great volunteers!

Students worked through five stations, including:

Planting fruit trees and shrubs to create a wildlife habitat area (the walnuts and Kentucky coffee trees we had planned on planting were still frozen in the ground at the nursery!)...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Houses for rent!

I was able to navigate through the mud and muck to install a wood duck house overlooking one of the many ponds on Arington Tree Farm. Ideally these houses would have been installed a few weeks ago but getting into the field has been a challenge with the wet conditions.

Wood duck house on Arington Tree Farm

In the middle of the drought of 2012 the pond shown above was bone dry. However, after the heavy winter snow and the wet spring rains, this is a much different landscape than seven or eight months ago. 

We've seen a good number of wood ducks around the farm and are excited to offer them a place to nest. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New chainsaw mill brackets

As my earlier post mentioned, the chainsaw mill brackets for the first slab didn't work well. The system was simply turning 2x4 lumber on edge to then run the mill along. The weight of the saw, the lack of perfectly level and straight 2x4s, and the narrowness of the rails all factored in to a less than flat initial slab. 

Well my Yankee ingenuity got the best of me. I spent some time building my own slab rail system. I cut a 3/4" thick piece of plywood down to 24" wide and 7' long. To add even more height and strength to the bracket, I actually sandwiched two sheets of plywood together, then added a metal frame to the underside (1 1/4" square tubing). The frame adds strength as well, but I mostly wanted the metal to create a level and square frame to attach the plywood.