Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Dark Forest

That is how I always refer to area behind our house. The ten acres was a nice clear pasture when my wife was a growing up out here. Slowly the pines have crept up and and by the time we moved here they had gotten large enough that they could no longer be mowed down by a tractor with a brush hog. This is the area closest to the house an extremely high density Field of pasture pine which you can barely walk through. Over time I have gone for enough walks with a machete that I have a fairly clear path back into the second part of the pasture.
I am not sure why, but at one point the pasture was divided by a fence and along the fence line these large pine are towering above the field of small trees that choke each other. It is only around 30 yard from the fence around the house, but the small pines are so dense you can't see where that fence line is anymore until you are right next to it. When we first moved here this area of the property didn't bother me, but now it drives me nuts. I want to clear the whole area, but the cost is going to be big. If I had a better idea of what I was doing I would have insisted that the loggers clear this area when they logged the rest of the property even if we had to pay them to take the timber. If we hire a bulldozer to come out and level it then we have burn massive piles of timber or let it rot which would take fifteen or twenty years.
Past the fence line the trees open up into a much more spread out field where the trees have grown much larger and you can walk fairly easily through the woods. I do love to wander through this part of the property and watch the birds freak out as the have lots of low nests that spend most of their time undisturbed. There are often large patches of grass matted down and covered with deer droppings where they are bedding down.
If we can ever get it clear we want to replant most if it with trees, just not pines. The problem is pines are not good for much except pulp and timber. It doesn't even make good firewood, because it has too much pitch and your chimney will catch fire if you burn it too much. My ultimate goal would be to plant a small orchard of pecan, peach, pear, walnut, and maybe a few other things that grow well here. Not a for a commercial operation, but so that when my kids are old enough to have their kids the trees will be mature and producing fruit and nuts. Looking around I found the West Texas Nursery run by the Texas forest service which sells packets of seedlings which should help attract either deer or Quail & Pheasant Wildlife Packet which I would like to plant. Most of the land in our county is being logged and replanted with pine timber, so I think in twenty years it might be a good idea to have a few other types of trees around. The strangest thing however is that while I am trying to figure out how to get rid of these trees my brother in California has just started working as a logger. Maybe next time he comes to visit I can put him to work.

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