If You Loan Frank a Bulldozer...

...he's going to want to tear stuff up. Although the same is true for Maddrey. So let's talk about tearing stuff up on the farm.

First, we have acres of woods that are in serious need of tearing up. The trees here are what I would call "new growth" forest, which is much nicer than what Frank and Maddrey call them: junk, garbage, trash. The previous owners had farmed the land in their youth as it had been farmed by their family before them, but as they aged and had no one interested in taking over the labor, Nature took hold and the open pastures went back to woods. Once they had both passed away, in their nineties, their adopted son had a lumber company come in and take the best trees to help pay taxes. So what was left for us is basically an unhealthy mess. There are certainly beautiful places to wander, especially near the large stream that borders the farm, but mostly the growth is Stephen King horror story lost in the woods dense.

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Even midst the young junk trees, there is enough straight pine and Hackmatack to be useful for posts, lumber and firewood. However, getting it OUT of the woods is the issue. We had plans to rent some heavy equipment, but the generous offer of an exchange was made (time with our new tiller for time with his lovely old bulldozer), and we jumped. 

Frank was let loose first, briefly, then Maddrey took a couple of half-days and cleared a new outdoor riding arena, to go with our new indoor riding arena/barn/event center/lambing shed/hay storage/winter playground for the kids building. That girl can clean your kitchen floor with a tractor bucket and not leave a mark.

Everything is still in progress, because when you're flattening out a hillside for an arena, you want to do some work, let it rain and settle, then do some more work, and so on, until it's nice. It also gives you a clear look at how the drainage is going to work. Good drainage is pretty much essential to everything. Always. Always always. Plus, in Maine, you want to make sure you have a place for the snow to go.

Here's "Before" from when we first bought the place, looking up the slope:

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And this is a couple years later, looking down the slope.

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And this is "After", looking kind of from the other side:

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Frank gets a turn next and between the thousand other chores and emergencies that always interrupt his days, here's what you get for about two hours work so far. Just getting from the trailhead to the bulldozer took me about ten minutes walking. It's going to be insanely beautiful covered in snow. And by next Spring, Frank will have run the tractor through so many times, it will be beaten down into a great walking trail.

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And with any luck, by the time the ground freezes, we will have enough trail to drag whatever we want from the woods, whenever we need it. That's rich, in my opinion.

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