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Breaking Bad

June 20, 2013

Or maybe I should say, “Mama’s, don’t let your coppice grow up to be a big tree!”  Or don’t build a fence under a leaning tree.  Words of wisdom… .  That sprout is at least as old as me, and the crotch of that tree held decades worth of found stuff ranging from glass shards, nails, whisky and medicine bottles, to newer signs of farm life, plastic fence insulators and a couple of rebar fence posts.



I’m just glad I moved the fence energizer and battery to a different field before this happened.  Items like this are not on the list, and have a way of wreaking havoc on a tight schedule.   The clean-up alone shot the heck out of a morning and that doesn’t include repairing the fence back to a usable state.


To clean this up, the first log had to be measured and bucked and removed. Next up was moving 500 feet of electric fencing to allow for room to yard the brushy tops by.  After the fence was moved we set chokers on the two tops and yarded them to the firewood landing.


Our firewood landing is in the woods… near the wood, go figure.  So it makes sense to us to have the mess there instead of in the hayfield where the chestnut tree fell, the mess that doesn’t become firewood will serve as fertilizer in the forest.   The cool of the woods provide a respite during the summer heat too, even when you’re cutting and splitting firewood.

We still have a lot of mess to clean up to get ready for haying in this field, and that is in addition to repairing the fence brace.

The fence repair job was interesting enough to garner a post in itself.  I called in The Fixer…photos to follow.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    June 20, 2013 9:25 am

    Wowza, maybe I won’t get a chestnut tree after all or if I do will remember not to plant it near anything it could damage in it’s old age!! Was it diseased or something? I wonder why it fell?

    • June 20, 2013 9:35 am

      Chris, when you allow the sprouts (coppice) to grow they are weak, this is just a bird seeded pasture tree and has been subjected to browsing, antler rubbing and who knows what over 50 years or more. The main trunk is fine, just the sprout was weak. They are actually hardy long-lived trees if you keep the sprouts nipped back and keep the main trunk in good shape.

  2. Frank permalink
    June 20, 2013 9:46 am

    Nice bulldozer — dare I ask what year and make?

  3. Chris permalink
    June 20, 2013 12:12 pm

    Got it! I thought that the whole tree had fallen by the looks of that huge trunk on the ground in the first photo!

  4. June 20, 2013 1:43 pm

    I just want you to know that I follow a few blogs and yours is the ONLY ONE that I read every single post from. You live your lives the way we live ours, only more so. And I learn something in every post. Coppice. Who knew? Not I. We planted a small woodlot a few years ago. Now I’m wondering if I should cut it all down (I think it’s about 5 years old now) to allow it to coppice, or should I wait a few years until the initial trunks are bigger?

  5. wildriver permalink
    June 20, 2013 2:38 pm

    Good nut roasting wood… 😉


  6. June 20, 2013 6:29 pm

    I’ve often said that the unspoken rancher’s law is: “If a tree falls, it will be on a fence”. I’ll swear those trunks must have magnets in them!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  7. Mich permalink
    June 21, 2013 12:33 am

    Yep if a tree is going to fall, it always falls in the most inconvenient spot or on the one thing you didn’t want squashed!

  8. June 21, 2013 1:56 am

    It’s also farmer’s law too. LOL Our property is ringed by neighbors’ tree lines, neither of whom both to maintain them. So we are the ones who get to remove the trees from the fences when they come down.

    It’s amazing that chestnut got so large. Out here in New England the chestnut disease kills them at 5 – 6″ diameter. To see one of that size is VERY rare here.

  9. June 21, 2013 10:40 am

    Wow! What a job!
    Imagine doing that with hand tools!

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