Safety First

Kirk was working in the upper part of our land, in a section that we have only now started opening up. About a third of the forest is dead trees, so he has been bringing down many thin pole trees. Many are 20 years old but I can circle my hand around them. There is little undergrowth in this section, and the branches are all dead till you hit about 20 feet up the trees. Like other sections of our land, the forest doesn’t smell healthy. But as with the other sections, once it is thinned of the dead trees, the branches cut off up to about 12 feet high, the forest will become better lit, rain will be able to get in. Next spring the forest here will smell like life, and next fall the mushrooms will start popping up from the chipped wood we blow back in. We had been putting this section off as we had to cut in trails just to get into it – and it isn’t near any of the farm fields, nor buildings. It is though close to the state highway, and a constant worry in summer is cigarette butts tossed out of car windows. The forest before the thinning was tinder dry due to the dead trees and branches. It is a mix of Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Madrona (Madrone). On the edges Evergreen Huckleberry and Salal grow, but only on the very edges. Much of the forest grew up out of logs left behind when it was cleared 20+ years ago (so nurse logs).

I constantly harp on the kids about safety on the farm out of love. Ear and eye protection are the hardest to drill into them, and I take away their tools if they don’t do it. I consider it a rule I won’t bend (even though as a kid my Dad was clueless about safety with my brother and I, but that is a story for another day). I was lecturing them today while they were using their ax to drop a tree.

Thankfully Kirk was practicing his own safety today while working.

His Stihl ProMark chaps stopped the chainsaw when it bounced back into his leg. Did the job exactly as one could hope for. Kirk was super bummed about the chaps. I’d rather we spend $130 on new chaps than a visit to the ER. And Kirk could agree with that.

Safety First. Every single time. You never know when you will need it!