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Rent A Goats! Before & After Pics Post 1

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  • Rent A Goats! Before & After Pics Post 1

    I have about 1/3 acre on the back of my property that is wooded and overgrown with underbrush and deadfall. Due to the elevation, it will never be suitable for turnout/pasture, but I would like to clean up the deadfall and underbrush and turn it into a small cross country course. It also backs up to a small trail, which is another reason I want the area cleaned up so that I can access the trail without going on the road.

    DH and I are arguing about the best way to accomplish this, as its really over-run with deadfall, briars, and weeds. I think we should rent a wood chipper and just spend a weekend feeding it with any of the deadfall that will fit and use the bigger logs as small jumps. He wants to do it the 'hard' way by loading it all up in the pickup and hauling to the landfill, where they use yard waste to make free mulch for the county. My issue with this is that it will require so many trips to the landfill that we'll never actually finish it. (I think that's actually his strategy... he doesn't want to deal with it so he insists on doing it the hard way... which gives him an excuse not to start.)

    I also want to buy a bush-hog for our tractor to knock down the bigger weeds and brush, but he says it will leave 'spikes' coming out of the ground. Once we've got it cleaned up, I can maintain it with the bush hog, but is he right about the 'spikes' from the brush? If so, what's the best way to eliminate the undergrowth and maintain it?

    So here are the before & after photos. This is after 4 days in the 1st 1/2-3/4 acre section.

    Before:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76077084@N02/7747117752
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/
    After:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/
    Last edited by Trevelyan96; Aug. 14, 2012, 11:35 AM. Reason: Update Before & After pictures.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Is dragging the bigger logs out to a clear area and burning them an option?

    To be honest, even your easy way sounds pretty hard to me. Freeing interlocked fallen trees from vines and brambles and cutting them into movable sizes either to lift into a chipper or a pickup is pretty tough work.

    A bushhog would be a pretty good start if you can get it in there. For the types of things it can get through, most will not leave problematic stumps, but you'd want to go through on foot cleaning up a trail anyway and see what there is.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      The bigger logs can stay put... I'll use them for small trail jumps. Chipping or hauling the deadfall is definitely hard work, but it has to be done before we can even think about bringing in a brush hog. We had it pretty cleaned up a few years ago, then came the hurricane and blizzards, and it looks like we never touched it.
      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
      Witherun Farm
      http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I try to leave ours alone for habitat mostly.

        We do have trails cut through it and anytime you bushhog a sapling it shatters the trunk, which does leave spikes. Any woody plant you cut off leaves a stump, be it half an inch in diameter or two feet. You can go back and dig down a tad and cut them off sub surface but it's labor intensive. We drag what deadfall is in the way off to the side and can either use it for jumps or use it to encourage the deer to use the trailways for better hunting.
        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
        Incredible Invisible

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
          I try to leave ours alone for habitat mostly.

          We do have trails cut through it and anytime you bushhog a sapling it shatters the trunk, which does leave spikes. Any woody plant you cut off leaves a stump, be it half an inch in diameter or two feet. You can go back and dig down a tad and cut them off sub surface but it's labor intensive. We drag what deadfall is in the way off to the side and can either use it for jumps or use it to encourage the deer to use the trailways for better hunting.
          Good idea RS. Maybe I'll use the landscape rake to drag the deadfall into a neat pile off to the side and just bushog down the weedy undergrowth. Thanks
          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
          Witherun Farm
          http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, you'll also have spikes for a while if you mow down big weeds, brambles, etc. From personal experience, you don't want to get lawn-darted on land that's been rough mown. Think road rash + splinters.

            "A while" is on the order of a couple years, until the stubs decompose, and you definitely need to keep it mowed during that time to keep the brambles and whatnot from growing right back. Eventually, mowing short enough ofetn enough will kill them.
            ---------------------------

            Comment


            • #7
              We have been clearing out a similar area. We have a lot of dead pine trees down, as well as tons of smaller stuff. We've used a chainsaw, tractor, and 12-year-old boys, and it is going well. We have burned the stuff that is dead and rotting, but that might not be feasible where you are. I'll tell you that we did probably 12 tractor bucket loads and 8 pick-up truck loads, and that was only about 1/12 acre. Back and forth to the landfill would be a serious pain!

              Comment


              • #8
                The spikes would be my concern as well, for landing on and galloping on. You might be better off pulling anything you possibly can with a tractor and chain. Your typical multiflora rose bush can generally be uprooted that way avoiding leaving the spikes AND the root system for regrowth.

                What we did with our overgrown area:
                Our neighbor had a brush hog that needed some serious rework so beating it to death was not going to hurt anyone's feelings. He cleared some serious brush and thorn apple trees just by backing into with the brush hog. When he was done, the deck of the hog was completely obiliterated and had to be replaced, but it was almost at the point anyway.

                My husband then used his tractor loader and back blade to scrape all the woody shrapnel left over from the chopping into a large pile, and three years later we have some lovely compost. All deadfall was laboriously loaded into a trailer and piled for burning. The ash was added to the "mulch" pile.
                ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is a small area to clean up by hand. Will take as long as it takes. And I understrand about hubbies that don't want to help. Don't pay any attention to that, a small female human bulldozer working alone works just fine. If you want it cleared and cleaned up, just start, and work your way through it. It is quite satisying work, actually.

                  To avoid the stumps from small bushes and young trees, cut by hand with cutting shears, right at ground level. Get some good gloves. Pile and burn. Anything too big to be cut like this, requires a chainsaw, and an operator for such a beast. But you will be surprised just what you can drag/haul out and pile.

                  I have about 30 acres of this, and have been at it for 4 years. Once you can get it clear enough for the horses to get in there, the traffic will help to keep it clear of some of it growing back.

                  The cost of a bush hog for such a small area would not be worth it IMO. Tractors also do not do well on sloped areas, they can tip over. The area once cleared may not be "pasture", but if the horses can get in there, they may well make use of it.
                  www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Only 1/3 of an acre? That's a tiny area. Just clear what you want for a jumping trail and leave the rest to nature. The nutrients will return to the soil and feed the remaining trees. De-limb anything you cut down, and pile the limbs in a few heaps to encourage wildlife.

                    Cleaning out everything will damage the soil biota which live in symbiosis with the tree roots. The soil moisture balance will suffer. Also, 'nature hates a vacuum'. Weeds will grow in open or bare places, given any opportunity.
                    My Equestrian Art Photography page

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had to clean up about an acre of tree tops from a clear cut by hand. I left the stumps as that is very expensive to remove. Luckily I did this before there was much grass growth and during the winter so I didn't have too much risk of starting a forest fire. I just methodically went out whenever I had a free hour and made piles and piles of tree tops. When the pile got too big or it was too far to drag more wood to the pile I burned it. It was terrifying. I had 30-40 ft bonfires and was ready to dial the fire department at all times. However, I now have a one-acre pasture, the horses do fine around the stumps. The downside is that after planting grass there was also an influx of dogweed so this spring I am back at it pulling dogweed, it's like having to reclear the place. But come April the horses will have an hour a day to graze and my hay bill will go down. So worth all the manual labor.

                      For your situation, I would just get out there and start making piles where a chipper can be pulled in. If you want to be able to do it all in one weekend, make the piles beforehand. Then just ask hubbie to help with that part, usually they like working with machinery/tools just not the other labor that goes with it, lol. Once you are out there doing it he will probably feel obligated to help at the end. Most of the wood chips should decompose pretty quick except for anything hardwood, so keep that in mind when making your piles. I used to ride at a barn that used wood chips as footing in areas so that might be an option as well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can you file for a controlled burn permit? If so, that is a great way to rid yourself of the thick underbrush w/o a huge expense.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                          This is a small area to clean up by hand. Will take as long as it takes. And I understrand about hubbies that don't want to help. Don't pay any attention to that, a small female human bulldozer working alone works just fine. If you want it cleared and cleaned up, just start, and work your way through it. It is quite satisying work, actually.

                          To avoid the stumps from small bushes and young trees, cut by hand with cutting shears, right at ground level. Get some good gloves. Pile and burn. Anything too big to be cut like this, requires a chainsaw, and an operator for such a beast. But you will be surprised just what you can drag/haul out and pile.

                          I have about 30 acres of this, and have been at it for 4 years. Once you can get it clear enough for the horses to get in there, the traffic will help to keep it clear of some of it growing back.

                          The cost of a bush hog for such a small area would not be worth it IMO. Tractors also do not do well on sloped areas, they can tip over. The area once cleared may not be "pasture", but if the horses can get in there, they may well make use of it.
                          I'm with Nancy. I actually enjoy this kind of work. And if you can turn goats or ponies out there, they can do a great job of keeping things back.
                          Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Goats.


                            Then Pigs.
                            "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                            Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                            Need You Now Equine

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Pictures !!!

                              The poison ivy is so bad down there that we decided on the Rent-A-Goat route for starters to knock back the undergrowth. They delivered 30 of them yesterday mornng. So cute. I wonder if they'd miss 1 or 2 at the end of the job if I hide them and keep them.

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/76077084@N02/7747126984/
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/76077084@N02/7747125238
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/

                              Back 40 before:
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/7607708...n/photostream/

                              Its amazing how much they ate down just in 1 day. Will take after pics next week. Once they've knocked back the majority of the growth, we'll be down there cutting up the bigger fallen trees and use the tractor with landscape rake to pile up the rest of the deadfall. The derecho brought down 4 really big trees, so I'm going to have plenty of logs for jumps!
                              Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                              Witherun Farm
                              http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I had similar luck with two rented sheep. AND bonus they were both girls and one had had twin kids about a month before I got them! Everyone I worked with thought I was nuts - you rented WHAT?!? For WHAT?!?
                                What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Rent-a-goat! LOL! Great idea.
                                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A town on my island just used goats to clear an area in their city park. They work!
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      They are so neat! Just as tame and friendly as can be. It took the horses 4 hours to get anywhere near the fence, but eventually Inky decided that they are kind of neat, he keep putting his head over to make friends.

                                      The problem is that they are so cool, that I keep going back there, and they all come running and stop doing their job, LOL! Last night, as I was putting hay out for the horses, they all started talking to me, so of course, I just HAD to give them some hay too.

                                      And they absolutely adore my neighbor for some reason.
                                      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                      Witherun Farm
                                      http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The Air Force rents goats for land maintenance...or at least did at one point. Some base up north can't remember which one though. I can only imagine writing the contract for that.

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