Clearing up

Our first task in getting ready to grow fish is to get the trees out of the way. If you’ve ever been to northern Florida, you’ll have seen a lot of these:

A pine plantation

Pine plantations!

Typically a landowner grows them out, and then contracts with a logging company to harvest them. Pulpwood plantations are a big deal in the Deep South, and Owl Springs Farm is no exception. We’ve got about ten acres of sort of little teenage pine trees.

However, it turns out, ten acres is not quite enough for a commercial logging to bother with. Since we now have a different project in mind for that area of land, and
there’s also not a huge amount of ecological value to a monoculture of pine trees, our main priority is just to get them out of the ground before they get too big to take down by Werner’s fancy time-saving logging method.

Our soil here is mostly just sand– so if you ram a smallish pine tree at full speed with a tractor, the whole thing pops out. Roots and all. It saves a lot of trouble coming back to pull stumps out later! I was in the tractor cab with Werner once while he was doing this. You don’t even feel a bump when the tractor hits the tree. Pretty sobering. These are some seriously powerful machines, so safety is key. (For example, no longer riding passenger in a tractor meant to seat one has been a good start for us….)

After that, it’s time to stack the logs somewhere out of the way. We use a different tractor with a forklift attachment for the big logs, but for the smaller ones it’s often quicker just to pick them up.

Werner & Sarah moving a log on foot

Werner & Sarah moving a log on foot


Very short people helping with leftovers!

Very short people helping with leftovers!


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