Trees Come Down, Trees Go Up

For the past few weeks, trees have been the main focus around here. Trees came down, trees went up, and then stumps and clumps were removed. Oh, the joy of hard work and building a farm and a garden. Join us here for a recap of our recent tree-focused projects.

That's my superstar brother-in-law Tom. He came to visit us for a day with his gigantic chainsaw to take down this bad boy maple affectionately known as "Q-Tip Tree." It was a dead, big-leafed maple when we bought the house and then our recent windstorms convinced us we were playing with fire leaving it up. He and Facilities Manager, shown stiffly in burnt orange, took it down in no time.

We originally wanted to leave it and have it topped so as to create a snag for wildlife. It was prohibitively expensive to have an arborist do so and since Tom and Facilities Manager didn't have the proper equipment to take on such a dangerous task, down it came. Here are the front cuts.

Here is the big crash, caught on video.

Bye bye, Q-Tip Tree. We loved ya, but . . . well, you know, you came down in a shattering thump.

Since it landed on the driveway as planned (Bulls-eye! Thank you, Tom!), it had to be cleaned up if anyone planned on leaving the house any time soon. Surprise, when it crashed on the ground, a gush of water splashed out. Seems the Y-split had collected water and debris for some time. Note the Y in the picture below. Ah, them mysterious trees are always up to something.

Once again, here it is before.

And after.

Here you can see that interior of the Y, which was filled with soil. FM saved the best pieces for me and moved them to the shade garden so I could plant ferns and in this case Cornus canadensis or bunchberry around them. I look forward to watching them decompose and make a genuinely forest-y feel in this part of the property.

I think about five large sections made their way up the garden to be repurposed as nurse stumps. Here a fern and a tiny Anemonella thalictroides were planted at its base.

Trees go up: It is time to finally begin planting the orchard. All of our fruit trees have been waiting patiently for their permanent homes. FM rented this bad green-machine down the street at Don's Rentals and drove it home to cultivate a section of the food-producing portion of our property. FM has been steadily clearing this area of debris for months now and this fairly flat section was ready for the next phase. No, he is not having a stroke! Rather, just experiencing pure tractor-joy!

Here he is just finishing up the tillable section.

A fence then went around the area to prevent the Destructive Ones chickens from entering. 

We planted about 10 trees total in the newly tilled area. At this stage, we planted two cherries, one fig, one persimmon and six apple trees.

This is looking north, the beginning of the orchard is on the other side of the plastic sheeting. If you look for little white tags, that's a clue that trees live there. FM laid down plastic to prevent weeds in what will be a part of the veggie garden to be planted later on this spring. This lower part of tilled soil will very soon be planted with the veggie starts grown in our garage.

In between the trees we planted Dutch clover, a grass alternative that can be mowed and also provides flowers for pollinators. We want to attract as many pollinators as possible. The chickens love to eat the seeds, so that's why were are trying to keep them out for now. In time, we'll move the fence to only enclose the vegetable garden and let them have access to the orchard, once the clover is up.

There really are trees in there! Right now they are sticks beginning to leaf out.

In addition to the fruit trees inside the fence, we planted three columnar apples that were gifted to us by Darcy Daniels of e-Garden-go. They grace the entrance to the orchard and veggie garden. We also planted a second fig tree on the outside of the orchard, also a gift from Darcy.

Stumps come out: This photo was taken the morning that Frank the stump man came over with his toys to remove these clumps of hazelnut roots as well as a couple big leaf maple stumps left over from FM's clearing efforts.

Here's his big toy! I understand it made quick work of hazelnut clumps and fir and maple roots.

 Action shot!

Wow. Just wow. FM says Frank is a wizard of the trackhoe.

 Here Frank is moving stumps to a designated area.

I can hardly look at this, I mean I know in time it will heal and be wonderful but . . .! But now it looks like the remnants of a logging clearcut. Sort of.

The aftermath. Once the remaining few bits are removed this whole area will need to be reworked and probably graded as it is on a serious slope with a dip in the middle, not ideal for vegetable gardens and ease of access. Steps . . . it's all steps. One. Step. At. A. Time.

 Here is the harvest. About 15 stumps and clumps in their final resting place between the food-producing part of the garden and a more wild northern garden, which itself is a project in process. The area where the clumps formerly lived had many native ferns and salal; we dug up as many as possible and relocated them to this northern area hoping to establish another wild woodland area for habitat. These stumps will provide shelter for critters and decompose over time creating nourishment for the soil. Plus, they look pretty cool. FM also plans to recover whatever firewood is in this grand tangle.

This little guy looked on as the action played out.

So, as always, we have been and are busy. From bringing down Q-Tip Tree to cultivating the orchard/garden area to the major project to remove the stumps and clumps, we are busy. But, that said, we can now visualize and set our expectations for wonderful results.

Thank you for your support on this journey. Please enjoy the beautiful weather, and, please, happy gardening and, hey, wow, treasure the sun!

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you for reading and happy gardening!


  1. Each of your posts is a reminder of the massive scale of your gardening effort. Another chapter completed - well done!

    1. Thank you Kris. I think when we have all the "bones" in, we can finally look back and say we did it...for now, we're in the zone!

  2. Wow! The area fenced off for vegetables and orchard already looks at big as our vegetable garden, if not bigger, and you're going to be expanding that? That's a lot of food production space! Let me know if you want to try oca. I have lots of tubers because my parents are allergic to anything different. I'll have yacon and mashua tubers to share this fall, too.

    1. Oh, oca - sure! We will try! Anything you have to share, we'd be thrilled to add it to the garden. Thank you!

    2. I forgot to check this before the swap. I'll pot up some oca tubers for you, since they're starting to grow anyway and right now I'm not totally sure when I'll be back down your way to drop them off.

  3. Boys having fun with their earth (and tree) moving toys!

    1. Oh yes indeed. They do love them (and so do I).

  4. Every one of your posts leaves me awestruck at the pace of work and improvements out there on the farm. I salute the Chickadee Farmers !

    1. Thank you! We feel your salute! We are but humble crazy people with a dream...

  5. An orchard! So exciting!! I love your idea of seeding will be wonderful for the bee's and the chickens in the future :)

    1. An orchard -- I KNOW!! I hope to have fruit to share at one of our gardening gatherings in a few years, not just plants!

  6. Big changes there, all sounds exciting!

  7. Wow! That is some impressive farm work! You are going to have some fantastic fruit there...and victuals :) . We've been seeing our share of tree removals this year. It's a lot of work. But then...there are boys and their toys.

    I hope I get to see this some day!


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