Friday, March 27, 2015

A Little Background



In the year since we closed on our Grafton County property (April 2014), we have walked the heavily wooded acres many times, topo map, compass, and camera in hand, trying to determine the exact location of the house we plan to build. The mountainside faces Mount Cardigan to the southeast, although until the logging, it was not visible.


New Hampshire has many famous mountains and many much much higher, but in the central part of the state, Cardigan stands out, even at 3,155 feet, marked by a treeless granite top (Old Baldie), and surrounded by a 5,000-acre state park and forest. We had hiked Cardigan well before we had the property in hand and were rewarded with the panoramic views from on high (and, even in June, a significant temperature drop at the top). Little did we know back then that we were gazing at the distant treetops of our future home site.


The sloping typography, multiple creeks and swales, as well as an old stone wall and a mammoth rock, made zeroing in on a home site challenging. Of course we had expert advice from a surveyor and excavator earlier in the process (they will become very important soon again). Once we had nailed down the site, not too close to one of the creeks but not too far, Doug and I marked the driveway and other areas to be cleared. Our technique was primitive but proved effective. We each took the end of a 65-foot yellow polyester rope. Under Doug’s direction, we walked then marked the edges of the swath to be cleared with pink flagging tape, tying it to the nearest tree. Then walked again, tied, and so on. Past the prospective house location, Doug estimated the acreage that needed to be logged in order to secure the vista we wanted and marked that too. Later, we went back and tagged several trees that we wanted not to be cut--a few big white pines that were far enough away from the house site not to pose danger, and several sugar maples, denoting them with distinctive black and white checkerboard tape. 

 
The system worked well and we are thrilled with the results. Thank you loggers Steve, Roger, Larry, Doug 2, the drivers, and other guys; and our neighbors for putting up with the noise and nuisance of heavy machinery. That will be as loud as we will ever be; promise.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Logging


 

Thursday, March 12, 2015, a momentous day for us; the logger has arrived. It was touch and go for a bit. The roads have been posted by the town, which means no heavy equipment can move after Saturday. Fortunately, Steve, our logger, has his equipment nearby and he will be finished with us and out by Saturday.
 

I had never heard of a road posting but everyone in NH knows what that means. Frozen roads are stable roads; they don't shift and get damaged under the heavy loads of logging equipment. As soon as there is a sufficient thaw, local municipalities put up notices restricting truck weights. Then, later in the spring, they lift the postings. For a month or more, logging and construction come to a halt. 


Another glitch: Steve had a major equipment failure when his chipper blew a piston the day before and he had to scramble and find a replacement, which he did. Thank you, Steve.

 
All in all, six men were involved in the operation. Steve maned the big tree cutter; Doug 2 (to differentiate from Doug 1, my Doug) and Roger ran the skidders; Larry the chipper; two other guys drove tractor trailers to haul away wood chips. The noise was deafening. Next to the huge machinery I felt as vulnerable as an ant at a square dance.

After two days, the result . . .