One of the notable features of our property is the extensive system of boggy areas. I won’t call them swamps here, although we often do refer to them as such. They really are not full on swamps – they are just low lying with lots of slow moving water under a cover of thick moss and laurel plants, dotted with tamarack, spruce and the occasional jack pine.
Upon leaving the road and passing through our entrance, you encounter a good stretch of this bog, and that’s what we built our laneway through. Faithful readers will recall that we used a mix of corduroy road and brush mats (branches of spruce and balsam laid over the surface of the bog) to act as a base for our gravel. We poured many dump truck loads of gravel onto this mat before we were able to cross the bog and connect with the higher ground where we planned to situate our buildings.
Over the course of the summer, the weight of the gravel has caused it to press down more and more into the bog. So far there hasn’t been any hint of any part of our laneway sinking out of sight, but it has had the definite effect of pressing down on the roots of the nearby trees, causing them to tip in towards, above, and sometimes even crossing over our laneway.
While it made the laneway feel very constricted and narrow, Grandpa has also pointed out a few times that it is likely a good snowfall would be enough to tip the balance in favour of gravity and cause some of these trees to fall across our drive. So yesterday, after a delicious and inspiring breakfast at Mummu’s house, I decided to be nearly merciless in clearing back any trees that were potential hazards, or were making it uncomfortable to drive through the bog. I did leave two trees at the entrance that were slightly leaning, as they weren’t right against the driveway and were adding some privacy. I also left the larger trees that were outside of the bog but still close against the driveway, as I thought it wasn’t a great difficulty to navigate through them with vehicles even much larger than ours.
After dropping the trees directly across the laneway, I opted to buck most of them up using my axe. It’s much more relaxing, safe, economical, and perhaps even faster to do it this way, as compared to the chain saw – at least in my limited experience.
Where they extended beyond the driveway, it was easy to cut them to stove length, and then when they were trimmed to just the width of the drive, I rolled them into the bog to continue cutting – much easier than trying to avoid touching the driveway itself with the chain of the power saw.
After building up a load of future firewood spread out to both sides of the laneway, I brought in the tractor to move the wood to higher ground – I imagine I’ll have other things to do in the spring rather than moving and piling these logs a second time – and they won’t dry so well down in the bog.
It sure was a great sight to have Donna and Kenny show up at this point to help me out! They were awesomely enthusiastic partners. Kenny really took to getting the logs into the trailer and bucket.
Then I moved them further up the driveway out of the low spot.
That’s where Kenny excelled at rushing to build his own woodpile – faster, straighter and more level than mine, I might add.
Now the laneway is quite smart looking, and I’m certain more comfortable to drive up. There is still excellent privacy – although in honesty, we have built behind a hill anyway, so there isn’t a direct line to the road from our building locations no matter how you slice it.
Oh, and cutting trees and logs so close to the gravel – I only had to stop and resharpen my saw twice when I made sparks fly!