Building a Brush Trail across a Swamp

Dividing our property into two or three natural areas of high ground is an ancient riverbed, now a ravine with steep sides (cliffs in places). It makes for some really interesting and nice scenery as we hike our land, but it also proves to be a real challenge when we think about getting my tractor into the back 100 acres to harvest timber for our building projects.

As I described earlier, we planned on waiting for the snow to cross this ravine, when the swamp would be frozen and we could pack down the drifts into a snow road for the tractor to cross the hairier sections. Of course, as it seems, snow is later coming in Canada every year. With this in mind, we took the opportunity of another clear day yesterday to begin creating a path across the ravine to our original trail.

It was with some trepidation that I loaded up my tractor and wagon full of brush and branches and headed to the gulley in back that leads to the ravine. Brush and branches were resources I had quite a bit of around the yurts thanks to my recent obsession with cutting down the trees blocking my sun.

I do admit, I had the tractor in positions that made me somewhat uncomfortable. At one point I was clearly stuck, but I removed the trailer and backed carefully out of the hole I had dug for myself.

Grandpa also brought into service his MTD garden tractor and trailer, and deftly maneuvered it right to the edge of the ravine. It certainly is a nimble little thing! I imagine it has a bit lower centre of gravity than my Yanmar.

By lunch we were halfway across with our brush mat. Grandpa finished up for the day, and I took a short break for lunch. Then, back at it. Unfortunately, after my first load, the wheel literally fell off my cart!

Kenny and Donna of course rushed over for pictures. Kenny was a fabulous help – he took over the operation as soon as we fetched the socket wrenches. Apparently Papa had already taught him the ins and outs of using a socket set, so he was an expert. He expounded on how much he really loved to help Papa do chores. I wish I knew what the secret was! Oh well, I knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth – it was awesome to have him helping me get the wheel back on and back to work.

We were scheduled to head to town for an information session on some future idea we are mulling over, so I finished up after the next load of brush. I was pretty much completely across the ravine by the time I put away the wagon and tractor and got dressed for town.

Next up will likely be throwing down bags of wood chips. My chipper was in the shop being repaired for a dirty carburetor, but I got it back so it’s ready to stand service there again.

Of course, it snowed hard all last night, so the schedule for today will almost certainly need to accommodate something in the department of finding our snowshoes, or shoveling (hmmm, I knew I should have bought a shovel yesterday!), or ploughing the driveway, or putting the snow tires on the car (finally!), or marking the logs that are surely buried under the snow now, or things of that nature. I’ll try to keep you posted!



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