Every tree that was used for the building is specifically marked by our forester Quentin Mack.
We become more and more removed from the source of the products we use and consume. Whether it be the food we eat or the clothes we wear or where our homes come from. In planning the design of an environmentally friendly house we not only want to examine the health effects of living in the house but where all of the components come from. In an effort to stay as natural as possible in building our barn-house, all of the wood products used for the building will come from trees that are grown on our property in a sustainable managed manner.
Different trees will be used for different purposes in the barn-house. Using natural renewable wood from a sustainable forest actually helps preserve the forest- not deplete the resource.
If owners of forests in this country are able to market their wood as building material at a profitable price, then it will encourage the investment of growing that resource for the 50 to 70 years it takes to produce a financially viable high end product. Think about that for a minute- a person that owns a forest in this country is making an investment that may not pay off during their lifetime.
Yes, I am saying that the best way to save the forest is to responsibly and sustainably cut trees so the private landowners of these forest get a reasonable return on their investment. Lets explain this a bit more.
A brief and simplistic definition of sustainablitly may help for the people who do not want to cut any trees (and I used to be one of you until the economics of saving the forest sunk in). If the forests in the Northeastern United States grow at three percent per year, then to sustain or grow that forest you must cut less than the growth. Green Woodlands has a management plan that extends for hundreds of years into the future that only allows the cutting of one percent of the forest property per year. In simple math we are only cutting one third of the continual growth, therfore over a course of 100 years the trees on our property mathamatically will be two hundred percent larger than they are today.
The economic reality is that by cutting one percent of the growth of the trees in our forest on an ongoing basis will help save the other ninety nine pecent of the trees. How does this make sense? Trying to save one hundred percent of the trees may end up costing us the whole forest. Why? Because how is the forest going to contribute or pay for its own upkeep? The other alternative to forests paying their own way to survive is if the public pays to keep them. By cutting sustinably it keeps our forests from getting cut down in their entirety and developed and paved over. People simply cannot afford not to cut some amount of trees. The struggle here is about educating the public and landowners on how to do it properly.
Part of the logging was what we call a “beaver cut”. Now, bare with me while I explain this one. Have you ever heard the expression “He ate himself out of house and home”? Well, that expression can be applied to the natural succession of a beaver pond whereby the beaver takes down all of the hardwood trees around a beaver pond until there is nothing left but softwoods (pine, spruce and fir). Well, since the beaver uses primarily hardwoods, he is left with nothing to eat and nothing to build his house (lodge) and dam with, hence he ate himself out of house and home. The beaver then moves on and the pond eventually empties out and returns back to forest again and sometime in the future when the hardwood trees return the beaver may come back and start all over again.
We have a beaver pond in Wentworth called McCutchen Beaver Pond that is in that state. So, in order to invite the beaver to come back to the pond and take care of the dam we have selectively cut some of the softwood trees near the now empty pond to encourage the hardwood trees to grow. This will give the beaver something to eat and rebuild the dam and his lodge back with. I guess you could say we are accelerating the beaver pond succession a tad.
*** click on the images below to see a larger version in a pop-up window
We chose a number of "character" pieces for the timber frame construction. Sandy and Quentin brought this one in with the Pinzgauer. Many of these trees were bent cherry logs that if havested in a normal logging operation would have been used as chip wood.
A number of the trees we used were from "salvage logging". Pictured above is a tree that was blown down by a micro burst wind storm. As opposed to allow this tree to continue to damage the tree it is landing on we harvested it to use as timber for the barn house.
This picture may appear to be taken from up above but this is actually a couple of trees that have been blown down. The large pine on the right was harvested for the building.