The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Skidding cedar logs (future porch posts)

Because it was another nice day here in South-Central Kentucky, I skidded the cedar logs I cut earlier in the week out of the woods. My dad helped, which I appreciate a lot. Feb    12th 013We started with three logs which were far up the hill. I actually had cut these trees last winter. They’d blown down in a storm previously. I had limbed them and left them long, 16 to 20 feet.

Even though they were at the top not far from the old county road, it was easier to skid them out from the bottom of the hill. I can drive the tractor in a couple of hundred feet which was at the bottom bellow the trees. They were still over 100 feet up the hill. Feb    12th 015We used a couple of ropes to reach them and pull them down the hill. They pulled out fine, meaning they didn’t get caught up on stuff and needs extra coaxing. For one, we had to use a snatch block to redirect the direction of pull. I have a couple blocks that are part of the two block and tackle sets I bought prior to the frame raising.

After lunch, we skidded out the five cedar logs I had bucked into 9 foot lengths earlier in the week. These didn’t lay too far from the bottom of the hill, and we were able to physically pull them to the bottom where we could get a choke chain around them and pull them out of the woods. This went much more quickly than snaking logs down from the top of the hill.

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We skidded the logs and laid them out where I’ll mill them into 6x6 posts with my Procut Mobile Sawmill later. I had two cedars Feb    12th 021I cut several years ago which we also skidded to the pile. Each of these was long enough to make two posts. So, in the pile, we now have enough cedars for 17 of the 20 posts.

We then went in search of another cedar tree that might yield three more posts and which would be easily accessible. We have many cedars on the property, some of them very nicely sized. We didn’t find one that was tall enough for three posts where we looked on the other side of the ridge, but there are several that would yield two posts.

I cut one down, having picked where I wanted it to fall and where I thought it would naturally go. However, it didn’t go where I thought it would. It was evident while making the back cut that it was beginning to lean the opposite direction. I guess I read it wrong, but it sure didn’t look like it would fall that way. Feb    12th 025It ended up falling about 90 degrees from where I planned for it. This was fine, except for how cedars so easily get hung up in other trees. This one did, leaving it leaning at about a 35 degree angle.

I limbed what I could off of it and then measured and cut the lower nine feet off for a post. This allowed the tree to settle down a bit more. So, I was able to limb the next section and cut it off. I’ll pull the rest of the top out later after skidding the logs. It was getting near chore time, and we still needed to put the tractor and tools away. So, we called it quits. I’ll cut another tree for the 20th post and skid them out of the woods later. (I wasn’t wearing my chainsaw helmet because I hadn’t brought it. I had the chainsaw just in case it was needed when skidding, not expecting to do any real sawing.)

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Anonymous said...

Man, I can smell that cedar from here! Does it smell as good in person? Better, I'll bet...

dp said...

Fresh cedar is quite fragrant. What's amazing is how long it keeps that scent, even after it dries. I don't expect the porch posts to be fragrant for long after they're installed, but they should look good and last.

Garage Door Repair said...

This is really great blog post....

Darla Hemphill said...

I love this idea!
Looks Perfect !!!

Porch columns