Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

The Tree Saga Continues…

The tree dilemma seemed never ending for us!  We went from obsessing over individual trees to bulldozing open fields (OK, there probably shouldn’t be a “We” at the beginning of that sentence, but I thought it sounded better…).  I thought I was handling it all very well actually.

You have to remember that while Jim was working on the dozer for hours, I, (yep, little ole me) was on the ground picking up sticks and putting them into the burn piles.  With 3 kids in tow, of course.  We would do that for a few hours, or rather, I would do that for hours and the kids would do that for a few minutes and then sword fight with the sticks, or collect things they found, or just start complaining about the heat or the cold.  Just one big happy family!

Progress is being made!

Anyway, just when we were getting a routine going and making progress, we ran into another tree issue.  Big surprise there, huh?! Some of the trees we wanted to save were hardwoods that we wanted to leave for shade but that left a lot of small loblollies.  These small pines are called loblollies (There’s your science lesson for the day-you’re welcome!)  Most of these loblollies were to small to be cut for logs but they were good size for pulpwood.  Pulpwood is what they call small trees that are at least 2-4 inches in diameter at the small end when cut.  Logs are trees that have at least a 6-10 inch diameter at the small end when cut.  (There’s your logging lesson for the day.  You’re welcome again!)  We didn’t want to cut the small pines for pulpwood because you really don’t make very much money.  It’s much more profitable to wait until they mature into logs in 10-15 years and then harvest them.  (There’s your economics lesson for the day! I am just a fount of knowledge today!! You’re welcome again!)  These are some of the small loblollies that we were trying to save….


The young loblollies we were trying to save.

We had read an article on silvopasturing and really wanted to try to implement that on the farm.  Ok, I am not using big words to impress you here.  Honest!  In fact, I feel kinda silly saying the word silvopasturing but it’s shorter than saying leaving pine trees in the pasture.  So, basically Silvopasturing is just a fancy word that means that you grow pine trees in your pasture.  You have to space them a little farther apart than normal so you can have grass growing under them, but the up side is that you end up with 2 incomes growing at once-the trees and the animals.  The trees provide some shade and shelter for the animals and the animals provide the trees with some weed control and fertilizer.  It seemed like an interesting idea that we wanted to try.


Our form of silvopasturing.

So the plan was to leave as many of the young loblollies as we could and try to implement a version of silvopasturing.  We knew it wasn’t going to be perfect because, well…this is us…and nothing ever goes according to plan for us…enough said.


As you can see, it wasn’t perfect….but it’s us. What did you expect?


The Carter Version of Silvopasturing. Ohh, that sounds fancy smancy!!

The problem was that one or two…or three or four…or possibly more…ended up on the ground.  Broken and on the ground.  So, pretty much useless and worthless and on the ground!  I felt like we were knocking over money, even if it couldn’t be helped.  And all of a sudden-I was back to being the dozer police!  I gave a few unkind looks.  Just a few!  I tried to be understanding.  I mean, I wasn’t the one on the dozer after all.  Jim wouldn’t dare let that happen!  You see, I happen to love equipment and machinery, so if he let me work the dozer he probably wouldn’t be able to get me off the dozer.  Plus, that would mean that he would be watching the kids all day.  I could bat my blue eyes until the cows come home and it was still not happening.  Not a chance!  So, yeah, I’ve never been allowed on the dozer…with the key.

I tried to remind myself that Jim was doing a great job.  In the end, Jim did do a GREAT job.  Loosing some of the trees couldn’t be helped.  And honestly, if we had saved every pine tree I had wanted, we would still have had a forest and not much pasture.  So some of the pastures ended up with our form of silvopasturing and others ended up as wide open spaces with just a sprinkling of trees.


I think this is one of the more open spaces in the pasture.

What do ya think?


What do bulldozed trees leaves behind?

Brush piles! Lots and lots of brush piles.


As it turned out, a lot of the trees we had tried to save were knocked down in a bad storm a few weeks later!  Yeah, all that anguish for nothing!  We went out there one day to find that quite a bit of the trees had shallow roots from growing so closely together. When the other trees were no longer there to block the wind, down they went.  Not what we were wanting, but we learned a lot about trees and their roots and how the grow and even how they get knocked over… That was our science lesson!  Thank you, Mother Nature.

A lot of the trees in this next picture were lost in that storm.  The trees that lined the driveway were special trees too!  Well, they were special to me anyway.  I mean, when was the last time you saw a tree shaped like a question mark and the tree next to it leaning away from it?? (I really wish I had taken a better picture of those trees before they bit the dust.)  Those crazy trees cracked me up everytime I saw them!  And it kinda made me feel normal in a completely non-crazy kinda way.  Right???


One of my Favorite pictures!

Awww, look at that cutie pie that got included in that pasture picture! Isn’t she adorable?  And the sweetest thing ever!!!….Sorry, I got a little distracted by cuteness there.  That happens to me a lot.  ALOT.

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