Timber Harvesting | Up in Smoke

Timber Harvesting

I negotiated with my wife to score a couple of hours over at the farm on Saturday to do a little clean up.  As a married guy, in order to get some ‘me’ time, I have to earn some ‘marital capital’  by offering to do extra ‘honey do’s’ around the house.  So, on saturday, I traded in some of my reserve capital for a few hours at the farm.  My new tenants had just moved in, so I wanted to haul off some of the trash, then clean up the fallen limbs.  I even thought of burning the limbs on the burn pile..that is, until I was met at the farm by my frantic logging friend, Nevin.

The Fire is out of control!

Check out the video: Timber harvest

Nevin seems to be one of those laid back kinda guys, he always says “it’ll be alright”, well those were his famous last words.  I understood his frenzied mood when I noticed the smoke billowing from my neighbors field.  Nevin asked if I had any sort of sprayer, I told him I had a backpack weed sprayer, which he was welcome to use, but maybe we ought to call the fire department?  He said, “with the weed sprayer and a shovel he could handle it”, I thought otherwise, but off he went.

I gave Nevin 3-5 minutes with the sprayer, then came to the resolution it was completely useless.  He woulda been better off selling shoes to a snake!  After a couple time-wasting minutes, I decided it was time to call the fire department, much to the dismay of Nevin.  I later found out why he didn’t want me to call the fire department.  Since my property is in the country, he figured they would personally charge him for the response, since he was burning the brush.  This cost could be upwards of $3000.  Actually though, because it was my property, they likely would have charged me, not Nevin.  But, because of my genius foresight —patting myself on the back—I shouldn’t have to pay anything.  The fire department offers an annual ‘insurance policy’ for $50 which covers their responding expenses at locations outside the city limits.  I made the investment in September 2013, Whew!

Other than this brush fire excitement, the timber harvesting process has been rather uneventful.  Nevin has been harvesting the oaks, cedars, and poplars, and has been able to stick to our financial agreement.  He has experienced higher fuel prices for his machinery, has had some mechanical issues with his equipment, which has stalled things a bit.  All in all though, it has been a positive experience.

Our agreement was:  Nevin covers all the costs of harvesting, he gets 55% of the profit, I get the remaining 45%.

To date: I have made $4834 Nevin has made $5907.  He is about 80% completed, but the high value-oak trees, have all been harvested, so the great portion of the revenue has already been accounted for.  It looks like I should get about $1200 more before it is all said and done.

Would I harvest timber again?   The short answer is Yes, I think it can be lucrative, provided you find the right logger.  One who is properly insured and can provide a certificate of insurance showing they have liability coverage and workers compensation.   Through this process, I’ve learned a great deal about trees; things like how minerals affect the harvesting process, the fact that by getting rid of the mature trees, allows the young ‘seedlings’  to have a chance to grow, and like any big project it takes longer than the logger tells you it will.  I believe I made the right decision to harvest the trees, even after the calamity of this brush fire.