It's the third day into the clearing and I am hazy after lunch.
In logging the basic cut is, well, basic. You make a “face cut” which is a notch in the tree, and then cut from the backside. If the notch is located in the direction of the tree’s natural lean, the tree will fall that direction.
There is a section of wood in the middle called the hinge wood. Usually you leave between 2-5 inches of this wood that breaks as the tree falls. If you want to have the tree fall a bit too either side, you leave more hinge wood in that direction.
I was thinking about how I needed to call my girlfriend when the tree came towards me. I had cut the hinge wood on the far side.
Just last night my friend’s boy fell off the bed. He held onto the sheets like his father taught him and slid slowly to the floor. My friend said his boy watched him the whole time. His son smiled, as though proud of himself, before crawling towards his mom.
My friend says he’s still ¾ of an inch shorter now than before the accident. It was 1½ inches when he left the hospital. He says his back still hurts when he sits for too long.
He came out of the experience with the kind of debt you don’t ask about. But overall, it’s a miracle he has legs.
My friend grew up on a homestead raising animals and growing his own food. On either side of his home were two farms. That’s the life he would live if he could. But he works a job he doesn’t like because it pays better than anything he could do with his hands. He has a kid he wants to raise well. He doesn’t need to make a lot of money, but he needs to not be crippled when things go wrong. Farming for him is not a responsible job decision.
It’s halfway a miracle I am here too. I’ve fallen off of roofs, almost been hit by trees, and built a cabin alone in the woods where if I fell off a ladder no one would find me for days. I’ve gone through the process, am still under 30, and in many ways have the perfect set up to farm. And still I haven’t figured out a way to make a living off of growing food, one that could actually pay me enough to pay back the loan I got from my parents to buy the raw acreage.
I started Forage with three friends because of this question. I couldn’t figure out how to make money at farming even in the best of circumstances. And then what happens if something goes wrong? With the life I’ve chosen, something likely will. And then what? If the average farmer in America lost $1,682 dollars last year, what happens when you cut your leg with a chainsaw?
But there are farmers who make it work. How do they do it, what makes them successful, and what questions are they asking? This is what I want to explore, and explore with you.