Clearing Cedars

One of the neat things about Cedar trees is their uncanny ability to reproduce like jack rabbits. There will be one big old cedar tree and 40 little ones gathered around it; where the pollen fell last year. I went through the whole 2 acres with the blue tool pictured above and cut down the baby cedars when they were only inches tall. There were hundreds of them. Just combing the woods and the grass for them was time consuming, painstaking work. Cashew followed me wherever i went. She was always underfoot; in my way. So i said to her, “Make yourself useful. You see this? Find me one of these.” I picked up a baby cedar i had cut and brought it to her face. She sniffed it. She took it from me and laid it on the ground. I thought she would sit down and chew her new stick, but she didn’t. Instead she disappeared into the woods. I went back to looking for baby cedars. Suddenly i heard barking. It was Cashew’s bark. I made my way through the trees in the direction of all the noise. I expected to see a poor armadillo or a possum but that wasn’t what she had. She’d found me a cedar tree. As i looked, there, in the dirt, was a baby cedar tree. I stared at her in awe. Somehow, i’d just trained my dog to find cedar saplings. I thought, “maybe it was a one-off.” So i held it up to her face and praised her, scratching her behind the ears and saying in a baby-talk voice, “Good dog. Good dog!” Then i held the little bitty tree up and said “Go get it.” She ran off. Within seconds i heard barking. I ran to where she was. To my amazement, she was standing right over a baby cedar tree wagging her stump of a tail. I couldn’t believe it. The dog had learned a new skill, one that i hadn’t thought it possible to teach her. Amazing. All afternoon she sniffed out the cedars and i cut them down. Then i went around with my wheel barrow and collected all the baby cedar trees for the brush pile. Not all of the tree clearing work we had to do involved the baby cedars. Some of the cedar trees had dead or broken branches. I trimmed those off with Cashew in tow and when it came time to drag the giant branches to the brush pile Cashew would clamp her jaw down on the end of the branch that i was not holding and try to run while lifting it just about an inch off the ground. She was helping, or trying to steal the branch. One of the two. She helped me drag the branches to the brush pile and then sat back and watched as i tossed each branch on top. There was only one thing left to do. I needed to cut down a juvenile cedar tree that was blocking sunlight in my fruit tree area. I needed to prepare the space for future fruit trees. So, i bought a handheld saw. I went over to the tree and began trimming the branches off one by one with my blue tool. When i had most of them removed from one side of the tree, i put my saw against the trunk of the tree and made a nick. I set the saw blade in the slight indentation and began pulling the blade back and forth in a rhythmic motion. At once the saw began traveling through the wood like butter. When the saw reached the other side the cedar fell and i had a juvenile cedar tree on the ground. I felt so able to manipulate the lanscape of the yard. I knew then that i could solve any light or resource problem that arose on my property. If i needed more light or water for a different tree, i could just cut the juvenile cedar trees down. If i needed wood for a fire, well there were 100 juvenile cedars that looked just like this one that sprang up each year. I could just clear a few. The sun was hanging low in the sky so i called it quits for the day. However the following morning, i threw the juvenile cedar tree in the brush pile and i went to the tool shed to get my axe. I chopped the remaining stump into little pieces and pried them from the ground with the blade of my shovel. With the cedars copulating on a regular basis it seemed i would have an infinite amount of wood for the fire pit during winter. I quickly decided the handheld saw was my favorite tool in the shed. There’s nothing like a tool that can be used to realize your vision for a landscape.

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