106 wooded acres and the hedgerows on the farm provide firewood, lumber and food. We enjoy walking the woods trails and getting glimpses or seeing signs of the other creatures that use them. Below you can see how the woods provide food, fuel and lumber. See Nature page for information about woods trails, hunting, etc.
In 2015 we cut trees and sawed out lumber to build a 28 x 48 foot barn. In 2016 Zach worked on an old crawler he acquired and first used it early in 2017 to bring out logs.
Tops left from saw logs and slabs from the sawmill along with thinning to improve stands provides 20 cords of firewood each year for heating our buildings. The barn where we live is heated by a wood-burning boiler system which also provides the hot water for the building. In 2006 we began burning wood year round instead of switching to oil for the summer months. The house is used by visitors from spring through fall and is heated by an efficient wood stove.
The woods provide food as well as fuel. In 2008 we set 10 taps in sugar maples close to the road, producing 14 quarts of syrup. We’ve continued to make syrup each year, increasing the number of taps set to 40 and trying to catch the start of the run as the weather becomes more erratic. For the first few years we boiled over an open fire outdoors using a large steam tray pan to hold the sap. In 2011 we got an evaporator at an auction and in 2012 built a sugar house to shelter it. We use the syrup at the farm and give some away. (Watch the home page for when we set taps and start making syrup.)
Maple syrup is only one of the foods we get from the woods. In the spring we find wild leeks and fiddleheads (just emerging ostrich fern) to add to our stir-fry. During the growing season we watch for oyster and sulfur shelf mushrooms on decaying wood and shaggy mane growing along the edges of the woods road. We cut 4” to 8” diameter bolts of oak and maple and inoculate them with spawn to grow shiitake mushrooms. (see more on Farming page) In 2016 we started selling some of these inoculated bolts.
Throughout the year we saw logs into lumber. Cherry, maple, hickory, ash, oak, and elm most of the time and beech and butternut occasionally are available for sale by appointment Monday through Saturday. Zach has built in storage under stairs, made a cherry dining table, and built an island and cabinets in our kitchen. Garden shed, sugar shack, chicken coops, the sawmill barn and another larger barn have been built using aspen, pine and hemlock lumber, harvested and sawn at the farm.
Since 2007 we’ve been making wooden toys and sent them to Syracuse for refugee families. Sometimes local families who visit the farm make simple wooden toys to take home.