The farm where I grew up, that I have talked about so much over the past months, sits at the base of a large hill. Up one side of this hill a 4 lane highway runs north and south. The hill was actually somewhat re-engineered when the highway was upgraded from two to four lanes. Running east and west over the hill, is a fairly heavily used and fairly wide gravel road. A rail track runs around the west side of the hill, following the north/south highway. A thick but shallow ravine runs down this western side of the hill, and during spring thaw much water runs down this ravine and out over the farmland (belonging to a neighboring farmer of the large-scale industrial sort) which is immediately at the base of the hill, and then down over our last field, before emptying across our pasture into the lake.
I have always remembered a stand of trees that stood to the northwest, starting just beyond the gravel road on our side of the hill. As a matter of fact, I think I have a picture of it.
Well yesterday, when I looked off in that direction...I thought the view seemed odd. But then, all the snow on the ground seemed a bit odd too, as did the sub freezing temperature. I think my mind just registered the odd view as heavy cloud cover but when dad later asked me if I noticed the bush was gone, well I suddenly realized why it seemed odd.
Yep, that old stand of trees is gone, and its only been 2 days since I was out there...
I guess someone is putting an acreage there and the stand was in the way. I wonder if they have any idea how significantly that changes the northern view from our place. That hillside was so stark against the steel gray sky.
That might seem like something of a selfish comment but the year 2009 has been one of quite a lot of tree stand removal in the immediate area. Back in the early spring I wrote of the destruction of a stand on land that was in my family until just a few months before that, in order to expand the local landfill. A few other stands were removed or cut back significantly in order to make room for the Alaska highway Grande Prairie ByPass expansion this summer. This mess is 4 miles from us and is also removing my quiet backroad route out to the farm. Another big stand was cut way back earlier this spring, nearer to town. I'm not sure of the purpose for this one. And these are just the ones I know of because they are immediate to my view.
It still amazes me how quickly we can rip through a stand of trees nowadays, indeed how quickly we can reconfigure the terrain of an area. There is usually an aspect of order to what results but there is no longer room for diversity or healthy balance. And how many trees are being replanted to make up for those destroyed? What is the true cost of these projects?
To be fair, we did some "reconfiguring" at the farm this summer too. A new well was dug and trenching laid in, so that Mom and Dad could finally have running water to their house. Yes, the house I grew up in was unplumbed and the house they live in now had only outgoing plumbing until now (although we are still waiting for a pump so that the installation can be finished. We also re-channeled the spring run off creek that runs through our yard, in order to alleviate spring flooding. It would have been nice to put in a pond attached to this creek, especially since that part of the yard is shaping up to be "Fowl Land", but money doesn't grow on trees and I just didn't feel like digging it out by hand and by myself. The time was better spent on other tasks anyway.
I am worried that we might need to do one more round of this before winter sets in, as the water line trench needs leveling, and a load or two of gravel should go down. I doubt the tractor bucket could handle the trench leveling over the driveway, as it has been so well packed by now. I'm a little bit pissed off that the trencher left it this way, a big fucking lump across the driveway. I am not sure what he thought we wanted to do with it. We should have said something, I know, but still...
Wow, how did this end up ranting about contractor stuff? But then, did I mention we're still waiting for a well pump, over a month later, and after having received a bill for said pump?
Peace and comfort to all, though, even contractors. I am one after all, after a manner.
4 weeks ago