Since my mother's death, my 92-year-old father Erwin Thompson has brought on clearing brush on the 100-acre place, Evergreen Heights, big. This project is usually to completing several new novels, calling square-dances, and hosting an every week musical open house.
Ever since i grew up in the era of the Jane Fonda workout, a breakthrough for mature women, I have been teasing my father that his brush-clearing project is his workout program. Unfortunately, his workout probably doesn't always have the same commercial potential as Jane's because not really that many folks have a 100-acre parcel to workout on.
Still, the principles behind what he's doing and why he's performing it, and the enormous benefits we've seen in his health within the last year hold promise. His heart, lungs, voice, outlook, and sleep have got all improved since he's been dedicating himself on the Brush-Clearing Workout Program.
Janet: Pop, the length of time have you been clearing brush?
Erwin: Ever since i was big enough to keep an axe I reckon that.
Janet: What was it that called for your requirements to begin clearing brush in the wide-scale way you have been in the last year or so?
Erwin: I got sick and tired of it reaching out to swipe us over tractor as we mowed area of.
Janet: You also a memory of what the best place looked like when you were a boy, plus a vision of what you hoped it might look like again should you applied yourself with concerted effort.
Erwin: Yes. It will never look like it did once i was a boy.
My Grandfather Riehl had three steady hired men. The tillable soil was all tilled. The rougher ground was planted in chestnut trees that had been grafted varieties that my grandfather had produced; first by cross pollination then by grafting the wood from the promising seedlings onto other unproved seedlings. These he had planted on the hills which are too steep and rough to farm. To keep the weeds down he pastured sheep about this area.
Janet: Inform us why the brush is there is the first place. As you are the professor of brush-ology, give to us the basics.
Erwin:There are two kinds of land classification, and after that of course all of the shades between. The residents with the good, flat, all-tillable lands in central Illinois are living in The Prairie The other end of the scale is The Forest.
The folks on The Prairie do not have a great deal of brush problem. They farm up to the fence rows and perhaps there are no fences.There's no ready source of seeds for your brush growth, since the farmers are almost inside a world by themselves.
Ideally, what you look for in The Forest is okay, big trees. These big trees discourage the development of brush by their tall shaded environment using a thick mat of pine needles accrued in the passing years. This discourages the growth of brush.
Between these base points, there is what is called The Edge. This is when we are. The seeds of the brush are carried from the birds, the wind, the rains which wash the seeds on along the hills and over the banks of the streams.
The railroads utilized to clean out their box cars and tennis ball so the leavings along the right of way to avoid it here in the country where they figured nobody would even notice. We did. That is how wild oats got into our part of the country. It is deemed an ornery weed that is totally worthless and extremely persistent in re-seeding itself.
The matter that is really bad in regards to the brush along the edge of the fields is that the trees reach out for that light of the field, and grow in that direction. They are often so low they hit the operator when mowing the sector unless they just layout another ten feet, and also this of course takes a whole lot of away from the open ground and adds to the underbrush.
Janet: How do you cut brush?
Erwin: In older times there was just one way, knowning that was a good sharp axe. Today, to at the very least partially offset many of the disadvantages that we have inherited with what some people call "progress," we've got the chain saw. Furthermore, i use the pruning shears that my sister and uncle utilized in their grafting work. Between both of these great tools I will handle anything that has appeared facing me so far.
The major trouble comes in the event the vines wrap around the more expensive trees. Sometimes the tops become so inter-twined the tree will not fall despite it is cut.
Two possible solutions along with just leaving it hang and hope that it will fall some day. Sometimes for the smaller ones I come up with a cut about four feet higher than the ground level, and this will drop the tree trunk four feet nearer the soil. Sometimes it works.The safer method is to hook the tractor on top of the mess and keep pulling until referring apart.
So we contain the brush on the ground. I have a big flat bed trailer in my tractor. We load the toothbrush on the trailer and go to a burning pile. It will require work. I have a neighbor who is built like Paul Bunyan's ox. I call him up my "pet elephant." We have another neighbor who lives at the burning pile. He keeps it burned.
That is certainly how I do it. I propose brush clearing for health and mental health. There is a firm satisfaction in seeing the erstwhile messy edge of the field become once again looking like a field.