Just what HAVE I done this year?

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richlife

New User
Rich
I said recently that I'm trying to work NCWW back into my life and that I have a new (to me) table saw, but you may still ask what have I been doing all this year. My wife has an potentially deadly allergy to meat (alpha-gal -- see: www.alpha-gal.org ). To help try to overcome this problem we have had to change our tick-riddled woodland environment. For 20 years, we lived in the woods (LARGE trees within 10 feet of the house, more than 20 trees in the immediately surrounding yard, no lawn whatever) -- that had to change. But this is a pic from 2 years ago that shows the encroaching woods.
House before Grass.JPG

In Jan. we had the immediate trees around the house removed except one redbud. Twelve of these were greater than a foot in diameter and over 70 feet tall. Then we had our primary yard sodded with zoysia. It ended up looking like this. The difference may be difficult to see, but ALL remaining trees are at least 50 feet from the house -- and notice the lawn.
House after Grass.jpg

This is another shot which shows the steeply sloped lawn and the remaining redbud. Since returning from a two-month, prime-tick-season trip at the end of June, I also put in the fencing you see surrounding the lawn including the aluminum fence around the front side (small section to the left in this pic). This is to keep our dogs out of the woods and away from the ticks.
Yard.jpg

It looks nice, but I gotta say I loved my woodland environment much more and the cost of all this would knock you over. (Re-read the second two sentences of this post if you wonder: Why do it?) Besides that I did get some extra bennies. :D

Two of those trees were more 30 inches in diameter measured at shoulder height. I brought a band-sawmill in (thanks Roy Lynch, LynchCo) and in one long day we cut and stickered this stack of wood (8 ft. high, 8 ft. long).
Board Stack.jpg

The wood is mostly all quarter-sawn red oak (absolutely stunning!) and the huge red maple that used to lean heavily over my shop (ambrosia maple with beautiful figure and colors). Three separate experts looked at that maple and agreed that it was probably hollow and diseased, but, while the top showed dying branches, the tree turned out to be perfect -- no rot or hollow at all. Didn't matter, it was coming down as it was two feet from the shop and leaned completely over it. There would have been nothing left if it fell.

I also got some white oak and black walnut planks from this milling that are stacked closer to my shop.

There was lots of "scrap" not suitable for milling and some hickory. But a local firewood guy removed it for me to get the wood. Yes, I might have been able to sell it, but it wasn't worth the bother to me with everything else going on and the deal a free load of firewood cut for my small stove.

Even after all this work, I still have a lot to do. This pic shows the big red oak that I had the timber guys cut off at about 6 feet. Within a few weeks, I had stripped it's bark (except that small crown) so that it would dry evenly and without rot or insects.
Stump.jpg

I plan to carve this into a wood elf figure. Just to left you can see the tall, grey cedar trunk that I had allowed to grow up through my deck. This is the 6-7 inch trunk that I plan to carve into several parts including a central totem. After things slow down just a bit.

So it's been a full year -- and it's certainly not over yet! I still have to wire my new saw for 220V. :gar-La;

Rich
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Rich, our solution to the tick problem was to get some chickens. They are doing a good job, since ticks are not biting us nearly as much as they used to.

Roy G
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Yeah, we are also raising guinea fowl, Roy, Our difficulty is that, in order for my wife to have any hope to get over this allergy, she must avoid EVER getting bitten again as any bite essentially renews the allergy. No renewal and maybe, after years, the allergy may diminish.

Rich
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
Even after all that, I think I would be buying OFF by the case! Amazing what a tick bite can do.
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Believe me, there are always 5 or 6 cans around and we NEVER run low.

Of course, the unexpected always happens. I'm in the woods all the time and get far too many bites but have avoided any issues. My wife almost never leaves the driveway, but at some time in the past she has still picked up a bite now and then and SHE gets the problems. Some years ago, it was actually Lyme disease which we identified and treated early. But this allergy has probably been affecting her for years (maybe as many as 30?), but it's so difficult to identify (or was until about 4 years ago) that she only knew she was sick a lot. Including every time we threw a barbeque! But you don't get sick for hours after eating.

Rich
 

SubGuy

Administrator
Zach
Knowing good and well the dangers of Lyme (Lyme, CT; the disease namesake, only being 30 mins from my house) we too have guinea fowl. I have three now and probably won't get more at the moment. They are tick devastators, my friend has 2 and some chickens and haven't seen a tick since he got em. I will be free ranging mine starting about two weeks as you cannot just release them to their own devices as they will just leave most times. Have your released yours yet? If not I recommend some reading over at backyardchickens.com.
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Hey, Zach. Guineas could be an extra long topic in themselves, but yes, I did browse through backyardchickens and got some great info. Also spent some time at Guinea Fowl Forum -- my goto for last year.

We have now tried twice to raise guineas -- both times starting with 10. But it turns out that my 15 lb. Affenpinscher, Dante (3rd pic above, lower center) is just TOO much hunter -- an outright killer. Last year after he killed 4, I gave the rest to friends. This year after we decided to put in the inner fence, we figured we'd try again. We lost two to the bad cold snap in Aug (right after the borrowed brood hen went home). And then there were the "escapes" when Dante got free (the fence was still in progress). That cost us 4 more -- he is unreal fast and they, of course, are unreal stupid! Safe up in a tree and then fly down and land right in front of him!

Anyway, not to make this a guinea fowl thread, but the dog fence is complete and no deadly incidents since then. We have an outer deer fence that the guineas can fly over, but they clearly now know where home is. The last incident (a gate left open <sigh>), three guineas went over the deer fence, but came home within the hour. Stuck outside, of course! Come to a fence and they only know one direction -- not up, not left, not right, but straight ahead -- stuck!

So they are freed during the day, but so far at 13 weeks mostly stay real close -- that may be partly terror(!). But they are starting to venture out a little way. I'd like to get a few more like back up to 10, but at this point I'm sort of clinging to sanity only by the part that is just plain batty!

Rich
 

SubGuy

Administrator
Zach
So I take it yours are loud...Mine are not but I only have three. The more there are, the louder they are. It's like a contest on who can be loudest.

Hey, Zach. Guineas could be an extra long topic in themselves, but yes, I did browse through backyardchickens and got some great info. Also spent some time at Guinea Fowl Forum -- my goto for last year.

We have now tried twice to raise guineas -- both times starting with 10. But it turns out that my 15 lb. Affenpinscher, Dante (3rd pic above, lower center) is just TOO much hunter -- an outright killer. Last year after he killed 4, I gave the rest to friends. This year after we decided to put in the inner fence, we figured we'd try again. We lost two to the bad cold snap in Aug (right after the borrowed brood hen went home). And then there were the "escapes" when Dante got free (the fence was still in progress). That cost us 4 more -- he is unreal fast and they, of course, are unreal stupid! Safe up in a tree and then fly down and land right in front of him!

Anyway, not to make this a guinea fowl thread, but the dog fence is complete and no deadly incidents since then. We have an outer deer fence that the guineas can fly over, but they clearly now know where home is. The last incident (a gate left open <sigh>), three guineas went over the deer fence, but came home within the hour. Stuck outside, of course! Come to a fence and they only know one direction -- not up, not left, not right, but straight ahead -- stuck!

So they are freed during the day, but so far at 13 weeks mostly stay real close -- that may be partly terror(!). But they are starting to venture out a little way. I'd like to get a few more like back up to 10, but at this point I'm sort of clinging to sanity only by the part that is just plain batty!

Rich
 

richlife

New User
Rich
No, ours are probably the same. It's just that when your dog chases most of your flock over the fence, you kind of look out in case they come home. Actually, in both cases, Dante (the loudmouth) announced them. Then I had to go out and herd them to a gate.

Rich
 

redknife

Chris
Corporate Member
Wow, what a year. It is never good to have an "interesting" medical problem.
You gonna use a chainsaw with short blade to carve your stump?
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
I had no idea one could become allergic to meat, though it does not surprise me. Most people think I'm kidding when I tell them I'm allergic to cold (cold urticaria), though I'm quite serious and it can be quite dangerous if triggered.

I really love your place, both the before and after photos, it really does look like a small slice of heaven for a woodworker or naturalist, though with all my other health issues the ticks would concern me a great deal.

I have not had a chance to check out your wife's website, but I really hope that she is doing well and adapting ok to her health problems...I've been battling my own for the past 26 years.
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Ethan, Thanks for the comments. When we were building, I used to ask for just one day to live here. Now we've been here more than 20 years and can never be thankful enough -- and I remember that every single day!

I understand the cold allergy. It's not the same but probably much the same result as cold triggering my asthma. Fortunately mine is pretty well managed now, but as recently as last year I ended up in the ER because I had become to casual about it. I seriously feel for you. And obviously for my wife...

Chris, yeah that "interesting" word can take on whole new connotations. As for the carving, I have a rotary grinder with several carving blades that all are somewhat like a rotary chain. I really don't like any of them much, so I'll probably just do the rough work and fall back on my gouges. I'm not in a great hurry and gouges suit the peace out here just fine. And they've been used for more than a few centuries...

Rich
 

nn4jw

New User
Jim
Rich,
When we visited my sister in Warranton, Va. last month she was dealing with the same problem as your wife. She lives in the boonies and has horses. And so many ticks that she gets bitten all the time. Hopefully it will eventually wear off or they'll find a good way to deal with it for its victims. It's definitely not a joking matter.
 

Ray Morgan

Ray
Senior User
Years ago I bought a farm in WNC, never seen a tick population like the one there. A friend suggested spreading lime over the yard and pasture around the house. What a difference with in a couple of days. I still don't know why lime worked and I didn't use alot but may be worth it around the yard and it will help most lawns as well.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
Rich sorry to hear about the wife. I know of several folks who have developed that condition, to different degrees. It comes from the bite of a lone star tick. Maybe we all should raise fowl.
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Ray, thanks for the suggestion. If it helps, it's cheap and it's good for the lawn, why not? All potential positives.

Scott, Yes, the Lone Star Tick is a known culprit, but in other continents it's a different tick, so the Lone Star may not be the only vector. As for raising fowl, it's not too difficult or costly and definitely has benefits (tick control and eggs), but they can be noisy if you have close neighbors. Upkeep isn't too bad, but there is a lot to think about. Anyone interested, I'd suggest checking out backyardchickens.com and/or guineafowl.international/forum/ .

Rich
 
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