Fiddle Ridge

Where people and music are in harmony with nature.

 

The Meadow Project

Pines stood proud, straight and tall, towering up above us all.

Home to squirrels, birds and such, with branches way too high to touch.

Blocking sunlight, taking space when we'd prefer a meadowy place.

The pines came down with a mighty sound, opening the way for grassy ground.

Our home has a beautiful south lawn and perennial gardens that we absolutely love, and don't want to change. The north side of the house borders the forest, and both the east and west sides have transition space from lawn to forest. The acreage is all wooded, with mixed hard and soft wood~ no open fields or farmland. What we envisioned was an open area for home-use gardening and probably adding a garage/barn at some point. Where to put these additions sparked some thoughtful conversation over the first few weeks of living at Fiddle Ridge. One large pine was hovering over the house and the potential garden space, so we decided that tree would have to go first. Once that decision was made, the tougher choices started to present themselves. What would we do with the wood? What about the other tall pines near the house? Wouldn't it be nice if someone wanted the pine to saw into boards? We ended up contracting with a really nice young local man who would come and cut down the pines and haul them to a lumberyard to be sawn into boards. And any remaining trees that were unsuitable for lumber would be taken for pulp. We wouldn't have to pay for the tree service, nor would we receive any money from the lumber or pulp... it seemed like a really good deal on both sides. And really, the bottom line was that the trees, that were going to be cut anyway, would complete their life cycle by fulfilling one last purpose.

Somewhere between 30 and 40 trees came down over the course of a few days. The land around the house looks good, though full of brush and limbs. Once the debris is cleared and the stumps removed, the remaining smaller trees can be thinned and pruned, and encouraged to grow into healthy, mature trees around the sides and back of the house. The open spaces will make way for a nice garden spot, an improved and expanded compost area, lightly brushed bird habitat, a shed and workshop with firewood storage, and a meadow. At some point we will put up a barn or a garage. Most of the trees were moderately sized, but a couple were really large. The biggest tree was the one we first decided to cut down. It was sawn carefully so we could make it into a tabletop to use as a serving area for entertaining throughout the year... a constant reminder of our first big project here at Fiddle Ridge.

The house looks quite a lot different with the open spaces. When we first moved in, it felt like we were at a lodge. Now it feels more like a homestead... we're liking the change!

The meadow space is shaping up! The stumps will get ground out, the brush pile will get burned sometime. Weather conditions this spring are dry, dry, dry. It is likely that the brush pile will remain for a while... it's not in the way though, we can work around it. The new workshop/shed will get built in the area in back of the stump table. We haven't quite decided where we want to put in our vegetable garden, we've talked about either side of the house. For this year, we will put in raised beds in the meadow on the west side of the house. There should be plenty of sunshine, and it will be nice to be near the apple tree while tending the garden. The apple tree needs some pruning and loving, I think it will appreciate the attention of human hands and voices!

You never know what you'll find when you're digging around in Maine. These acres at Fiddle Ridge were quite likely part of a farm many, many years ago evidenced by the stone walls on our property, and by the farms that still exist in this area. While clearing brush and raking through debris, we found some very old bricks (not in good repair) and some old Mason jars (also not in good repair). These remind us of people and lives long ago, and presented an interesting and welcome diversion from our labors!

Check back for more photos and progress of our meadow project!