We lost two huge pine trees in a crazy storm a few years back – the one where our whole community lost power for a week, maybe – I can’t remember. Suffice it to say, they’ve been down for a while, tipped over with their roots poking up into the air. We’d look at them periodically and say something like, we probably ought to take care of those, but as they were in a section of the property we don’t really use yet, their cleanup was relegated to “someday.”
And then at some point, a neighbor asked what we were gonna do with those trees. J told him we didn’t really have any plans, and would you like to have them? It turns out that’s exactly why he was asking.
It took a while for schedules and weather to line up, but late last month, those trees were finally taken care of. J and I walked out one morning after coffee to chat with our neighbor who had shown up with a chainsaw and a backhoe. We had been dreaming about what that grove of trees could become since moving in, and decided that we’d love to have a few more cleared to make the land really usable. I walked around with a can of red Rustoleum (use it up…) and slapped a blaze on another dozen or so trunks, and then our neighbor went to work. A few days later, the center of the grove had been cleared, and a pile of logs was stacked on the side of the road.
You see, our neighbor built his own house, bit by bit, and is now planning a garage. He cleared his land, and milled his own trees for the lumber, but doesn’t yet have enough to build. In exchange for hauling out our fallen pines, and felling the others, he will keep the logs. They will go to the mill to be made into lumber, trucked there by another community member in exchange for the pulp left over from milling. The trucker can sell the pulp, our neighbor gets his lumber, and we have more open space to be put to use. Everyone wins, and no cash has exchanged hands, and I love it. It’s just the kind of country currency I was hoping to find here.