In the fall, we had some trees cut down for fire mitigation. Now, we have over thirty beautiful trees lying on the ground waiting for spring. What do we do now?
There are several options if we just want someone else to deal with them. We could sell the logs to a sawmill, so they can make lumber out of them.
The problem with this is that there are very few mills that can use such giant trees. They are Douglas Fir, about two feet across at the butt end. Most sawmills in our area have gone to much small trees, and their machinery can't deal with anything bigger than about one foot across.
Selling them to a private mill or someone who is doing timber framing or building log cabins is an attractive option. They appreciate these larger beauties, and can showcase them in their unique designs.
Drawback; they don't want to pay full price for them, or haul them. So that's one more step along the way that you have to deal with.
Milling them yourself with an Alaskan mill or small portable mill is (to me) the least attractive option.
It's noisy, and you will need some kind of machine to move the logs and place them on the sawmill deck. This is all after you've spent hours limbing the trees, and cutting them to length.
If logging is not something you want to do full time, rent some kind of machine, don't buy one. Look for one that you will be able to operate, and that's safe on your terrain.
Other ways to utilize the trees without adding more fire danger are as firewood, and the branches can be chipped for mulch. Keep in mind that piled up chips can get hot, making them a fire hazard in their own right.
Use them in your hugelkultur beds - buried, they're not going to be as much of a fire hazard.
Firewood needs to mature before it's ready to burn. All wood needs to be seasoned - don't take up valuable room in your woodshed; stack it and cover it, where it will get lots of air flow.
There are lots of ideas for making free standing woodsheds, right out of the firewood itself.
Notice that the one below is stacked on top of stones to give it more air flow, and to keep it off the ground - wood in contact with the soil will rot, or insects will move in. Pallets make great foundations for wood sheds and stacks.
If you're lucky enough to have some trees on your homestead property, think of ways to get more value out of them; sure, they're adding more positive value to your homestead just by producing oxygen for us to breathe, but if you have to take some down, make them do double duty and work for you.