I first met Akiva almost 15 years ago when he was working for Primitive pursuits in Ithaca, NY. I was curious about what Primitive Pursuits was, so I tagged along one snowy winter day when Akiva took my son and a dozen other children into the snow-covered woods. Although it was cold and wet, Akiva cultivated a sense of wonder and play. There were games they played and then everyone got together to make a fire out of wet wood without matches or a lighter. I was impressed both with his energy, the way he projected himself and the way he felt at home in the forest.
Last year I decided to start a tree farm, although in all honesty I really have no idea what I’m doing. This year I planted 500 Hybrid Chestnut trees from seed and next year I plan on planting 5000 trees. This article is about things I have learned, experiments I have done and all the stuff I learned along the way.
People are always putting off the idea of fixing climate change with the idea that some genius somewhere is going to invent some sort of Dr. Suess like machine that is going to magically take all of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses out of the air and make big cubes out of it that we can then bury in the ground somewhere. There are many serious problems with this idea:
- We will never be able to develop this technology in time to make any kind of difference with climate change. The ‘final hour’ is upon us right now.
- Carbon Dioxide represents a mere 0.0391 percent of the air we normally use. In order to get any real amount of CO2 out of the air, our machine has to sort through an incredible amount of air to get to a relatively small percentage of CO2.
- These machines will need to use massive amounts of energy to function. Where is that energy going to come from?
The last month has been taken up by me trying to accomplish the impossible. I’ve been preparing 42 acres of steep hillside that I ravaged with a bulldozer to become a productive chestnut & hazelnut orchard. The first step to doing this is to seed the disturbed soil. My original idea was to have a neighboring farmer come in with a large tractor and a discer and seeder to seed it with medium red clover. As spring progressed and my land got more and wetter, I realized there was no way that was going to happen, any heavy equipment was going to get hopelessly stuck in the clay mud. I still have 6-8 culverts I need to put in, and without them, most of my property is impassible by anything other than an electric bike (and marginally at that).
It all began with 7 days straight of driving a bulldozer 7-8 hours a day.
Cleaning off the frozen clay took me 14 hours with a pressure washer. I don’t advise doing projects like this in the winter unless you’re a masochist.