Phase I property clearing.

Phase I property clearing.

The tree clearing process officially kicked off in March 2020.

Gavin, Heather, and Cousin Andrew (Gavin's cousin) drove out to Vancouver Island to get the property clearing started.

The first night they crashed at Harry and Janyce's house in Nanaimo, and the following morning drove up to the West Coast RSB property. They went to refresh their minds on what needed to be done, come up with a plan, and give Drew (Cousin Andrew) an idea of what he had volunteered to help with. After they had sorted all that out, they made a pit stop at Fanny Bay Inn before heading back to Nanaimo. Making sure to fill Drew up with Fanny Bay oysters so he had lots of energy to help Gavin move logs around the property.

Fanny Bay Oysters - classified as "extra small oysters"
Note: Heather came on this trip mainly just to drive the guys in her super fuel efficient TDI Golf and to occasionally answer some questions they might have about what trees to clear, etc. She left them to do all the hard work while she worked from her parents' house and visited family (her Grandma and Maria - pretty much a sister).

The next day was Drew's birthday, so before the guys got busy working on the property they took the day off and went golfing - they hadn't even cut any trees down and were already taking a day off?? Drew has never golfed on his birthday so it seemed like a reasonable and acceptable excuse to not work. For his birthday dinner Harry, Heather, and Maria met them at The Crow and Gate - a popular restaurant close to Harry and Janyce's house.

The main focus for the first day of clearing was to deal with some alders along the driveway. There were a number of them that had fallen over / we very bent - likely from the snowstorm that happened earlier in the winter. They worked through the day cutting and piling the trees. Gavin estimated they cut down about 25 alder. We will be using the alder for firewood. Both houses, and likely the garage, will have wood stoves in them for heating.

The product of the first day's work

The remainder of the week they mainly spent time clearing the area around where the garage/shop will be located. A number of cedar, hemlock, and fir trees were cut down to clear this area. A few still remain that were too big, tall, or moss covered for Gavin's comfort level. They also worked a little on the area around both houses, clearing small or dead trees that were easy to handle. They didn't want to get too ahead of themselves around Sara and Michaël's house as it's location isn't finalized yet. Gavin and Heather's house location is set, but the area is full of huge stumps, trees tightly packed together, and some very tall fir trees. On top of having a big pile of future firewood and another pile of wood to be milled (under the tarp in the picture below), they also had accumulated a huge pile of brush. They piled it along the driveway and it pretty much makes a 30 ft long wall taller than all of us.

Prior to starting the Phase I work, Heather and Gavin had chatted about how a priority for 2020 would be to remove the large stumps from the area for their house. This would require clearing a number of large firs in order to get access to the stumps. They preferably wanted to use someone local for the work to help support businesses in their future community.

One of the last days on the property, Gavin called Robert (our helpful and handy neighbour). The guys had noticed one of his trucks said "Sawyer's Tree Service" on the side of it. So they figured he might be the man for the job - Phase II property clearing.

That day Robert came over and the three of them chatted for awhile. They discussed what needed to be done for Phase II, Robert's work experience, and the equipment that might be required to move the stumps. Robert also suggested we get a fire permit to get rid of the huge pile of brush, showed Gavin the location he'd burn it, and reminded them that the brush pile would only get bigger as he cleared more trees. Gavin let Robert know that he'd be in touch once he discussed everything with Sara, Michaël, and Heather.

Gavin's approximation of the area they cleared
Drew watching Gavin cut down a tree - thumbs up