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13 Feb 2015
Since my mother's death, my 92-year-old father Erwin Thompson has taken on clearing brush on our 100-acre place, Evergreen Heights, in a major way. This project is furthermore to completing several new novels, calling square-dances, and hosting a weekly musical open house.
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Because i grew up in the era in the Jane Fonda workout, a breakthrough for mature women, I have been teasing my father that his brush-clearing project is his workout program. Unfortunately, his workout probably doesn't have the same commercial potential as Jane's because not really that many folks have a 100-acre parcel to workout on.

Still, the principles behind what he's doing and why he's performing it, and the enormous benefits we have seen in his health over the last year hold promise. His heart, lungs, voice, outlook, and sleep have got all improved since he's been dedicating himself towards the Brush-Clearing Workout Program.

Janet: Pop, how long have you been clearing brush?

Erwin: Ever since i was big enough to carry an axe I reckon that.

Janet: What was it that called for your requirements to begin clearing brush inside the wide-scale way you have been over the last year or so? brush clearing

Erwin: I got fed up with it reaching out to swipe us off of the tractor as we mowed the sector.

Janet: You also a memory of what the area looked like when you were a boy, and a vision of what you hoped it would look like again should you applied yourself with concerted effort.

Erwin: Yes. It'll never look like it did when I was a boy.

My Grandfather Riehl had three steady hired men. The tillable soil was all tilled. The rougher ground was planted in chestnut trees which are grafted varieties that my grandfather had produced; first by cross pollination and then by grafting the wood of the promising seedlings onto other unproved seedlings. These he had planted on the hills that were too steep and rough to farm. To hold the weeds down he pastured sheep about this area.

Janet: Inform us why the brush is there is the first place. Because you are the professor of brush-ology, provide us with the basics.

Erwin:There are two types of land classification, and then of course all of the shades in between. The residents of the good, flat, all-tillable lands in central Illinois are living in The Prairie The other end from the scale is The Forest.

The folks on The Prairie do not have a good deal of brush problem. They farm even the fence rows and in many cases there are no fences.There isn't any ready source of seeds for that brush growth, because the farmers are almost within a world by themselves.

Ideally, what you would like in The Forest is okay, big trees. These big trees discourage the increase of brush by their tall shaded environment with a thick mat of pine needles accrued from the passing years. This discourages the increase of brush.

Between these base points, there is what is called The Edge. This is how we are. The seeds with the brush are carried with the birds, the wind, the rains which wash the seeds on around the hills and down the banks of the streams.

The railroads accustomed to clean out their box cars and throw the leavings along the right of solution here in the country where they figured nobody would even notice. We did. That is how wild oats got into our part of the country. It becomes an ornery weed that is totally worthless and intensely persistent in re-seeding itself.

The matter that is really bad regarding the brush along the side of the fields is the trees reach out to the light of the field, and grow in that direction. They are often so low that they hit the operator when mowing area of unless they just layout another ten feet, and also this of course takes that much away from the open ground and increases the underbrush.

Janet: How do you cut brush?

Erwin: In older times there were just one way, knowning that was a good sharp axe. Today, to at least partially offset a number of the disadvantages that we have inherited with what some people call "progress," we've the chain saw. I additionally use the pruning shears that my aunt and uncle employed in their grafting work. Between these two great tools I'm able to handle anything that has appeared facing me so far.

The major trouble comes once the vines wrap around the bigger trees. Sometimes the tops become so inter-twined that the tree will not fall even after it is cut.

Two possible solutions together with just leaving it hang and hope that it's going to fall some day. Sometimes around the smaller ones I produce a cut about four feet over the ground level, and this will drop the tree trunk four feet nearer the soil. Sometimes it works.The safer method is to hook the tractor on top of the mess and keep pulling until referring apart.

So we have the brush on the ground. I own a big flat bed trailer in my tractor. We load the toothbrush on the trailer and go to a burning pile. It requires work. I have a neighbor who's built like Paul Bunyan's ox. I phone him my "pet elephant." I have another neighbor who lives at the burning pile. He keeps it burned.

That is how I do it. I suggest brush clearing for health insurance and mental health. There exists a firm satisfaction in seeing the erstwhile messy fringe of the field become once again looking like a field.


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