The forest where Tiny House Ontario sits, has had very little human intervention. I had a few trees go missing on the South East ridge in 2010 (a former neighbour cut them down, to burn for fire wood; they were not his to take). This was all the damage done to the land when I considered my Tiny House build.
I would like to live there but I also do not want to harm the forest. I did not want to cut any trees at all, but reasonably, I needed to have a route in. An entry just makes life so much easier, not just for my own purposes of living, but for the cement delivery, lumber delivery and so on, I required a road.
I did not go about this all helter-skelter and without a good deal of forethought. In order to put in my driveway I chose the point of least damage through; I made a lot of effort to keep from taking any trees over 3 inches in diameter, and I also did not want to cut a single shag bark hickory. These hickory trees are rare and protected so it is not only illegal to cut them, it is unethical. I managed to keep every hickory, but there were a few maples that had to go, so I could have an entry point. My friends John and Leo cleared the lane all the way back to the ridge, but got four pick up trucks of firewood from a 600 foot long and 8 foot wide lane way, which is a very small and reasonable loss. They did not clear cut, certainly, but did cut a swath out of the woods. About half the wood they got came from a large dead maple which wanted for reuse, and thus put the driveway right over it’s old trunk. Aside from the large dead one, I believe that there were about 20 trees that were larger than 3 inches were cut, but only two were larger than 8 inches.
There were no trees cut down in order to make space for Tiny House Ontario. A spot was chosen where there was a natural clearing.
It was not just trees and that had to go. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a lot of what was removed to get through was a swipe through the “prickly pear” (which I think is a sort of a fruitless rubus cane). There were also a lot of small saplings and trees that were less than 3 inches in diameter, these were sacrificed. I also covered a lot of leeks, wild lilies, mayflowers, a few trilliums, and a small patch of wild ginseng too. What I mean is that you cannot buy land which has a low yielding potential for farming, to build on and expect that you will not damage any of the natural features in the process. It is a pity but it had to be done, if I am to actually enjoy the use of this land.
A nice side effect of the little bit of clearing, is that the new openings will allow two more benefits for me. Both are because now there is light coming in. I will be able to add a vegetable garden and solar panels.
While I did my best to be as conscientious as possible, I absolutely caused damage to the forest. Here is what I did to get it in step by step, with a small slide show for you to see the process.
- I picked the route of least resistance.
- I made a path with some bright yellow string.
- Permit was applied for and attained.
- John and Leo came in and cut everything within 10 feet of the line (except one hickory which is 8 feet in and makes a narrow spot in the driveway). The photo of me with my chainsaw is taken on a former property when I lost a half dozen huge cedars to a flood.
- Myself, and my husband cleared the “prickly pear”.
- Myself, and a few lads cleaned the sticks up with a chipper.
- The planned driveway and tiny house location were clear to take some (minimal excavation and) gravel.
- The gravel was brought in load, by load, and flattened by my cousin Kenny’s tractor and accessories.
- Tiny House Ontario hole was dug and filled with stone, cement was brought in and laid and then it was built.
- Several final loads of gravel were brought in right up to the Tiny House that I tamped down.
- The culvert was installed by the road, but not accepted by the county (twice so far), so I do not have an entry permit as of yet.