Clearing the Gate

Small milestone for us. We start clearing trees to uncover the front gate. Small step for mankind, one giant leap for the Bates family.

We have someone lined up to put in a driveway and clear a few acres for the shop pad, but that has been delayed due to the weather. In the meantime, we will chip away at what we can until the equipment arrives or until the dirt work contractor is caught up.


  1. Jay:
    If you really want to get ahead of the game I would suggest you invest in the following equipment. I say this from experience with clearing and parking out 17 acres on Whidbey Island , WA. I have owned this property for just over 20 years and I will mention a couple of my mistakes that hopefully you can avoid.
    1. You are 100% correct etc with putting drainage at the top of your list. I would recommend that you search YouTube for a big contractor in Michigan The French drain man? or something like that. He knows what he is doing and has access to the best quality of drain pipe. Don’t buy the cheap black stuff from Home Depot. Also get so expert advice.
    2. Don’t buy a chipper/shreader. You will find that wood chips are a real pain and they, definitely do not make a good road base. Plus the time and effort to chip up the mass of debris you will generate will be a lifetime.
    3. Grinding stumps is a no go. Buy at 10,000 lb mini excavator as soon as you can with a root ripper and dig around the trees you can’t pull out with your bucket and punch them over with your excavator. You will soon learn that you hate stumps!!
    4. Next buy a 10,000 tracked skid steer with a bucket and a root rake. You will learn with theses 2 machines and multiple attachments you will have died and gone to heaven but still be standing on earth and enjoying the huge amount of work you have ahead of you! Also if you don’t know already nobody values and loves your land more than you do so with this equipment you will do a better job, pay for the equipment in short order .. Hire out any bulldozer work because it takes many years to get the experience to run one efficiently and you will only need one very infrequently.
    Bonus: If you follow this advice you will be money ahead and be able to buy a Woodmizer portable sawmill to produce some of your own lumber. I understand that they do not give this type of equipment away on the other hand every piece of equipment I own I bough used in good condition and there is not one unit that I cannot sell for mor than I paid for it!
    PS. I started my project when I was 54 and had a few $ in my pocket and I will turn 74 this July! Look how young you and your family are and how by the time you are 55 you will have nothing to do at your property but spray the weeds!! No more fun making it beautiful but the drudgery keeping it pristine!
    You are on the right track..
    Good luck
    Be safe. Learn how to sharpen your own saw chain! Be careful and watch out for the tip of your bar for kickback and make sure your beautiful daughter and wife knows to stay away while you are operating it. Wear eye and eye protection!! You’re a bad boy!

  2. Awesome job love your wife’s accent. Your kiddo is so cute. I agree the bigger the equipment the easier time and less problems you will have with it getting around the land.

  3. I would have some gravel delivered to the areas with the mud. The gravel will prevent your equipment from sinking and the mud will fill in between the gravel over time, making a solid surface to drive on. It will be cheaper than many other ways to get rid of these low spots with poor drainage too, by raising the surface above the surrounding areas.


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