What has eight wheel traction, sonar, intelligence and moves trees for a living? Would you believe it is my logging team made up of my belgian mule, Pat and my belgian horse, Rosie. Their job in the wintertime is to help harvest the trees along the lakeshore that I cut for delivery to sawmills. Through working with them and marketing the trees they haul, I have gained a whole new appreciation for the creatures I work with and the forests we work in.
We cut many kinds of trees. Primarily I take care of woodlots by removing a percentage of the mature and diseased trees to allow for better growth and greater value in the future. Along the lakeshore the most common and valuable hardwood trees are cherry, oak and sugar maple. These hardwoods are used primarily for furniture, cabinets and veneers. Some of the less valuable species like beech sassaphras, silver maple and poplar are used for decking and pallets. We also harvest red, white, and scotch pine which is used for fence posts, fencing, and rustic furniture. Though we have done some sawing of the logs into boards, we now only harvest the logs and sell them to large sawmills. There they are turned into useful products more efficiently.
I use my horses and mules for more activities than just the “fun” of sleigh rides, wagon rides and pulling weights. They are an efficient and environmentally friendly way to harvest trees. Certainly, they are no match for the “monster” logging machines for production, however, they do much less residual damage to the ecosystem of the forest. The animals themselves are amazingly intelligent creatures that avoid dangerous situations, work with voice commands, and desire to work as a team with a human. In fact there are few more awesome experiences than to control 4,000 pounds of horse scratching for traction in determination to pull a huge log no matter how difficult it is. Though man has bred these animals with the desire to work hard and please man, God has created them with that innate desire to subject themselves in the service of man. Certainly, their behavior is and example of the fact that God created the world with man as the head of creation. It is obvious to anyone who works them that they are happiest when they are being put to work and feel “useful”. In fact, it is interesting that the same is true of us.We are happiest when we are productive in work and in the church.
The trees themselves are a wonderful example of a renewable resource. My whole perspective has changed regarding trees. I used to think of them as a kind of permanent part of the landscape. Now that I am harvesting them, I look at them more as a crop like corn or beans. The difference is that the trees are grown in 30 to 50 year cycles rather than the seasonal cycle of annual crops. We can “husband” them as a gift from our heavenly Father. By that means, He provides us with building materials and energy to take care of us in the world.
What a wise and wonderful creator we serve. He has not only given us the trees for our earthly wellbeing and care, but, He has also given us creatures like my logging team to work with us. How sad it is that many use the creation for sin and curse the God who made them and provides for their physical needs. May we be thankful everyday for His provision endeavoring to serve Him through repentance and a godly life. May His name be praised.
Daily praise the earth proclaims,
Different voices, the sound the same.
The heav’ns high above the earth
Shout their Makers wondrous worth.
The earth’s sea with life abounds.
Thund’ring waters His praise sounds.
The storms show His mighty hand.
Floods destroy at His command.
Mighty oaks their black arms raise.
In homage they bring Him praise.
The maple paints brilliant hues.
Their beauty shows us the news.
The great horse with strength doth toil
Humbly helping work the soil.
Their patient strength a lesson
In work, by faith, to press on.
The dog waits his lord to see.
A companion and friend to be.
O that we so gentle be
To those in need that we see.
Come, ye saints, His praises sing.
To the hills let your songs ring.
Praise Him for His gift of love.
Bless Him in the heavens above.