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Monday, May 16, 2016

Storm Clean Up

Over the past month, the Central Valley of California has been ridden with storms and high winds. These storms have been filled with intense thunder coming in fast and furious. Within an hour these storms have come out of nowhere and bring high gusts of winds upward of 50 mph at times. Rain flying in and dumping water in a short amount of time has become a norm it seems like, sometimes receiving 1 inch in a few hours. These storms have been causing damage to many agriculture crops but even after we take out the down trees, there is more to clean up.

After removing more than 300 trees from our ranches, you can imagine what has left was an aftermath of more to clean up. Dragging fallen trees out of the orchards with the tractor, can often times pull excessive dirt along with it. Leaving piles and dirt spread out across the field is not ideal for our farming practices. We are having to go back through the field and fill in the holes where the trees once stood with this excesses dirt.
piles of branches and trees to be burned
Along with fallen trees spread across the fields, there are also loose roots and broken branches that have to be pulled out. Trees and branches create a rather large pile you can only believe in real life. Pictures really just don't do this justice. Firs,t we wanted to lessen the amount of wood to get rid of and be able to have some benefit from the lost trees. We invited neighbors and friends to cut firewood from the fallen trees once they were laid out in the field roads. Once they were able to cut all the firewood they could, we were left with trunks, large branches and limbs.

There are two options to dispose of the leftover tree matter. One option is to have the wood chipped into small pieces, which requires a very heavy duty wood chipper machine called a tub grinder. The businesses that specialize in wood chipping have a huge wait list because of the drought and orchards being removed. For us to get ours chipped, there was a month and a half wait time for a custom operator to come in. So, we were left with option B, controlled burning.
piles of wood chips our neighbor was able to chip

In most regions of California, the Central Valley included, we can only burn on approved 'burn days' that our Valley Air Quality Control Board deems okay. This prolongs the disposal process because we have to wait for approval. There are also guidelines of what and how we can burn on these controlled days. Explaining what plant matter we can burn and how long it has been dried for. We can also only burn during certain hours, so we are needing to stop and put out the fires if they aren't burned out by the completion time given for controlled burning.

As you can guess this is an ongoing process that will take some time. But, we will work diligently in cleaning up our orchards. In a little over two months we could be starting almond harvest and we need clean orchards.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

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