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Mowing + Burning | Is $elf Building Worth It? | Ep 4

Welcome back to "Is $elf-Building Worth It?" Today, we're discussing land clearing and burning, which are crucial steps in the process. So, we've already cleared the land, installed our driveway, and now we're diving into the details of what comes next. For those new to land ownership, especially if your property is overgrown, it can be overwhelming to decide which trees to remove and what to keep.

Preparing for grass burning

The first resource to tap into is often the Department of Natural Resources or a similar agency in your state. In Iowa, for instance, the conservation office provides free consultations with specialists who walk your property, identify tree species, discuss invasive species, and offer recommendations. They might suggest tree removal or even provide guidance on replanting through state programs like Iowa's Dollar Tree Program, where you can purchase trees for a nominal fee.

We recently engaged with this program and bought a bunch of trees for our property. It's a fantastic service that many states offer, and it's worth exploring if you're unsure where to start with land management.

Removing brush from a property

Now, let's dive into what we cleared on our property. Primarily, it was scrub trees and thorny locusts, which we wanted to eradicate due to their nuisance factor. We rented an excavator to handle the job, considering the average tree size we needed to remove. Safety was paramount, especially when dealing with larger trees. Our goal was to clear space for our build site, create a yard, and allocate areas for future food plots, considering our love for wildlife.

However, we encountered unexpected challenges, like discovering timber rattlesnakes due to rocky terrain. This prompted us to clear additional brush for safety, especially with kids around. Overall, the clearing process cost us around $550, which was a significant saving compared to hiring a professional service.

Another essential aspect was preparing for our wood stove. We salvaged usable tree trunks for firewood, which lasted us for years. This dual-purpose approach not only cleared our land but also provided a sustainable heat source.

Moving on to brush mowing, this was a favorite task for both of us. It's incredibly satisfying to transform overgrown areas into clean, manageable spaces. It also allowed us to envision future plans like the house location and hunting spots.

Safely burning

Now, onto burning tips. Before conducting controlled burns, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with local burning regulations and notify authorities for safety. Starting early in the morning is ideal to monitor the burn's progress throughout the day. Safety precautions are paramount, especially when using heavy machinery near flames.

In hindsight, having a second person present during these tasks would have been beneficial for safety and efficiency, especially considering the demands of childcare.

DIY preparing of land by burning

As we continue documenting our build series, we invite you to join our Patreon community for exclusive content and interact with us directly. Our architectural design firm, Back Forty Buildings, specializes in planning barndominium builds, catering to various construction methods.

In our next post, we'll delve into the layout phase, highlighting lessons learned and crucial decisions that shape the rest of the build process. 

Thank You,

MR Post Frame

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Interested in tackling your build on your own? If you want to explore the possibility of being your GC or self-building, our Patreon membership is for you! It's a community of like-minded people offering support, discounts, Q/A, and more.

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