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Author Topic: day dreaming while at work?  (Read 5598 times)

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Offline twoodward15

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day dreaming while at work?
« on: September 10, 2005, 07:11:56 pm »
I'm sitting here at work daydreaming and this thought pops in to my head.

    If you were buying up forestland, how much land would it take (if you did everything right and sensibly) to make a living off that land?  Let's say the land is in central Pennsylvania and is filled with all of the local trees when you buy it, you can thin/get rid of anything that isn't going to make you money, but you want to keep the staples (cherry, maple, poplar, oak, you get the point) and you would want to make about $50,000 a year.  You would have the equipment to harvest all of these trees and deliver them to where ever they need to go.  You own the land and hold no mortgage on it.
     Does anyone here do this now or is it just not feasible?  Does anyone else daydream about this stuff???
     It's pretty slow here tonight.  We're running support missions to New Orleans and Mississippi delivering water (flying it in).  We get pallets of water in and build bigger pallets (approximately 6,000 lbs each) and load them up and go down there.  Unfortunately I wasn't chosen to be on a flight, so I'm here running a forklift (last night) and tonight I'm here to fix the airplanes if they come back broken so that we can get them loaded up and sent back out first thing tomorrow morning.  We've been doing this since friday the second.  There are about 100 pallets left to load and go.  We are out of water now to build new pallets.  I'd say we've shipped roughly 24 pallets a day and tomorrow will be day ten. Lot's of water!!!
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Offline Furby

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2005, 07:26:38 pm »
I know very little about this but have though about it.
I would think you would need to find the right piece of land.
What I mean is, you would have to have a portion of woods that will be harvestable in the near future. Otherwise you could maybe have a 10-15 year or more wait before you get a paycheck.
If you could find some land that is nearly ready to be havested, some that is a good ways off, and some needing to be brought back, I've always thought it would work. I haven't been looking real hard, but I haven't seen any woodlots that were managed well enough and are for sale.

It also comes down to how much you need to make by way of a living.
Some are able to live making less then 25k a year. Some can't survive with any less then 50k, and some just need a bank in their pocket! ::)

Offline crtreedude

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2005, 07:29:13 pm »
I think the number depends if you are selling stumpage, or can sell value-added. If you just sell stumpage, of course it is going to be much more.

Let's imagine that a Northern forest can produce 400 board feet per year per acre. These would be wood removed to improve the forest, not to high grade it. That way, the value would increase, not decrease in your forest.

So, if you can sell 400 board feet at 0.50 cents, then you will have 200 dollars per acre - let's assume for ease of calculations that is net, not gross.

This would mean that you would need 250 acres to make it work - assuming all the acres were productive.

However, if you can get 3 dollars a board foot for something like flooring - then you would need about 42 acres.

The more middlemen you can cut out between you and the customer, the less land you will need.

Perchance you are daydreaming at the job because you wish to leave it?   ;)
So, how did I end up here anyway?

Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2005, 09:36:22 pm »
You've got that right crtreedude.  Unfortunately my big problem is supporting the wife and kids.  Everyday I think about how to get out of this crud that I'm in.  Besides a mortgage on my house, I don't have any real debt.  There's always the electric/gas/water bill, but nothing else really.  I just can't convince my wife that this isn't the way to be living our lives.  I'm gone about 12.5 hours a day at work and the drive to and from it and picking up the kids.  Wifey is gone for about 11 hours.  She thinks it is cruddy but doesn't want to do anything about it.  I hate it and want to change but she is not going along with it.  I want to move but she won't.  She hates where we live now but doesn't want to leave the area. 
    I'm sure you know the kind, the ones that have all this money saved up but won't touch it because they are soooooooo poor that if they lost their job tomorrow they wouldn't be alive because they'd starve to death in 5 minutes because they don't have enough money to buy food?  That's my wife, can't spend a dime, gotta keep saving.  I asked her once if we had a million dollars in the bank or to invest (I'm 30) would it be enough.  The answer was no, we have to keep saving more. It's not enough.I still haven't figured out what we are saving for.  Certainly not a house cuz we aint movin, not a car cuz she don't want another car payment. Can't buy wood or woodworking tools cuz it's a waste of money.  We just save.
   Now I'm not rich and I don't have that much money in the bank but we do just fine.  I've always got 5 bucks in my pocket for lunch.
      Just trying to get out of this hole and get on to better things.  Thanks for letting me vent my frustrations.
                                                                                    Todd
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Offline beenthere

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2005, 10:15:16 pm »
twoodward15
Make your dreams together, is what I have practiced and worked with since 36 years ago when I was 30. Had just finished a home, had 4 kids, and so much living on a shoestring that if it came loose just a bit, I don't know what would have happened. But it didn't, and in my opinion, we have all that we need now. I am not suggesting you quit dreaming and wanting more, but it is what you and your wife do with your hard work that will get those dreams. No magic that I can see, and no easy way that I can see.
Push yourself as you seem to be, and I pray that you will get those things you want in life. Count your blessings that each of you have together. It takes two to get there, IMO.  :)
south central Wisconsin
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2005, 05:47:48 am »
Good advice and I guess the name fits you well!!  Thanks  beenthere.
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Offline crtreedude

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2005, 08:42:54 am »
twoodward15,

Women need security, and to her, it is a lot of money in the bank, investments, etc. I have found that the best thing is to figure out what she wants out of life eventually.

The other thing is, if you have young kids, your wife will probably be in a very protective mode. We think we are logical, but the truth is, a lot of us is ran by our emotions.

A site that you might find interesting is:

http://www.timbergreenforestry.com/

It looks like he is doing something similar to what you are thinking.

Of course, the smart thing to do is start a company and name it after her.... Why do you think so many boats have women's name on it.  :D

For Amy and I, living in Costa Rica was a compromise - honestly. I would have been happy to live in Alaska or some such place - she needs to be around people. The dream of her life was to become fluent in Spanish - so, I decided to start a business in a Latin American country instead of the USA. Best thing we ever did.

Now we have land, rivers to fish, very good friends and she is enjoying herself immensely. What is amazing is she has discovered a joy in business too since she is a partner. We had a meeting with some very interesting people last weekend which included going to a country club (Costa Rican style) as well as very upscale restaurants, staying in a villa, etc. I have been in this situations before so it wasn't all that exciting to me (but I enjoyed it) but she throughly enjoyed it - and what she enjoyed most was the meetings herself.

This is a woman who always told me to leave her out of any business I create because she didn't like business...  :o Amy holds my feet to the fire until ALL the questions are answered. If this is the way your wife is, be very, very thankful. Many people rush off to start a business without a sold business plan.

Perhaps your wife will be more interested if you build a very solid business plan that shows that it is less risky to buy the land and run a business. I spent a year, 3 hours a day working on the business plan of Finca Leola before we started it.



So, how did I end up here anyway?

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2005, 11:06:30 am »
The biggest problem would be finding a tract that had usable stumpage that hasn't been high graded.  Growth would be more in line of 200-250 bf/acre and stumpage would be at about $400/Mbf.  Central PA would be predominantly a mixed oak stand.

If you are looking at value added, then you would get something more like $600/Mbf for green sawn log run material.  So, your $50 K would come from about 83 Mbf.  But, you need some working expenses, so bump that up to 100 Mbf/yr.  That comes out to about 500 acres.

If you look at cutting firewood, you should be growing about 1 cord/acre/yr.  If firewood is sold for $200/cd then you would need 250 acres for your needed $50K.  For operating expenses, you would need andother 50-100 aceres. 

But, you haven't factored in things such as non-timber forest products.  I think that is the real key to making money on a smaller amount of land.  Woods grown ginseng, morels, shitake mushrooms, etc. could give a much higher income on a smaller amount of land.  All you need is something to provide the habitat, and you could do pretty well.  In 1999, woods grown ginseng was bringing $425/lb.
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Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2005, 02:36:45 pm »
My son and I do pretty much what you are daydreaming about.  We also dairy as well as log and mill our own timber.

My wife and I started out living and working in town when we were first married.  We saved every dime we could and didn't borrow money for anything.  After a couple of years, we bought 80 acres and raised a few calves and hogs while still working off the farm.

Almost 40 years later and after buying more adjoining land as it became available,  we can do prettymuch what you are describing.  she still works off the farm (because she wants to),  my son and I put in long hard days every day.  We make a fair living and have built up a good net worth.  Lots of people might say they would like to do what we do,  but there are very few that would after trying it.  Fewer still that would have put in the long years of 'doing without '  that we have.

I think my son 'daydreams'  of a soft job in town with all the frimge benefits :D :D  I DanG sure daydream of the weekends off and the two week vacations ;)

Looking back,  the striving for a goal and reaching it bit by bit as a family is the payback rather than actually achiving the goal.  As others have suggested,  agreeing on those goals as a family and digging in to accomplish them with a plan is the place to start.

I just thought of something that happened to me a few weeks ago.  I was setting in the barbershop waiting my turn.  A young boy about 12 was getting his crewcut renewed.  You could tell he was happy as a lark without a care in the world.  I thought to myself,  wouldn't it be wonderful to be that age again and be able to do life over again with what I have learned.    Then I answered myself-------nah ;D
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Offline Ernie

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2005, 03:07:05 pm »
Todd

My old Granny has a saying that I have never forgotten.  "there are no pockets in a shroud"

If you both live somewhere that you are happy in together, life will be longer and better quality.  If you're not happy, it will just seem longer.

Good luck and God bless.

Thus endeth my sermon for the day.
A very wise man once told me . Grand children are great, we should have had them first

Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2005, 05:04:13 pm »
Wow, all excellent answers. 

Ron, if I bought a peice of land that had been high graded say, 5 years ago (for sake of picking a number), is there any standard  (time wise) to bring it back from "the dead"?  Is this going to take 50 years to get where it needs to be again?
    Now you've all got my gears turning.  If I stay here and buy land and vacation there (working vacation) then maybe I could convince wifey that it could work. Is it feasible to divide a large tract up into say 5 small tracts and harvest one every year and just do upkeep the rest of the time? 
   I guess it's time for me to really do my homework and come up with a sensible plan to show to wifey.  Thanks for the input and I hope to see much more.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2005, 08:27:02 pm »
A lot of the high grading starts out as a diameter limit cut.  For the most part, it takes about 8-10 years for a tree to jump into the next diameter class.  Although the tree grows, the volume can't be cashed in until it jumps into the next class.  Normal growth in this neck of the woods is about 8 rings/inch or 1/4 inch dbh/yr.

The other factor involves stocking density.  If the stand was cut hard, and most of them are, the stocking levels are pretty low.  You would have to wait until the stocking levels approach a fully stocked stand in order to think about thinnings.  If you just go out and cut the better stufff, you're not practicing forest management, you're mining timber.

For many stands that are cut hard, you probably can go in at about 20 years and start cutting.  But, most of it will be lower quality.  50 years may not be out of line to get a good quality forest, unless you just clear it and try planting.

As to the second part of your question. you can divide your stands into strips and practice different management in each strip.  If you are using a 100 year rotation and have 10 strips, you would clearcut one every 10 years and thin the rest.   
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Offline DonE911

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2005, 09:36:23 am »
I just love to read a post that "hits the nail on the head"

I've been researching this very thing for a while now.  I've begun a search on areas that I might like to go look at.  Areas where land prices are cheap enough that I can buy 100 acres or so and that the timber there has not been completely high graded already.  I am planning on 80 ish acres of timber and the rest for shop/house/pature/garden ect.

I was considering a value added business to boost per mbf number and also some other forest products like mushrooms ect.

My wife used to be exactly like what you describe your wife to be.  She only wanted to save some money and get the material stuff that her friends had. The classic "keeping up with the Jones" attitude. 

Things have changed for the better... we moved out of the overpopulated area and into the woods.  We have paid off everything other than the house.  She has started to believe in the sawmill and really likes the value added ideas.  She is actually doing some of the research and has begun to ask questions about what it takes to make this product or that product....  what would the tooling cost be compaired to the $$ return.   Our church just finished a new hall, which I donated all the oak trim work for ( window sills, trim, molding material ect ).  She complimented how nice it all looked and after we got home she starts asking how much I would have made if I had done everything from the woods to the wall.  I gave her some lowball estimates and now she understands the numbers better since she can apply them something visual as opposed to the numbers on a piece of paper.

As crtreedude said, do the research or a complete business plan..... get your wife involved in that process.  She may not really care about the timber business, but I bet she likes things made from wood.... floors, window trim, moldings, boxes... whatever.

For what it's worth I am 34 years old with 3 kids and have a two year plan to find the right place and get started.  In the mean time I am going to continue researching and fine tuning my plan. 

There is nothing stopping you from starting the most important part of your dream... the planning.

Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2005, 11:51:09 am »
Thanks for the ecouragement Don.

Ron, do you have any idea what the rough prices are for woodland in your area?  I'd definately even look at lots that have been high graded as well.  I'm youg and have time to wait.  Thanks for the input.  It really is helping me out more than you could imagine.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2005, 12:22:13 pm »
There is an eighty acre tract close to us that was 'raped' about 10 years ago.  To make matters worse,  it was burned off just after it was logged to get rid of the tops so the place would look and sell better.  It looked like it would be worthless forever.  Right now it looks (driving by) like a nice stand of young timber with a few big mature trees.  What it is is some old wolf trees and trees that weren't worth the loggers time when it was logged,  some smaller trash trees,  and some younger trees that have potential.  A person could go into the tract and select the younger pine, oak,  and hickory that isn't fire scarred or damaged from the previous logging.  The rest could be cut producing lots of firewood,  some ties, a little grade lumber,  and quite a lot of pallet lumber or cants.  A person could make wages doing this and in another 10 years he would have a nice stand of healthy,  high quality young timber that would have some trees ready to be harvested.

Some things I thought of that I would add to what others have said:

Get a good silvaculture book and study it.

Know the types of timber in your area.  In our area,  we have 'post oak flats' that to someone who didn't know might appear to be good stands of young timber.  If you come back 50 years from now,  that 'young stand' will look just the same and it probably did 50 years ago :D :D

Also,  as it's been said so many times before,  seek the advice of a forester.  It isn't unusual in our area for an 80 acre tract to have 5 or 6 different types of timber.  One part might need to be clear cut and replanted,  one might need to be harvested favoring pines,  another harvested favoring oaks,  some just left alone temporarily etc.

Also,  having a small tract of timberland might make a wonderful hobby/sideline,  but a terrible vocation.  In either case,  if I owned a tract of timberland,  I would sure want to live on it.  It's a wonderful place to live and so much handier to get at to work,  as well as safer leaving tools and equipment onsite.
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2005, 03:14:26 pm »
You answered part of my next question Brother noble! 
Can anyone suggest any good books that might help me to understand better what I should be doing for sustainable forestry?   Unfortunately school is out of the question right now.  Maybe in a few years, but not right now.  Would it help me to start a subscription to that sawmill and woodlot magazine?  Anything that would help will be a step in the right direction.
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Offline DonE911

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2005, 03:46:26 pm »
If you haven't already you should check out that link that crtreedude posted.  It's got alot of info on it.  He has a book offered on there also but I don't know anyone that has it....  may be good or not... just not sure.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2005, 05:12:23 pm »
The best place to scope out forest land is up in the tier counties.  Bradford, Potter, Tioga, etc.  It seems like the land is lower in value.  They have a shorter growing season and is farther away from major metropolitan areas. 

That presents 2 problmes.  There is very little industry in those areas.  Predominant ones are agriculture and logging.  So, your competition will be large mills.  It may shrink the potential client base. 

These areas also tend to be lower on the economic scale.  There just isn't that much money.  Labor is cheap, but markets are scant.  Lots of absentee owners.

The other problem is getting parts.  I worked in Tioga county for awhile and would spend all day looking for parts.  With Fed-Ex and the like, maybe that isn't much of a problem.

Sustainable forestry isn't really rocket science.  Cut the worst and let the rest grow.   
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Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2005, 05:39:35 pm »
The Univ of Mo. Extension Service has several publications on Forestry and forest management as do most states I am sure.  A book that I have that I refer to a lot is 'Manual of Southern Forestry'  byHoward and Weaver,  published by Interstate printers and publishers Inc.  Danville Ill.  My copy was printed in 1954.  I was in the bookstore at MU a couple of years ago and decided to buy a newer text.  They had one that covered about the same stuff with a lot more modern equipment in the illustrations,  but the DanG thing would have taken the better part of a hunnard dollar bill >:(  I became even more fond of my old book ;D
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: day dreaming while at work?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2005, 08:42:51 pm »
Good info Ron, I am from western new york, so those counties wouldn't be too bad.  Lot's of tractors and other equipment available to me up there.  Lower land values are fine.  I figure I can sell the place I live in now and have enough after paying off the mortgage to buy up good piece of land. Hopefully enough to buy about 75 acres with a house on it if I can find it.  If I don't have any payments to make that will certainly make job hunting a lot easier on me.  I'll look into it.
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