The Farms (including both Sanborn Mills Farm and the Merrill Farm) include more than 400 acres of woodlands. The local forest has provided timber for the Sawmill(s) for more than 250 years. Managed mostly for white pine and hemlock, our forest has served the community well. Most woods in New England are threaded with stone walls created when fields were cleared for pasture or cultivation. Interestingly, there is little evidence that the extensive parcel at the Farms was ever cleared entirely. Over the past 20 years the forest has been managed by foresters Jeffery Coombs and Jake Bronnenberg (who lives nearby and is also the Farm’s logger). Colin and Paula’s original hopes were that the forest could be managed using only oxen and horses, and the firewood needed to fuel the stoves and furnaces has been harvested as intended. The sawmill has been kept busy cutting timbers for the Farm’s many building projects. But a recent timber cruise indicated that the amount of logging wasn’t keeping up with the trees that were about to decline through senescence. So in 2020, a commercial harvest yielded significant income for the Farm and, following our “stump to stick” mantra, Jake Bronnenberg planted 100 white oak whips. (Not all of them survived, as 2020 was one of the driest years on record.) White oak is the best wood that can be grown locally for wooden water-powered machinery and is also used as the wooden core for the Farm’s dams. It is rot resistant even when it goes back and forth between being wet and dry. The other wood it would be useful to have is hickory for ox yoke hoops. Perhaps a second timber harvest can result in a future plantation of hickory.
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, New Hampshire 03307