OK, so by popular demand and to catch up on the biggest project we've finished to date, here's the story of...THE BRIDGE.  Red Hand's land is traversed by what is known as a "blue line" creek (pronounced crick by everyone upstate).  It's called a blue line creek because on all the color topography maps that the USDA, DEC and Army Corps of Engineers have of our farm, the creek is printed blue to designate it as a year round "wet" creek.  It doesn't run dry after the spring melt, but retains a steady flow all four seasons.  Our Dept. of Agriculture rep explained that the only creeks/streams rated higher are "hold over" trout waters.  As it turns out, Red Hand's creek feeds into a significant stream that provides hold over habitat for brook and rainbow trout.

The only way to access our middle and upper pastures, as well as the upper meadow and ridge line, is to cross the creek.  There were already existing, two 8' wide bridges that could support the weight of ATVs, UTVS and small tractors.  One bridge en route to the eastern boundry, the other to the western acres.  Well since we are hoping to plant the middle and upper fields, as well as develop a small orchard, we needed to construct a bridge that could support substantially more weight.  This would allow large farm equipment and a bulldozer to traverse the creek.  Because of the "blue line" designation the Army Corps of Engineers had to be involved and their approval was necessary.  Lt. Roy Loftfield provided the parameters that needed to be met and the project began to take shape.  The eastern ATV bridge site was selected for the upgrade.   My idea was to use a culvert, then cover it with stone.  Not the best design as it would impact the creek greatly by disturbing water flow and down stream silt. 

Fortunately for me, the subject came up while vacationing at Candlelight Cottages, Bolton Landing, Lake George, NY.  Mark and Heidi Hess own and run the resort (great place to stay right on the water).  Mark, an engineer, is an avid hunter and was interested in hearing about our farm.  He heard of our dilema and came up with the design for the bridge we built.  Mark said that using his construction design, the bridge could support the weight of a tractor trailer.  Lt. Loftfield approved as the construction would have little or no impact on the creek.

We used treated lumber and galvanized nails for maximum weather resistance.  Two 12' long 6"x6"s were placed on either side of the creek approximately 12' apart.  We then nailed over 90 12' long 2"x8"s using mini sledges with a few hundred 4" and 6" nails to connect both footings.  The boards were set on edge and hammered together making an incredible platform over the creek.  Mom and I ran the saw mill at the garage, Jess drove the ATV rigged up with a 4'x8' trailer delivering the lumber while Kellen and Ben did most of the heavy nailing.  The project was done on September 4th and 5th.  Labor Day weekend was spent doing labor!!!

When Saturday turned into night, we packed it in, locked up the place and drove to Utica.  After puttting the dogs into our hotel rooms, I bought the gang some steak dinners and dessert.  Then it was off to bed.  Up early the next morning, a hearty and healthy breakfast then back to the farm to finish up.  Busted ass one more day and we were done.  We ate at the creamery and of course had some home made ice cream on our way back to Windham.  Got to know the owners real well as Kellen ordered 2 meals and "Barb" took a shine to him.  She and her husband Ivan (Fassett) own the place.  They sat with us and shared pictures from Ivan's game camera.  Pretty cool stuff.  Deer, bobcats, coyotes and bear.  Ivan's a big hunter.  Barb said she's not that much into the hunting but has shot a squirrel or two.  This prompted some laughter from Kell as he stated that his father is a big squirrel hunter too (inside joke).  We worked real hard but had a great time.  It will always be memorable to me.
So here it is.  You can see some of the overgrown field behind us.  The pic only shows me, Ben and Kellen.  But mom and Jess did just as much work, somebody had to shoot the picture.  The dogs had a blast running after everyone.  Mom said she will post some more pics on the photo page of the bridge building in progress.  Damn I'm loving it all and can't wait to share it with our entire family.  The house is slowly coming along.  Hope it's usable soon as coyote and fall turkey start Oct. 1st.

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