Megaladon Magic


An amazing machine showed up early in the morning to help work on large scale at Leafhopper Farm. There’s been some tree work done, and a lot of debris needs to shift around the farm to new homes where we’re setting up hugaculture beds. What about top soil to cover the branches you ask? Well, the other major porjects for this week’s machine work involve leveling space for our 20,000 gallon cistern and a future greenhouse/biomass storage shed.


All the sod and top soil from the building site was trucked around in a matter of minuets. It was fabulous! For someone who usually does everything with a wheelbarrow, the expediency of a few good machines and a day’s work has done more than I would have been able to manage over a month of continuous labor. This “megaladon” work, an affectionate name I give to all the earthworks machines that come onto the farm, has been planned out over a few years, making the week long rental of the machine count for every task. We’re moving lots of material, and grading, and setting a large rock retaining wall down by the well house. I could never have achieved this along with just a shovel and my truck for hauling.


A machine’s “footprint” on the land is quite large, and a lot of recovery time will happen after the work is finished. But the work will happen fast, and get large scale projects completed in a timely manner, leaving more time for me to plant, tend, and manage the farm as a whole. None of the biomass is leaving the property, all trees fell will be milled and returned in a lumber package for future building.


The large pile of dirt pictured above is all top soil and sod leveled off the building site. Our magical operator, Mark, who also runs Allied Tree Care, has put a lot of time and planning in as well. I am so grateful for his experience and support in this series of large scale projects, because I would be at a loss on how to drive the machine, much less drop 2-3 ft. diameter trees. Mark has supported Leafhopper Farm in all it’s earthworks projects, as well as water feature design, swales, drainage, road work, and so much more. It really is special to have a friend with the knowledge and network to acquire all the equipment and material we need, without any hassle.


We had rock and sand delivered to make a “bed” for the water tank (pillow) to rest on. The dumpster hauling truck made it easy to fill one bin, while he went to pick up more materials in another. Then he would dump one and haul the other to a new part of the land where the topsoil would be placed. It was a great way to stage and move material without interrupting the flow of machine work.

By the end of the day we had our topsoil staged, tree branches moved, new hugaculture beds established, one tree removed, power lines located by the electrical company (always call before you dig!), and even a habitat snag placed where the old spruce hybrid Christmas tree once stood.


Day two of the large scale project time was delayed by rain, something you don’t want to move heavy material around in if you can help it. We’re hoping things will dry up this afternoon so we can renew our work in shaping more landscape. We’ll get a delivery of rock today and have a retaining wall set with the help of the megaladon. The final big push will be next weekend, when we drop a grove of bark stripped cedars next to the barn sheds and chicken coop. That biomass will take a few more days to stage and set for erosion control in some of our healthier forest groves. More to come at Leafhopper Farm.

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