A tree was cut down last year along the skid road Mike was building. The stump had criss-cross notches sawed into it. The deep scars are made to weaken the stump allowing the bulldozer to bust off pieces until the remaining stump is small enough to remove from the ground. This stump was in a spot where we had planned the roadway, when the time came to widen the skid road into one wide enough to accommodate a loaded log truck and the wide tracks of the feller-buncher.
The road was widened but on the other side of the road from this one particular stump. So here it sits, the funny looking, hacked up and forgotten stump is left on its own to witness the comings and goings on this woodland street corner. It seemed a bit forlorn, until I noticed a spot of green.
Inside one of the criss-cross grooves grows a one inch Douglas Fir. A single seed had managed to lodge itself in one of the grooves and find purchase there. Without soil, the tender seedling landed in a gap that holds enough needles and spent detritus from the neighboring trees to have found a spot to germinate. The man made trough holds a pin head sized drop of water safely in reach of the tender roots. The tall firs around the stump keep the new growth in pleasant filtered sunlight throughout the day keeping the area a moderate temperature.
It will be interesting to watch this little seedling to see if it can make it through another season. I named him Will.
In the previous post, Chewing On Bamboo Part 1, you got to hear about the disturbances caused by deer and elk (mostly elk) and the subsequent fun we have been having trying to protect our precious seedlings with their cages and bamboo stakes.
Up til now, Mike has been the more aggressive harassment master. He has made it his mission to make life for the elk in our woods as uncomfortable as possible. With several trips a day up the hill and into the forest, he whistles, sing-songs limericks and bad jokes, revs the motor of the Gator, and he hollers barks, whooots, and catcalls at our 4-legged creatures. The dogs consider the many runs up and down the hill with Mike as a treat and they scoot through the woods with the vigor that they had as young pups. The dogs are trying to assist but mostly it is just a fun activity for them. Continue reading
I had mentioned that we were starting to notice deer and/or elk disturbing the seedlings that we had planted on the hill and that we have been going up there to ‘remind’ the critters that we are monitoring the baby trees.
We seem to have the critters biting and chewing on the tips of the bamboo stakes, these are the ones that are woven through the cages to help hold them safely in place around the seedlings. I have noticed bite marks and ragged edges of the stakes.
Once one or more of the stakes have been pulled out of the ground, the cage follows up the seedling, sometimes hanging mid-air and sometimes completely off the tree making it an easy browsing target. The tree can get mowed off by the chewing or pulled right out of the ground, either way can kill a seedling. Continue reading
The lengthy project of clean up and replanting on the hillside has taken much longer than we anticipated, but with the last of the seedlings planted the task of closure took us into the house to complete the documentation.
If the walk down off the hill wasn’t so treacherous with melting snow and slick mud, I would have been singing the old show tune at the top of my voice.
The project of seedling planted had been expected to take a very busy two weeks to complete. Nature stepped in and thwarted us at every attempt. There was at times too much snow or way too frozen to dig in the ground. Just when the weather looked like it would cooperate another weather front would roll in and it would be several days before another attempt could be made. The whole project became a weighty problem and we were all antsy to get it completed before the seedlings came out of dormancy or the ground became too dry. The short project stretched from two weeks to two months . Continue reading
Heckled, no. Chided, possibly. Forced, certainly not. I have been getting some flack about the lack of me in my photos of work, play and nonsense on the farm.
It is not because I am camera shy, although it is not my favorite past time. It is more because I am running the camera on most occasions and turning the lens on myself gives outcomes that are… well, simply gruesome.
So for those who have gently reminded me, here is a picture.
This is after the day of backpacking loads of trees from the drop off sight to the area where the seedlings will be planted.
Here you see me in my glory. Cold feet, drenched with sweat beneath rain gear, gloves soaked from melting snow and Butler the dog being a media hound.
It felt good to get off the hill and into a hot shower after a successful romp in the woods.
The snow is still hanging around, the temperature hovering at the freezing level does little to thaw the white blanket.
Slowly we are attempting to put in a few trees so that we are not rushed once the weather does break. The trek up the hill is very slippery with the top surface saturated and any footsteps from before that disturbed the wet soil oozes as boots connect. Walking sticks are more than helpful, they are a necessity.
Each tree spot requires that the snow be removed before the hole for the seedlings can be dug with only dirt tamped back into the hole around the tender roots.
This small open patch of ground is now planted. With three of us, we were able to get this area planted in about 3 hours because we already had the trees packed to this spot. It would have taken much more labor, time and patience if we had not taken the day to bring the supplies into the site.