Signs In The Woods

A fir tree scratched by the antlers of an elkWhen walking in the woods recently with a friend we noticed a couple of fir trees that had vertical scratch marks. Mike didn’t have to think twice to say it was an elk or two that caused the marred surfaces on these trees.

When asked how he could determine what made the marks without the animal around to prove the point he mentioned that it is all in the signs. Continue reading

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The Thinning Project

Some of the trees that have been pulled from the thinning projectThe thinning project is coming along nicely, its a good thing because even Jackson the dog (who would not move out of the frame while I snapped a picture) is embarrassed by the woods on this corner of the property.

The trees are dragged full length to a small landing area at the front of the picture before the Barko machine cuts the limbs off and measures each tree. The ones in this picture are not good enough to be sold at any of the mills and will be put into my pile for the firewood project after the limbs are off. Continue reading

Nearly Stuck In The Mess

Brushy forest with damaged treesMike had a path to my left all cleared with the blade of the bulldozer so I could get into the area to assess the prospects of finding and retrieving the downed barb wire, property border line.

I had worked my way into the  thick underbrush, downed trees and kept a watchful eye above for leaning trees and broken tops. It’s hard to see from all the green growth growing waist high but there are about ten large cherry trees either down or nearly down flung around like Pixie Sticks. Most of them are laying right on top of the wires of the fence. All the damage has left a lot of light to flood into the open spaces of the canopy and onto the forest floor, the growth spurt from the last few years is like a jungle. Getting my way out of the woods is as hard as it was getting into the area of the fenceline. Continue reading

Speaking Of Leaders

Were we speaking about leaders? Maybe it was only me speaking about leaders. I do seem to have an ongoing dialog running through my head about stories that I want to share with my readers, how I would like to craft the piece, what would seem interesting in a post, can I get a picture that describes my adventures,  ya da, ya da, ya da…

Back to leaders, I was in the corner of the woods that I don’t get to very often. It is the north facing side of the forest, out past where the trail cam is situated to watch over our caged seedlings and beyond where we logged in the last few years. The skid road has been narrowed by the amount of vegetation that has grown in since the last time we have done any thinning of timber in this section. Continue reading

Following The Dozer

We had a couple of days with a little rain, but now the skid roads have dried off enough to make the steep climb up into the forest. Mike went first with the bulldozer with the dogs anxious to work and I followed along with the Gator loaded  a couple of saws, the falling axe and wedges.

Following a bulldozer on a logging roadBy installing the road last year, we have better and easier access to areas of the forest where only the dozer could go before. Across the top of the hill is sweeping criss-cross patterns of roads that are wide, clear of limbs and easy to drive.

We have a small patch on the other side of this hill that has some trees that are in need of cleaning up.

Looking up to the treetops in the forest There are several smaller trees that have defects that will be cut for eventual firewood bundles and one larger tree that is big enough to make logs that has a broken top.

When in the woods we spend a lot of time looking up to check the crown of the trees, to determine how thick the canopy is, and to find those that have perished and no longer have a live top. We are also looking for broken limbs or tops that can come crashing down as we are working below.

What Is That?

I was reading an article recently about identifying trees during the winter time. I had not given it much thought before but realized that I did not really pay attention to trees that are dormant and don’t have identifiable leaves.

That is where the website; My Land Plan (sponsored by the American Forest Foundation) helps out. From that website, I found simple yet detailed ideas of what to look for when setting out to identify trees.

Broken down to the basics, you need to look for the top three B’s,

    • Branching
    • Buds
    • Bark

Text for idetifying trees.To assist further, this guide can be found from University Of Wisconsin site; leafprogram. I would suggest printing out a copy (it is only 7 pages long but well worth it) because you will want to take it with you to refer to as you scout about for those elusive identifications that have stymied you in the past.

The group at Thoughtco also has a good website if you are interested in full color pictures, videos and interviews with loads and loads of information.

 

 

A Group Of Helpers

Two cars filled with 3 adults and 5 teenagers came out to the farm to get a dose of exercise and nature. They became our planting crew for the day. We outfitted several of them with backpacks filled with trees and made the trek up the hill to the planting site.

A group of 8 helping to plant trees.After a few planting instructions, the crew worked to get the trees that we packed up the hill into the ground. While they were planting, Mike a few yards away, was digging seedlings that were growing too thick and needed to be transplanted.

Once we had the initial trees tucked safely into the ground, we began working on the full bags that Mike had ready.

It was a mild day and the rain that was forecasted held off until we were long off the hill. Two cars of mud-balls left the farm tired but happy from a good day out in the woods and we were off the hill in time to do the evening chores. It was a great muddy time and we are thankful for all the help.