We have all we need for everyone to live well.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Early Lessons

There's no hurry.

Wear gloves.

The tractors are very powerful.

If there's a power tool for that, use it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Blustery Morning

From the strawberry beds past the grapes to the apple orchard, raspberry bed, and on up to the NW corner:

Trillium, which got the state forester quite excited:

A few days too late to come upon these morel mushrooms:

I was tramping in the woods when a turkey hen went up in front of me and I nearly stumbled into her nest, formed into the earth and lined with straw. The eggs were a good three inches long.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Pond

The top of the pond. The level appears to be down about three feet from historical levels and there are some issues with water quality to address over time, possibly by establishing willows and cattail and other wetland species in this area, and wind-powered aerators. There are several large catfish on the bottom, and thousands of little sunfish, and later this spring it will be stocked with bass and more catfish.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tour with an Iowa DNR forester

The forester's full report will be some time coming – 60 days, he estimated, because he has to spend the next 30 installing gypsy moth traps. It sounds as though he lets his official paperwork pile up but stays current on email, so we can probably sooner get his notes and answers to specific questions that way.

Donna's emphasis was: "what's that thing; what's that called?" I asked him about enhancing wildlife, recreation, and timber values. He was very responsive to all that over the next two hours.

He encouraged redevelopment of the tractor trails and in particular suggested providing access to some of the old growth trees as park-type areas.

There are a lot of fruit trees of various kinds: cherry, plum, mulberry, boisenberry. There's a lot of gooseberry and raspberry. The shagbark hickory have edible nuts. He said there should be harvestable amounts of food from all these. We found a batch of morels. The trick, he said, is to look beneath an elm that has died in the last year or two.

Most of the little bushy type undergrowth is dogwood, which we can basically get rid of as much as we want because there's so much of it. It's excellent along edges for birds and wildlife but can be cut back in clearings to get more sunlight to the ground. But a lot of the bushy type things are also invasive honeysuckles and olives, which should probably go.

As for thinning overall, he said the rule is to look up and if a lower priority tree is into the branching structure of a higher priority tree, girdle or cut out the lower priority one. He really encouraged giving the old growth individuals their space, taking out basically any other trees within the drip line, but also making sure to leave some next-generation individuals of the same kind in the area. He thought some of the great trees were well into the two-hundreds years old.

He was very pleased at our interest in improving and managing the woodlands, in contrast. I got the impression, to many of his clients, and my guess is he'll probably give us as much additional service as we want. He had quite comprehensive knowledge about all that stuff. And he was truly nearly giddy by the time he left over the diversity and amount of native and high-value species – he said it was quite a remarkable property.

Some images from my walk down the lane to get the paper in this foggy morning sunrise:

Siberian Elm:

Grandmother Cottonwood:

 The bottom terrace, toward The Narrows:

The pond:

Friday, April 20, 2012

In Muscatine County, Iowa

Two-hour tour with DNR forester Mark just completed. Very good meeting. He was totally impressed by the diversity, varieties, and condition of the woodlands. Much advice to follow. We have our work cut out for us but the results will be worth it.

The red oak are in; going out in a little to plant the nanking cherries. This is Red Oak Avenue.

This is Red Oak Grove:

I believe this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bozeman to Sioux Falls

I'm in Sioux Falls this morning – 860 miles yesterday. Puck is coping but not very happy. We'll get there today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seattle to Bozeman

I've made it to Bozeman, MT and am in a hotel room. Puck's in the car just outside the window – he has all his kitty stuff in there so I thought that was better than yet another transition into and out of the hotel.

The new adventure has begun. It rained all day –– 680 miles –– often hard and the spray from the semis has been intense.