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May 2010 Forest Visit

Alex and Espen at the cloverfield 

I bought a couple gallons of Chopper Gen2 and some backpack sprayers. The boys and I went down to the forests to check up on them and spray down some of the vines. I have mixed feelings about spraying.  I would spray the whole place if I was really doing intense pine management. They usually do this with helicopters and it would cost me around $6000. I don’t like to spend the money and I don’t like to spray everything.  I want some diversity, but the vines are getting out of hand. The backpack sprayers allow more precise applications and they cost much less. The materials cost a couple hundred dollars and labor is cheap, essentially free. Getting the boys involved with the land is also a good idea. So that is what we did.

Espen and Alex on grassy path to Genito Creek 

We got an early start, but only worked until about noon. It was getting too hot and I didn’t want to kill the boys or make them not like the forest.  We got the easy targets, i.e. the places within easy reach of the roads and paths. I like to do these things in iterative ways. This will give me a chance to see how it works and decide if I want to do it more widely. It will also give me something useful to do on my visits.  I can spray down some of the offending vines each time I go down and do it selectively.

Cloverfield on CP farm 

I talked to Larry and Dale Walker from the hunt club. They also work at a forestry company and showed me their operation last year. You can see pictures and read about that here and here. They are honest guys and their firm does a good job.  We talked about thinning on the Freeman property. It would be good to do it this fall. This would be my first significant harvest and I look forward to it.

Utility right of way on Freeman farm 

The utility company put in new poles. They ripped up the dirt a lot, but have since leveled it out and reseeded it.  The grass is coming up. The wires and the right-of-way are useful, despite the fact that they take up eight acres of my land.  The opening provides good wildlife habitat and the long, narrow aspect produces a lot of the “forest edge” so favored in wild ecology. From the practical point of view, the most useful thing about the right-of-way is the road. The electric company maintains the road and they just finished fixing it up. It was really rutted before, but they put in rocks over the washouts and made little stone banks to divert the storm water. All this will provide good infrastructure for the thinning operation.  If for what they did, I would have to do it and/or the timber companies would have to do it and that would cut into what they could pay me for the wood. It is a de-facto subsidy for me.

Me in my cloverfield 

The pictures are from the farms. You can see the roads along the right-of-way. The picture of Alex and Espen shows the grassy path Larry Walker made down to the creek. It is a “wildlife corridor” Alex is looking very buff these days. They are hard workers and strong boys. They can get a lot more done than I can. My clover fields are looking good. Other wild plants are beginning to seed in and this is okay.

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