February 2016 forest visit 3/4

There are advantages to cold weather on the tree farms. An obvious advantage that you can walk on cold ground that would be impassible mud on most other occasions. February is the least attractive time on the farms, but it is useful because you can see the “bones” of the land.

John Matel's photo.

I spent the morning pulling vines off trees and trying to figure out how to shore up my vulnerable stream banks near the roads. I spent the afternoon hacking down non-longleaf trees in my longleaf acres. It is mostly volunteer loblolly. I feel conflicted whacking loblolly that would be very desirable a short distance away. I must have done several hundred. I spent three hours on only five acres. I would have done more and will do more tomorrow, but the sun was going down and I was afraid I would not proper find my way out in the dark.

John Matel's photo.

Access is hard in some places because of brambles. You would think I could cut through them with my machete but you would be wrong. They seem to fight back because they are long and flexible. They are likely to wrap around and hit you in the back of your head. But I have worked out what I think is an ingenious solution, but I accept that others might call it a joke. I avoid brier patches when I can. When I cannot, I have a long piece of cardboard. I put the cardboard against the brambles and just walk them down. It is kind of like bridge. Once down, they stay down for a while.

John Matel's photo.

 

 

My pictures show the frozen ground that I could walk across, plus one of my nice running streams. Virginia is still the south. Even in cold weather, streams rarely freeze solid.

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