Fire & Water

Fire & Water

Some of my forest is flooded. I have never seen the water this high. Of course it is worse in North Carolina, but our farms are less than 20 miles from North Carolina.

I did not see much storm damage. That flood won’t hurt the trees. I was a little worried that the rushing water would undercut some of the riparian areas, but that seems not ot have happened.Parts of my road are a little rutted, but that comes and goes.

A little less happy news from the area we burned in May. The fire got a little too hot in patches. I was worried that some of the trees were killed and it looks like about a dozen of them won’t be coming back.

Fire is complex. You can estimate its behavior, but it can always surprise you. I suppose I will under plant the dead trees with longleaf in December. The other option is to let the loblolly fill in by themselves. Probably both will happen. I feel bad about my trees, but it is part of the way the pine ecology works.

The thinned pines in Freeman are looking good. The open forest is more like the “original” Virginia and it is very good for wildlife. I saw deer and spooked two covey of bobwhite quail, at least a dozen quail. Hawks and buzzards are flying around. Bees are buzzing, butterflies floating. The cut over has bloomed with wild flowers.

Longleaf are looking good. They are candling out for the last time of this year.

Some of the paths are drowning in bog. My boots got soaked and I finally just stopped trying to avoid the water. I should have brought some extra socks.

Pictures show the pollinator habitat. I included one of the power-line right-of-way. We have eight acres under those lines and it could seem like a waste, but I kinda like them. It is essentially a long narrow strip of permanent pasture. You can see that it is full of grass and forbs, and the power company helps maintain the access road. The last picture is a clear cut in the foreground. This was – believe it or not – clear cut in May, i.e. only three months ago. See how fast it comes back. We will plant longleaf this winter.

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