Forest work July 2019

Devil’s walking stick
I never much liked the devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa) because of the thorns that can rip your clothes and grab your skin. It hurts. I suppose that is how it got the name. They are common on the Freeman place, although not present on the others. But I have a new respect for the thorny little tree because it is evidently beloved by     pollinators. I saw swarms of bees & butterflies (all different sorts of them) wherever the devil’s walking stick was flowering. See the picture below. In fact, in honor of the new respect, I am going to start calling it by its other common name – Hercules club. Sounds better.

Cutting lanes
I was down on the farms to cut lanes for the prescribed fires we plan in late fall. It is nearly impossible to push through the briars, brambles, sumac and devil’s walking stick … sorry Hercules club, and that really interferes with fire starting.

The idea is to make short fires, so that the flame length does not get too high and kill the good trees. The longer the fire can run, the stronger it gets, hence the advantage of being able to move fast enough to set backfires.

I spent about eight hours just doing that. My cutting tool now fixed, so I could use the power. It was pretty hot today, not as hot as it was last week, but it still got to 90. My system was to work until the cutter ran out of gas, and then rest in the shade and drink Coke or water.

Reedy Creek Hunt Club
On my way out, I stopped at the Reedy Creek hunt club, since I saw some of the guys setting up. They were going to have a fish fry.I could not stay for the because I had still to do some things on the Brodnax unit, but Mike Raney offered a beer. Never turn down beer. Miller light is not one of my favorite beers, but it sure tasted good today. As you can see from my picture, I was still a little flushed from the day’s work.

Picture notes
The other picture of me is an inadvertent selfie. I was trying to take a picture of the butterflies and bees on the Hercules club that you see in the fourth picture. You have to dress like that when you use the cutter. It is very loud, but with those ear muffs, you can listen to an audio book with ear buds inside. Usually I do no more than 5 pictures, but I have a couple extra today. Notice all the bees on the Hercules club. The pollinators also like the rattlesnake master.

It does not have showy flowers, but I guess it tastes good to the bees and butterflies. I also included a picture of my cutting tool and the pines growing out of the brambles, and last is blue sky and the brim of my hat. My excuse is that it is hard to use the camera when you have the wacker hanging from you making noise.