Cutting, marking and scouting

I know my land like I know that back of my hand, and if you ask me to describe the back of my hand w/o looking at it, I cannot tell you in any detail. Today I did a some cutting, some scouting and some marking.

Our December prescribed fire is less than a month away. I am preparing by making lanes, so that we don’t get stuck in the brambles and the fires can be more easily directed. I admit that I maybe am getting a little carried away, since I like to use my cutter. I am also cutting around and marking bald cypress, since I do not want the fires to kill them.

It is much easier to find them now, since they have are in their rust red fall colors. I am pleased to find more than I thought there were. There are some very little ones that I planted last spring and the bigger ones that Eric Goodman planted in 2012. The older ones are almost sure to survive if I give them a little help. I will need to be very careful with the new ones.

Speaking of not knowing the back of my hand, i.e. my land, I had to scout along the edges of the SMZ. Our plan is to let the fire drop into the SMZ, where it will die out, maybe doing a little good by clearing some brush. However, I wanted to be sure that actual streams would be there as the last line of defense, should things not go as we want. I was glad to confirm that the streams form a continuous barrier.

Both belt and suspenders
In an abundance of caution, I want to make a black line along the stream before we do the rest of the fire. I tested the duff. It does not easily burn, which is good in this case. I want to fire to die out when it hits that layer. Of course, I don’t know what the precise conditions will be o/a December 9, but my assumption is that it will not be that different.

I think the land is ready and there is not much more that I can do to prepare. Hope to make is easier for Adam Smith and DoF. In fact, it might be better for me to leave it alone now. It like playing a video game. As soon as I get one thing done, another seems to show up. But I am at the point of very diminishing returns. I can clip now, but I will be clipping what the fire will get anyway.

It will be great to see what wildflowers come up after the fires. After the 2017 fire, it was really fun to see the succession of wild fire regimes. It should be even more interesting now that we have added more variety of seeds. And I have new seeds to spread – some I gathered and others I bought, so we will have the full panoply of forbs and flowers.
My picture is are trees against the sky this morning. There was a woodpecker in the tree, but the picture could not catch it. I think the picture looks artistic anyway.