Forest Visit

Chrissy and I drove down to the farm for father’s day. It was a hot day (about 90) but it didn’t seem so bad because it was not too humid and there was a decent breeze. We took the hybrid. It gets a lot worse mileage when you use the air conditioner. Last time I went to the farm, I got 42 miles/gallon. This time it was only 36.

This is me with the trees of heaven, an invasive species native to China. It has become a problem in the U.S. The trees dominate native species and give off a toxin that hinders competition. There are about ten acres of them around the farm. I have to kill them all or they will spread. We chop the truck with a machete and then apply the herbicide “Arsenal”. You can just spray it all over the leaves, but that overuses the chemical, bad for the environment and not cheap. Chop and apply is much more labor intensive, but better. Besides, I can get the boys to help, so labor costs are minimal.

Above shows the scale. That is our car parked on our dirt road. The big trees are boundary trees. The ones in the back are on the far side of State Road 623. These trees get pretty big. We own about 10 acres on the far side.

These are little plantation pines on an old landing area. They are not as big as some of the others that are growing on better (and less compact) soils. In the long run, however, the will grow well up here. The stumps in this area are pretty big.

A little description. Most of our land is in loblolly pine plantation, planted in 2004. The previous owner sprayed to kill off the nascent hardwoods. Two streams run across the place. Near them, the timber was left standing to protect the watershed. The trees there are big. We have beech, oak, maples and walnut. These are the climax species, so this part has been left for a long time. We also have a wetland that has cattails, willows and some sycamores. It is hard to get near the wetland because of the multiflora rose. This is an invasive species sometimes called the living fence because it forms a thick and thorny living wall. It gets nice looking flowers, but generally is a negative. Eventually I will have to hack through some of them, but for now I am going to go after the trees of heaven. They are the bigger menace. The multiflora rose forms an understory and will not interfere with my trees very much. It is just literally a pain to walk through.

A couple weeks ago, the boys and I shifted 20 tons of A1 rip-rap to stabilize our road by one of the streams. It took us five hours to get it done. The dump truck could not get all the way down, so we have to do a lot of moving. The rocks cost $490.00 delivered. These are our rocks.

Alex’s Graduation

I am proud of my boy.

Alex graduated today. That night, he went on a road trip with his friends to a Slayer concert in East Rutherford, NJ. I am glad he went, but they planned not at all. I had to give them this map. I think their plan until that time was to just go north.

Here the graduates come into the hall. Girls in blue; boys in red. It was a beautiful day, warm but not too hot. We walked around DC near the Whitehouse after the ceremony.

Alex is happier now with the HS pressure gone. He is working at the local mulitplex and learning about the world of work. I think that going back to school will soon begin to look better.