May 2011 Forest Visit

The boys and I went down to the farms to talk to the hunt clubs and take a look at the forest. There has been a lot of rain recently, so everything was growing well. The McAden Hunt club replanted one of the food plots.  Corn and sunflowers are coming up. The sunflowers will be very pretty in a couple of months. I asked Alex to go down and take a picture for me. 

The deer plots are becoming more important to maintain a healthy herd. The deer population had burgeoned and there were too many, but the resurgence of local bear populations & the arrival of coyotes have checked the growth. The coyotes, especially, are hard on the fawns. These things are very dynamic and you never get a permanent solution.

I agreed to sell six acres of land to the Reedy Creek Hunt Club. They want to build a clubhouse, skinning shed & dog training places. I am never enthusiastic about giving up land for any reason, but I think the relationship with the club trumps six acres out of 300. RCHC seems like they want to keep the rural character of the place and I want to encourage the local hunting culture, so it is a good thing.

There was no particularly urgent work to be done. We need to plant our longleaf pines this fall or next spring and I want to do an understory burn followed by biosolids applications in 2012 or 2013. I cut down a couple of box-elders that were infringing on my cypress, but that is only a kind of a hobby action.

Of course, I will not be able to get to my woods very often with my Brazil assignment over the next three years. That is why I took the boys down. I want them to do the routine consultations.

It was a kind of hazy-humid day, so my pictures seem a little washed out. The top photo shows the boys walking up the road in our recently thinned pines. Espen was trying to skip stones. I told him that it worked better on water. The second picture shows our clearcut that will be planted with longleaf next to the completely uncut pines that are providing the control plot. Below that is our clover field, now getting overgrown. Next is the new field planted with a variety of plant for wildlife, including soy, corn and sunflowers. Just above this paragraph is Genito Creek that runs through our land. It looks like chocolate milk because of recent heavy rains.  It will clear out in a couple days. The silt forms natural levies along the banks. The trees arching over it are river birch, the southern member of the birch family. Below is the bend in my road. There is something attractive about a road bending into a forest. I liked it when I first saw this place, when the trees were knee high and each year it gets better.