November on the farms

The weather man promised sun and pleasant weather by the middle of the day. He was mistaken. It was wet and muddy at the farms.

I walked through the longleaf. Most survived the fire and they are thriving. I noticed some fairly big holes in the plantation. It seems they are mostly in places were the brambles were very thick. I think they may have killed off the little pines. I thought about an alternative explanation, that maybe the planting crew avoided the brambles, but we had burned before planting, so the brambles were not there. Of course, maybe it was something else entirely.

The fire killed a large number of loblolly in their section. I may inter-plant some longleaf there and in the empty spots, but maybe not until next year. I think we will burn again in late 2018 for the general longleaf planting among the loblolly that I will thin to 50 BA plus make the patches. Easier to plant then.

I also noticed a few shorleaf pine that came back after the fire. Shortleaf are also fire adapted. I am letting them grow. Shortleaf don’t get the respect they deserve.
The fire had a few effects besides cleaning out much of the brush. I noticed a lot of double leaders. I think the fire may have affected this, but I am not sure. I lopped off a maybe twenty double leaders. Some of the trees also developed long and almost horizontal lateral branches. I lopped many of them off too, since I fear that an ice storm would weight them down and maybe bend the trees beyond recovery. I don’t know if I am doing the right things, but it seems right.

My first picture shows my boots. The Marines gave them to me in Iraq and they are still good. I wore them every day for the year I was in Iraq, but I now use them only on the farms, so I suppose that is one reason why they are lasting so long. The Freeman farm (with the longleaf) is also related to Iraq, in that I used some of what I made there (danger pay etc) to buy this land. Next picture shows the usual longleaf panorama. They are easier to see now that the grass is yellow. After that is the Freeman lobolly that we are going to thin early next year. Next is my usual Love’s photo, prices are higher. Finally are a couple of the bur oak Espen & I planted last spring. They are just for fun. Bur oaks are cool.