Monday, October 14, 2013
A Walk Around the Wood Lot
On the far North end of the Small-Hold is the woodlot. Or the pitiful beginnings of my woodlot I should say. There are actually a couple of really nice old trees back there that were too big for the horses to damage and a bunch of little trees that have sprung up since the horses have started getting too old to chew em up.
Not much in between I'm afraid. Which is kinda the problem.
Still I manage to get about a cord out of the lot each year right now and I am attempting to manage it so that it will produce enough wood for our needs within about a 10 year frame work.
I was going to fence the back four acres or so off this year to keep the tree killing horses out but that part of the pasture is so damaged they rarely go back there anymore. Between the horses over grazing and the neighbors failed attempt at dairy farming a few years back the entire area was pretty much a wasteland until here recently. The established trees managed to survive but none of the faster growing medium trees would sprout.
So each Fall when the underbrush begins to thin out I take a long walk through the area to see what I can/need to do to help the place out.
My buddy Ram number 2, also known as Frasier or the Big Meaniehead wanted to go with me. For some reason him and I have a good relationship but he doesn't like anyone else. Maybe it was all those pumpkins I fed him. He is actually a small ram compared to the other one but when anyone goes into his paddock he butts them and runs em out yet when I go in to fix his fence or something he is all friendly and accommodating.
The first impressive tree I come to is the giant oak pictured up top. Believe it or not those bottom limbs hanging down are actually a good foot or two above my head.
This is the view standing at the base looking up. Each one of those limbs is about as big around as my torso. I actually get a limb or two off this tree each year. I estimate she only has a few years left in her anyway because the trunk is hollow but she still sprouts leaves and produces a good acorn mast every other year.
As you can see this year she has been dropping acorns like crazy. Something has been eating them as well. I am assuming a squirrel or two but I have never seen a squirrel up this far into the pasture.
Next we come to several large specimens of Locust. I have both Honey Locust and Black Locust. This particular tree is a mammoth Honey Locust in the very back of the wood lot surrounded by several dozen of it's offspring. The locust as you can see have a pretty good natural defense against the evil tree killing horses so I have quite a few old specimens around.
There is a fair sized one that is almost completely dead but still has a bit of life left in it up near the big oak but I haven't messed with it yet. It is best to usually let these Locust trees stand dead a few years until the bark comes off easily taking the thorns off with it if you can. You also want to give these trees a wide margin when driving around them. Trust me.
The entire woodlot is filled with her offspring. She has been a prolific seeder the only real problem is that these Hickory trees take about 100 years to get big enough to even think about taking the time to cut one. I don't think they get even a foot of growth each year for the first 20 or so years. I have literally 100's of little hickory trees maybe 15 to 20 foot tall in the fence line (yes the horses eat them) but they will never be firewood in my lifetime for the most part.
This old girl however also drops the nuts.
I often see squirrels up near her so even if she will more than likely survive my firewood expeditions she is still setting the stage to establish a bit more wild game on the place.
All in all it was an informative little stroll. I have a Bald Cypress that has reached about the 30' mark now and the beginnings of a few Redbuds that survived along with another little oak that is pushing 20'. About a load of large limbs and a dead Elm to cut up along with a small locust that is crowding out my only true Maple specie which is going to have to go.
There is some work to do this Winter on the woodlot. I plan on getting the fence put up this Spring and ordering some filler trees for the bare spots. It's going to be years before I can get this lot to produce all the wood I want it too but I am going to try.
Just for fun I collected up a few of the acorns and hickory nuts. I also found this old horse shoe.
The owner was a bit miffed when I took it off her. :)
Seriously though that old Jenna is pushing 40 if she's a day but she always comes out when she sees me walking around I think to see if the dog is with me so she can try and kick him. Probably where she lost that shoe. I know it was hers because it was too small to be one of the horses.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!