Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thank goodness it is July. Bring on the sun!

I chop down weeds and ferns in one of my clearings using a walk-behind brush mower
The Outback brushmower does a good job even on wet vegetation and soft ground
June has finally passed and by the looks of the forecast, has taken its cool, wet weather with it. Good! We're ready for sunshine, warm temperatures and warmer water. The flowers need sun, young birds need to leave the nest, kids need to go swimming and most of all, I need to get on the tractor and mow fields and trails. For the past few weeks all I could do was walk behind our brush mower and try to fight back against the explosion of weeds and ferns.
My dream all these years has been to manage our acreage in a way that benefits the most wildlife. If I could have my way I would have several small, perhaps one-acre, clearings in our bush that would provide more edge-effect than does just a single block of trees.
We are extremely fortunate to have a variety of habitat types on our property, from cliffs to swamps to fields. On the ridge and high ground we have a few white pine, only one of which resembles the majestic lords of the forest that once grew everywhere in these parts before logging took place over a hundred years ago. There are also white spruce and black spruce, jackpine, trembling or quaking aspen, white birch, balsam poplar, balsam fir and a few red maple. Our area is right on the northern limit for red maple. I'm not sure there are any north of our property. In the low places there is also white cedar. Large white cedar are a rarity for the township as their resistance to rot made them a favourite source of fenceposts for farmers.
Down on the fields are a couple of Manitoba maples or box elders. These were planted by former owners around the old homestead site. We lived in that log homestead cabin for five years before building our current home. A single red oak grows there too. It also was planted and didn't change much in size for 15 years but then took off and is now about 30 feet high. Although this area was never suitable for oaks with climate change the picture has changed. I'm thinking of planting bur oaks in some of my clearings. There is already one stand of them on the Kaministiquia River at Stanley, about 20 miles away. The Kam is the biggest river in these parts and its valley has provided a microclimate for plants and creatures that are more suited to southern areas. The bur oaks have been there for decades and now the same climatic conditions exist up here in the hills of Nolalu.
We got a fridge magnet in the mail asking us to report any badger sightings. Badgers! The Badger State is across Lake Superior but there have never been any of the creatures on this side. This is the land of massive timber wolves, not prairie predators. But I guess the same could be said of bur oaks and yet here they are. I'm waiting for my first badger photo on a trail camera.

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Kim Gross said...

Dan- It's good to have your blog back. It looks like you have a beautiful place there, and it sounds like you won't have any trouble keeping busy. You and Brenda keep enjoying your retirement, and I hope to see you next summer when you're working on your cabin on Red Lake.


Dan Baughman said...

Thanks, Kim. We're finally getting around to all those jobs that we couldn't do in the winter for the past 26 years. I didn't know there were so many. We need to empty the basement so a concrete floor can be poured. I've been remodeling our shed with extra shelving to accept all the junk from the basement and thought I finished today when I discovered a bunch of stinky bats in the stuff stored above the ceiling joists. I guess they have been coming through the crack around the door. I guess it's better than having bats in the belfry. Tomorrow I'll need to haul everything out, evict the tenants, fix the door and take the odorous parts to the dump. At least there are no beavers here at our house -- yet.

Kim Gross said...

At least the bats won't cut down your trees! Speaking of beavers, were they all gone from under the dock this spring?

Dan Baughman said...

There weren't any living under the dock after I fenced it last fall but there was one beaver hanging around the camp. We saw it under Cabin 5's dock the first day we were there in the spring and then saw it swimming by every evening.