|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|
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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