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follow up to deer experiment thread..son thinks tractor is a bulldozer

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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as i said in the deer experiment thread i was going to start a new thread about what Joel did the last two days.

well last summer, our new neighbors had dug out their pond and i accepted the pond muck as a gift from them as they had no use for it.

well it ended up getting piled at the south end of our rear woods..and the piles were huge..8' high and about 50' long and about 15' to 20' wide..

well one pile was left for a target backdrop for firearms..which works really well..but the rest was just right in my way..

it had not only cut off all of our access to our 900' of woods to the north of where the piles were..but also had put in a barrier to the wildlife that used to cross our woods ..so the deer and bear were forced to walk around this barrier to get to our property to the south..it was ok when they went to the east as there was a fairly open field there dotted with pine trees, but if they went to the west they would encounter 3 large dogs (when the neighbors are here..vacation home)

so i asked Joel if he could level an area through that pile so i could get through to our rear woods..with our disabilities, me and my husband couldn't climb over that 8' pile to access the woods.

so starting yesterday and today Joel began to move some of the dirt and clear dead aspen and wild cherry trees and saplings and raspberry brush (with berries yes i ate those).

all we had was the tractor to work with and he had the brushhog on the back which made it cumbersome and the bucket on the front.

well he was using the bucket as a bulldozer and working his way through the pile and through the woods..he made a hole through the pile..and then..being careful of the valuable trees, he pushed over dead trees and saplings and buried them under the pond muck dirt that he was moving..and made a little road into the woods to the north of the pile and a circle turn around by two beautiful red maple trees..being careful of some other nice trees.. clearing a path about 8 to 10' wide for us to walk back.

he also cleared and leveled most of the area where the muck was piled..using some for the path..and made a great area in the clearing behind my baby walnut trees where i can now plant some woodland plants around the edges to make a lovely woodland garden area..

well i figured that was that..he was done..

but today i had a truckload of pine branches that i was going to haul back by the woods till i could chip them up..and he said..would you like me to push the brush piles back? I said..sure..

so he hopped back on the tractor and not only pushed the brush piles back this time to the east of the target range (yesterday was west and north)..and he cleared a huge area of the woods that was mostly dead trees and unwanted saplings..and he made a road around to our east field and pond area..about 20 ' wide..and a clearing about 40 x 40 ' and pushed the brush pile off to the east of all of this into the middle of an alder swamp area.

we will leave the brush pile in the alder swamp to decompose and it will give cover to wildlife..now on the edge of the woods/swamp/pond/field area..which will be great for woodland creatures to use..and we'll now also have great access now from our pond through the woods and around to the cleared area and the beautiful trees, gun range, and back to the food forest garden south of the woods..

how wonderful...all with just two days of playing on the tractor for my 35 year old son..and i'm totally thrilled.

now the deer and bear can go through the woods and the wildlife corridor along our fenceline and be able to cross from our rear woods to the swamp south of our property across the road..fairly safely (other than the cars on the road)..and they don't have to bother my gardens if they don't want..as they now have a path made not only for us but for them to get through easily..(see my deer experiement post)..
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we still have a lot of clay that is piled that was removed from our pond dig (enlargement)..that will eventually be pushed into these areas and will cover some of the dead trees that Joel pushed over with the tractor..so it will kinda be like flat hugelkulture beds..dead brush and trees buried under the pond muck and clay and sand..

this will be quite fertile soil..and really all it was was brush..mostly saplings no bigger around than  my finger..or dead aspen trees and a few dying wild cherry trees..so now we will be able to develop this area into a forest garden area..there will be less brushy weedy stuff and a little more sunshine will get into the area..but not a lot.

now that i can "walk" in that area comfortably I can also plant wildlife and human life plants back into the woodsy area in the now very fertile soil..along the "edges" of the clearings and the woods..i'm thinking now of all the cuttings i can take from my shrubs and plants to get starts into the woods ..for the wildlife and for us..like berry shrubs and wild plums and other fruit/berry bearing bushes and trees.

it will take a lot of work but now it will be less work than it would have been..as i can get in there with a riding mower and our dr trimmer..or a wheelborrow..or pick up truck..a little ways anyway..so it will be easier to work in this area..this is all just to the north of the food forest garden i have been working on for the past 2 1/2 years..and the baby black walnut, carpathina walnut and butternut trees and just north of our pond as well..so it is going to be a lot of fun ..yes and work..getting this into more than just aspen, maple, ash, alder, and wild cherry woods..

i did even find a baby maple tree that i saved and a pine..a few baby evergreens would be nice in this woods too..so i'll be planning 
 
Brenda Groth
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link to photos on facebook
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=25501&id=1846485863&l=6cdc75ac1b
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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well Joel got a wild hair and started moving more dirt again..no photos at this time.

he dug probably another 2 or 3' off of the top of the clay/dirt piles at the north side of the pond and spread them down over the area of woods that he had cleared of trees, burying more trees, and shrubs and mess under the soil..soil which had been dug out when we enlarged our own pond..so good dirt.

he says he isn't done..so i can't go crazy raking and planting it yet..duh..i have no patience
 
                        
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Brenda Groth wrote:

he says he isn't done..so i can't go crazy raking and planting it yet..duh..i have no patience


Wait -- you plant NUT trees, which take how many years to produce something edible, and you way you have no patience?  I'd hate to be around you when you're taking your time!  (Or are you simply at one with the Ents?)
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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oh i know, i hate when things take forever to get done..and usually i don't wait ..i go and do it myself..but with trees and plants, i guess i do have some patience..as i plant acorns and tree seeds and have seen them grow to pretty large plants..i have oaks i have planted from acorns about bearing age now..woo hoo.

but yeah, i have more patience than i give myself credit for.

i HATE waiting on people..but i guess i'm ok waiting on plants.

i guess i expect people to move faster than plants for some reason..but then also i realize they are busy and have their own lives..so with my short patience..i end up being the one that does most of it all herself..burdening myself way more than i should.

not sure what the ents are/is?
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Brenda Groth wrote:
not sure what the ents are/is?


Ents are creatures from "The Lord Of The Rings".  They are treeherders, who take care of the forests and do not take kindly to someone just coming in and cutting down their trees.  You'll see them in book/movie #2, "The Two Towers".
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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oh so i'm in trouble with the ENTs then for taking down a few trees? yikes..well at least i'm replanting with some "good" trees..

Aspens here in our area tend to be short lived trees, some live a little longer if they are really well protected ..but generally they die rather young, a slight injury and they get ukky and die..so we are having to remove them fairly regularly. They don't make the best firewood but we do burn them in our furnace in spring and fall..when we don't have to hold heat.

we have been replacing them with nuts, oaks, maples, white ash (which get the emerald ash borers in some areas), and i also have been putting in more and more fruit trees ..which also make good firewood when they are mature..and are cutting out some of the dying wild cherry trees which are also short lived and draw in tent worms.

i guess i am a "tree hugger" I totally love trees and plant them by the gobs every year..i have put in more than 100 just this year..this is our 39th year on this property and i have planted trees every single year we have been here
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Brenda Groth wrote:
oh so i'm in trouble with the ENTs then for taking down a few trees? yikes..well at least i'm replanting with some "good" trees..

Aspens here in our area tend to be short lived trees, some live a little longer if they are really well protected ..but generally they die rather young, a slight injury and they get ukky and die..so we are having to remove them fairly regularly. They don't make the best firewood but we do burn them in our furnace in spring and fall..when we don't have to hold heat.

we have been replacing them with nuts, oaks, maples, white ash (which get the emerald ash borers in some areas), and i also have been putting in more and more fruit trees ..which also make good firewood when they are mature..and are cutting out some of the dying wild cherry trees which are also short lived and draw in tent worms.

i guess i am a "tree hugger" I totally love trees and plant them by the gobs every year..i have put in more than 100 just this year..this is our 39th year on this property and i have planted trees every single year we have been here


Actually, the care you're showing the trees would probably earn you good marks from the Ents, esp. since you're so diligent about planting new ones.  I'm kinda like you, in that if I lived on a property that could support them I'd probably be planting trees too.  We've been losing ash trees to the emerald ash borer in our area too, to the point where you're not permitted to transport wood from ash trees from one county to another.  Ironic, because most of the ash trees around here were planted to replace those lost to Dutch Elm Disease.  I wonder if it's safe to plant elms now?

When I was growing up, we spent summers by a lake, in a place called "Fair Oaks Beach."  Well, there wasn't any beach to speak of, but we had oaks.  In a lot about 50ft x 100ft we had close to 50 oak trees that had grown up over the years.  The grass in the back yard was sparse and thin because A) the trees blocked out so much light, and B) the soil was so acid from all the oak leaves.  We wound up cutting down at least a quarter of the trees.  We had so much firewood that it was almost 20 winters before we used up all of those oaks.
 
Brenda Groth
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in our area a lot of elms have grown up to full size that made it through the dutch elm disease epidemic..however..this past year, they all died.. not sure if it was the weather or something else..but they are all dead..every last one of them....standing skeletons..so sad.

the dnr was even trying to start baby trees from these as it was so rare to find an alive elm tree..but now ..they are all gone..so probaby their babies are dead as well.

i'm considering getting the plugs you put in the trees, drill and fill..for the emerald ash borers..it is so hard to fight nature..

bill Mollison talks about how when a tree gets injured it sends out some kind of hormones or something that draws in the "tree killers" and our tree had been hit by lightenning a few times..

bill had a name for these things but i can't remember what it was..

i still allow the baby white ash to grow around here..figure even if they do die at 20 feet or more, they will make some firewood..i haven't had any completely die yet..

but now i'm thinking toward other trees for planting ..those that we haven't seen die from disease, like maples and oaks..rather than the ash and elms and aspen and cherries, which seem to be more short lived anymore.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we are nearing D day here, DIG Day..

we are planning on renting a backhoe for Labor day weekend (get 2 days free that way)..and digging our pond much much deeper, about 80 % of it is bone dry right now and the deep areas are holding water..so deeper is better.

we hope to use the dirt from the dig to line and level paths in our woodland area.

SO

I have spent the past few weeks any free time I have, going through the trails we are building into our woods and cutting stumps level with the ground, cutting out and removing brush from the trails and digging and moving savable plants from the new to be built trails through the woods.

moved a baby Canadian hemlock this weekend that was going to get destroyed.

still have a lot of brush to move before the weekend and the deeper i can get the trails cleared back into the woods, the more that can get covered with the soil from the pond dig, so i hope to cut a few more trails into the woods this week.

also have some large brush piles to move,hope to get to that today..at least a start on them..and we have run into some posts and old barbed wire that needs removing too.

have found an ideal area on the south edge of our woods north of the pond that i hope to clear to put our garden swing in, tucked between some aspen trees just a bit away from a butternut tree and facing out over the pond that hopefully will be really nice after the dig this next weekend...this is piled now with dead trees adn brush and an old trailer axle so it needs to be cleaned up anyway..there is one spot where aspen trees grew up through some chimney blocks that had been stacked at the edge of the woods..so they'll have to be cut down eventually to get the blocks out of there..but right now it is an interesting thing to see, the trees with blocks around their trunks.

the swing here will be in shade for most of the afternoon..which is helpful when it is hot..so this will be nice, and it will also be out of the way...and the mess will be gone.

i have been spreading some seeds into the ares of the woods that are kinda cleared but won't be trails..more or less open areas under the trees where the sun reaches a little..mostly shady loving flower seeds like foxgloves, bluebells, columbines and violets..which will make the edge of the woods pleasant..but i hope to plant some berry bearing bushes along the paths after they are done..(already have raspberry and blackberry in one area)..prefereably not thorny berries, more like goumi, elderberry, blueberries, etc.

i want to make this an area that i'll enjoy walking around in, and keeping up..rather than just a chore..

so hopefully there will be new photos ready to take after this week, of new pond digging and new trail buildinig..

i have some of the trails pretty much done, but some are very rough and with my "trip fall" problems ..smooth safe trails i can mow with the rider are my goal
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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well this morning i moved 3/4 of a huge brush pile that was in the woods to a new location ..buried under that brushpile was a trailer axle and tires..woo hoo, it is in good shape and so that will be hauled off to have a trailer built on it.

this afternoon i started from the traile that we had begun to cut into our woods..and cut a trail 150 ' north through the woods along our west property line to an old barn back in the woods..cleared an area around the old barn..cut another trail about 50' to the east and then did a wide circle back to the starting point, another 150' trail back through the woods to where i had started..

cleared these trails wide enough to mow with the lawn tractor about 2 tractor widths wide in most of the areas..and some clearing areas a little wider..they are pretty decent so they'll be good walking trails for now..hope to widen them up enough to get the big tractor and maybe even the pick up truck through eventually, but right now just wide enough in some spots to squeeze the lawn tracter through.

started a trail farther to the north, so i could get to the apple tree and some maples.but ran into a lot of downed trees and logs that will have to be cleeared out before i can continue to the north.

when i was walking in the woods i found a clump of jack in the pulpit berries, so i'll be planting them along the trail....and hopefully i'll be also planting a lot of wildflowers along the trails this fall (seeds) and next spring (divisions) and also thought about putting in some cuttings now that i know where the trails are going to be.

i was thinking cuttings of smoke, barberry, olive, honeysuckle, etc, and maybe some grape and other vines up a few dead trees..

i'm really happy about having these walking trails in now..it might not seem like a big thing..but we weren't able to access this area of our woods at all up until today..so this is a big deal to us..
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=27735&id=1846485863&l=3907748836

photo link to photos i took this morning of the trails that i built over the past two days..kinda rough yet but very happy with the work i have gotten done.

the first several pictures are from our garden north to an old barn that is in our woods, then the next several are taking a second trail through the woods back to the original trail, near our garden..and the last several are where i cut a trail to the east through the woods and around an old fort that was built, and then back to the clearing north of our pond, you can see Joel's house (green siding) through the woods beyond the pond..and our garden fence and tractor in a few, our house has the grey siding, our neighbors has the gold..and they own the pole barn...

did most of these trails with just pruners, ryobi battery operated chain saw, rake and a riding zero turn lawn mower
 
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