Monday, March 31, 2014
Last week I completed my task of removing the loblolly pines from our stand of longleaf pines that are three years old and we had just put a fire through them. This was a task that is not a normal practice but I wanted to make this stand as pure as I could. The next time we burn, the loblolly pines that might now come up in the stand will be killed by the fire because they will be small. Twenty years from now this will be a beautiful site to see as these pines start to reach to the sky.
It took some time to complete this project which I started with a machete as we burned and then I completed this project with a weed cutter that I rigged up with a 10" saw blade a few days later.
We don't just work, we have to play sometimes! James, now seven, spent part of the time he was with us on Spring break last week panning for gold in one of our streams. He is all into rocks and mineral now and was excited about what we were doing that day. We found some gold (dust) in the stream but no big nuggets. He has the gold in a glass jar. Maybe next time we will find a nugget!
About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt
weigh-in and Awards Luncheon. The largest turkey taken weighed 23 pounds and came from Dan Moultrie's place. The winning hunter, from Texas, was the son of the owner of Academy Sports and Outdoors. This was not his first turkey but of the ten harvested those two days two were first time turkey hunters.
This event is held each year by the Department of Conservation and Governor's Office to bring business owners to our state to see the richness of our outdoors in hopes of recruiting more business to locate here in our state.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Nathan made this video of the prescribed burn on our McCollum Tract of the eight year old longleaf pines. We got a perfect burn that day with all the weather conditions falling right in to place. I walked the property this morning and the tract looks great. The deer and turkey think so too!
I hope you enjoy the video.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
This weekend Mattie, one of our granddaughters, helped us with road work. Her mom and baby brother was with us part of that time for his first trip out into the forest. Mattie helped remove limbs from the road as we cut them making it easier to access the property.
Mattie loves being outside as you can well tell by the smile on her face. She is a good helper!
Friday, March 7, 2014
This picture was taken in 2008 of the two year old longleaf pines on our McCollum Tract at the first burn.
Some people say they don't want to plant longleaf pines because they grow too slow, I differ with their thinking. Yes, the longleaf pines we now see in the National Forest are very old but at one time the Native Americans here in our part of the state burned the forest quite often to open it up for hunting. These trees co-existed with fire and fire was what made them thrive.
This year we burned this tract for the third time since planting and the picture below is of this same tree above six years older and now they have been growing for eight. Some of these trees are now 20 feet tall. Loblolly pines at eight years of age would be no taller than these. Now, I am not saying every stand needs longleaf pines planted on it but where their native habitat is and if it is a place you can use fire, I would say plant longleafs. These trees as a stand will be more valuable in the life of the trees because a majority of this stand will be poles because of their straight growth, bringing more money.
The real value comes in the aesthetics, the beauty of these mountain longleaf pines growing, and the benefits to wildlife. It becomes a deer, turkey, quail, and rabbit home.
It takes more management but for us the benefits far out weigh cost.
This picture was made on a different tract this year but it shows what three year old longleaf pines look like after a fire has gone through them.
This video was taken in the snow at the end of January this year. The animal walked close to the camera and was half way by when it was activated.
Everyone says it looks like a bear to them but we can't say for sure because we can't see the head. It looks black and the hair looks long but just not a definite thing. About three miles to the north of here a bear was photographed last year in the National Forest.
We are having more and more sightings of bears in Clay and Cleburne County. There were several pictures this year of bears in food plots in Cleburne County. I hope our numbers will continue to build because the black bear once call this place home and I would love to see them come back. It could be like Cades Cove right here at home.
OH! by the way they are no threat to humans, we are a threat to them.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Last Friday the Clay County Forestry Planning Committee held its annual Tree Give-Away program in conjunction with Arbor Day. Each year we give away several hundred trees to the public. This year we held the give-away in Lineville at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store.