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Second trip to the top...


By Lori


Yesterday the temperatures moderated and it didn’t snow! Usually warmer temps bring snow with it…but we were lucky yesterday, as the trudge was arduous enough, because we received about 8 inches of fresh powder snow early last week!
The hillside is steep in places and we chose to come straight down the fall line rather than angle across the hill…It was slow and careful going.

With the snow well over our boot tops, Jeff and Katherine and I stopped often to catch our breath and take in the surroundings…

At approx. the the halfway point there is a grove of Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Fir (Abies) on a level spot …a spot which may become the site of the first cabin. (Plans for cabins has expanded from one to two!)

The second cabin will be more of a storage shed for telescopes and gear and will be connected by a wooden walkway to a viewing platform on the lookout. At least this is how I’m dreaming it. Between that dream and reality…there is practicality! I’m hopeful that it’s like my vision, but I know a lot can change between the dream and the doing.

The ground between the summit and the grove is sloping and populated by a number of very old oaks, some rotting and outright dead aspen, spindly upshots and derelicts standing half consumed by insects and woodpeckers. The maples and beech which stood here have been taken by someone who wasn’t very careful in their removal. it’s obvious that in the last ten years it has been logged because what remains here are the very old and the very young… The young trees spindly and weak from growing beneath the canopy of the ancients.
From my Dad, I learned the “process” (if you can call it that) of the forest. In an old growth forest there are the four levels…the leaf litter on the forest floor, ground hugging plants who live in the acidic mulch, climbers that twine around the trunks of mature trees, and the leaf canopy of the hardwoods. When nature culls the forest, (usually with fire), the large trees are consumed, The seeds and cones in the forest mulch are scarified with the heat of the fire and the sun and greater amounts of moisture reach the forest floor…this brings on a flush of new growth…young aspen and birch grow fastest. The hardwood seedlings or the cones of the firs are sheltered by them, and when the aspen and the birch die off after 20 or 30 years…the young maples, oaks and beech are established and the forest growth, death and rebirth cycle repeats. Hardwoods grow more slowly and if they don’t succumb to disease, or get chopped down in their prime they become the hulking behemoths that hold sway on the upper part of our lot. This takes decades or even centuries.
On the hillside I’m seeing a very strange mix…and I’m concerned that there seems to be a lot of dieback from fungus, insect damage, and overcrowding.
This is the first step. When I climb up the hill I’m thinking of my Dad, and listening to talks we had with better ears! I’m thinking how my Dad would tackle what needs to be done. The need is not cosmetic…although it’s nice to see a well groomed tree lot…the need is to put the lot in a better order so that nature’s growth cycle can continue.
It is akin to gardening…but with a much lighter hand!

More blog posts by Lori

Previous post: Getting to Know the Terrain

Next post: Volume 3...Starting to Work



Thats a great concept and very well put..pity some people dont seem to learn these lessons before doing the damage hey Lori? Your Dad was a wise man in these ways, and you have a chance to make a mark for him, hopefully. I always admired the ways of the Red Indian in how they lived with and within nature.
I hope you have many years to do what you would both like...dont forget to keep a diary!

7 Feb, 2011


My word, it really is going to be both an adventure and learning curve Lori. It is fascinating reading your reports. Looks like you have a massive task ahead of you. I wish you luck. Take care

7 Feb, 2011


Im so grateful to you Lori for writing such descriptive but interesting reports ~ i love reading them, i feel as if im learning forest lore, history, geography, biology and looks as if astrology could be on the list eventually!!
it will be fascinating to read your diary ~ i do hope you write it as tetra says! ~ with pictures!!
thanks again for your intriguing blogs.

7 Feb, 2011


That was a really interesting read Lori. I love the thought of you nurturing this somewhat abused woodland and restoring it's ability to flourish. That's something really worthwhile! :)

7 Feb, 2011


Thanks Lori. I really admire your depth of knowledge, and the energy you must have to contemplate all that work ahead! Do you wait for the snow to melt before you start . . . and how long a season do you get before the bad weather starts again??
It will be so interesting to keep up with your progress on here - if you have the time to write about it. :)

7 Feb, 2011


i will second that sheila!
i was watching that program on canada last night where ray mears was looking at an old defence post on hudson bay, he said that it didnt open until june last year because of snow drifts!!

7 Feb, 2011


Thanks, everyone, for the support!
Sheila: Taking away the logs, and cutting and felling trees is easier in the winter. Wood that is green (i.e. growing when it was cut) has to be cut and should be piled to dry for at least two winters before using, as burning green wood increases the creosote build up in the pipes of your woodstove!(and hence...chimney fires!) The cutting of scrub is also most easily done in the winter as it is visible above the snow...but the actual clean up work is best done in late spring. Then you can see what's blooming, what's dying, where trees may be injured and leaking sap, and where to thin the canopy for more light to younger trees.
November is usually the darkest month, cold and wet. It's about the only time I don't like working in the bush.
Tetra, Cinders, Sticki and Karen: I must appear a little crazy...taking on this at my stage in life. lol...thanks for your kind comments and support...and yes, I will be very careful!

7 Feb, 2011


Like everyone else Lori I am enjoying your blog's they are fascinating, the picture's are good.

7 Feb, 2011


Great that you love your new home so much, it really shows!

7 Feb, 2011


loved reading this chapter Lori, i cant believe how much energy you have and what your going to be doing, all sounds fascinating and nice to hear your dreams and also how it reminds you of your dad,is this work on your land or is it something that people do when they live in mountain areas to keep the trees going when using them for heat etc,keep us posted, enjoy it all :o)

7 Feb, 2011


loved reading this so much...its great to get an insite of life on the other much land have you taken custody of?
our land was devoid of trees when we moved here eighteen years ago. but we have planted over two hundred trees most of which have come from seed..including one canadian redwood which marks our deerhound Dylans grave..big tree for a big dog....
looking forward to watching it all unfold in the spring... :-)

7 Feb, 2011


Hello Sandras!
Sanbaz: Many of the people here use the wood from their property to help defray heating costs. We have a woodstove/fireplace in our livingroom and as yet we have not used it. We have plenty of wood, but I have problems with wood smoke! STrange I know.
Sandra: According to our deed, we have just under 8 acres. I am looking at forests now, in a whole new way. I've always marvelled at how deforested Great Britain is. Are there any areas of forest primeval left in GB? I know there are areas of Scotland now where reforestation is being done. When I see pics of Scotland I see that the land here is very much like that. Glens and burns, etc. LOL... Part of my family came from Wales a number of generations back but I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know a great deal about Wales, so the best way to learn is to ask, right? What trees are native to a Welsh forest?

7 Feb, 2011


I'm no expert on Welsh trees either Lori. here in Pembrokeshire which is on the west coast i dont think we have much untuched woodland. mostly its been cleared for farming. there are miles and miles of hedgerows full of ash, birch, black thorn, willow and hazel. there is a scheme call tir gofal which is encouraging farmers to replant their hedges and protect them from the cattle this way we can farm and regenerate the native plants.
this is a link to a full list of pembrokeshire natives...
now we will both know

7 Feb, 2011


Thanks Sandra! I have read a bit about the hedgerows.
good to have an update. took a look at the Pembrokeshire coastal park site.... also joined a facebook group ...It looks absolutely beautiful, Sandra. I can see why you'd brave the horizontal rain...a very special place to live. Lucky you!

8 Feb, 2011


we each have a cross to bare to live in such glorious spots...i cant wait to see whats under your blanket of snow.....

9 Feb, 2011


I'd be only too happy to "show and tell", if only the weather will cooperate! Usually don't see any trend toward spring until the equinox. Being in the country, I'm preparing for the MUD season. Mandy's feet are in better shape this winter...(no salt from the streets).

11 Feb, 2011


mud after the melt yes? garden is treacherous from all the rain...but today we have sunshine and husband and sons a present today so im hopeing they finish digging the veg plot. happy days..:-)

12 Feb, 2011


What I wouldn't give to be able to start to dig my veg plot in February!!! With all the help it should go quickly!

12 Feb, 2011

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