Sunday, November 29, 2009

Declaring war on the oriental invasion

Nope, you haven't stumbled across a rabid racist or border-closer blog rant. About a month ago, a pair of friendly wood-tromping chaps from the Forest Service came by to check out our property and provide us with a forest management plan. With our 11.69 acres (1.5 in grass), we snuck into this program that offers planning assistance to landowners with at least 10 acres of forest.

Overall the report is good. Our woods were likely grazed once, which fits with the surrounding land. The forest has grown back as a native mix including yellow popular, oak of every color (red and yellow, black and white...), hickory, and white pine. We also have flowering dogwood, American holly, sourwood, hemlock and a few shortleaf pine. The trees range from 40 to 100+ years old and are growing well without major disease or insect damage. We have little woolly bugs eating our few hemlocks, but the forest guys thought we should just leave them alone. I'm not sure on this one, as I've become quite fond of the tiny-pine-coned hemlocks. But I'm not declaring war on the hemlock woollies just yet. I'm choosing my battles and reserving my ranks for another front.

See that pretty little plant up there? Yeah, a real looker. Oriental bittersweet. You would recognize this beauty at the flower shop. With its multi-toned orange berries, it is very popular for fall arrangements and wreaths. But as always, beware the beauty. This vicious deciduous visitor grows rapidly, twirling around its hosts and strangling them.

Our invasion is considered controllable at this point. It's mostly confined to edges around open areas - where past users of our property cleared out their hunting stands. Our options for controlling it basically include pulling it out of the trees and bushes, uprooting where we can and cutting and chemically-treating the stems where we must. And no, there is no non-chemical answer to this one. Even the greeniest greenies have a little Round-Up in their arsenal.

So that's the plan. Think big thick gloves, long pants, proper tromping boots and a coat that wards off thorny spikes. Even properly geared I was picking thorns out of my fingers and "unders" as Bella would say.

At least we can burn it. So we'll combine our battle with a bonfire and perhaps selection of our Charlie Brown Christmas trees. A fitting finish to our thanks-filled weekend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I've been suffering from a serious lack of creative energy lately. I attribute it to too many rainy days, an extended soccer season, and missing a certain goofy dog who no longer wakes me with his snoring. So here's what I can do for now. Here are a few favorite memories of our beloved Boz.

And I like this photo of the house. This was a couple weeks ago, when there were still leaves on the trees and the house had only 1 coat of stain. The house looks better now, but the trees are bare.