Thursday, July 22, 2010

Report from the back 40

Windhook literally has a back 40 acres, and I took my first hike up there this summer. (I've been pretty busy with the front 18) Here's what I found today.

  • Two large trees down across the jeep trail, and numerous smaller branches, all from winter storms. Also a medium small tree down in the fairy circle.
  • A bee tree I didn't know about. It has one of the downed trees leaning up against it, and will probably need to have the bees moved to a hive before I start cutting. The bee tree is bringing in bright yellow pollen, whereas the hive I am managing is bringing in greyish pollen. They are within 1500 feet of each other, so this is curious. These two hives must be foraging from extremely localized sources.
  • Several new patches of distaff, a noxious thistle that tends to invade and choke grazing land. I clear up whatever I find every year in July before it sets seeds.
  • More Italian thistle and bull thistle than ever before. These are not considered problem weeds by ranchers but I would prefer less rather than more. The solution is to get cows on the hills.
  • The high spring is running as always. low volume but steady. It will supply a water trough when the cows go in.

So my work is cut out for me. time to tune up the chain saws, take the backhoe off the tractor, find the choke chain and cables and head up the hill to do a little logging. (We get more firewood than we can use just from clearing winter storm damage.)