Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs of Spring

Some nights ago I had a dream about my dog breaking out of the house into the night. He gleefully leaped about the "yard" snapping up frogs. The dream felt very real, as he a) loves eating frogs and b) loves to escape. Although he is a winter dog, he admits there are perks to the summer--eating frogs being the main one.

The following afternoon, I heard something I hadn't experienced in many months: a symphony of frogs. The dream was a premonition!

The week has been filled with interesting elements. It's been fun watching the snow and ice melt away from its final strongholds. There are still a few patches, but I imagine they won't last another week. On Monday I shoveled a dead raccoon off the trail along the berm. Today I removed a downed tree. The pup took care of the sticks. Team teamwork.

Selfie with dog turns into stick getting pushed into chin.

You are the cutest thing that ever happened to forest management.

I saw the first spring flowers opening up beside the cabin--unfortunately they are a non-native garden escapee (siberian squill). Lovely shade of blue, though.

And finally--the willows!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring.

Perfect Saturday morning: Up early. Toast. Tea. Hike. Ax.

Winter seems to have kind of come back this morning, but I rather liked it. The brisk air was the perfect temperature while I worked up a sweat hacking at a fallen ash, Leto singing his displeasure nearby. Pushing the log out of the way, the chilly breeze was refreshing.

The leaves have frozen on the ground, so as we made our typical morning rounds they produced a pleasant crunch beneath the feet.

Being "spring," I have a growing list of things to do, some done, some not. Carpenter ants have been making appearances in the cabin, so I laid out ant bait. Now dead carpenter ants are making appearances around the cabin. Debris collecting in the gutters from winter melts was cleared out this morning. Tools need sharpening.

Leto got giardia this week from his nasty habit of drinking out of muddy puddles in the driveway. This meant some unexpected items on the to-do list.

Two mornings ago, we saw a coyote precariously slipping around out on the ice, off to do who-knows-what.

The world just seems to be waking up. Myself included.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Planning ahead!

Spring is approaching. So is garlic mustard.

I'm interested in making an email list of folks who want to get down and dirty volunteering with me in the woods this spring/summer. If getting face deep in raspberry prickles, buckthorns, and poison ivy is your bag, come join the fun! There will be snacks--and my amazing company--to heal some of the emotional (if not physical) wounds.

What I look like at the end of everyday between May and September.

If you're interested, please email saginawforestcaretaker@umich.edu, and I will put you on the email list for this season's fun in the sun.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Today's Lesson

Axing downed trees is fun.

Axing downed trees after slipping on ice and smashing your tailbone is NOT so fun.

I generally prefer the ax to the chainsaw, for no other reason than that the physical act of swinging feels so much more rewarding. My target for today was also still half-buried in ice/snow, despite the fact that the world is melting. Since I couldn't see how far deep I needed to cut, I would have been more comfortable using the ax even if I didn't like it. I needed to make two cuts.

Sadly, on this morning's hike, I slipped on the ice going downhill, soundly slamming directly onto my tailbone.

So glad no one was around. The exclamations of agony rivaled Nancy Kerrigan.

Only a few swings in, I knew I was going to have a rough time. The pain resonating up from my hindquarters after the impact of each blow was almost as bad as falling all over again. I valiantly toiled through one of the planned cuts (of course it had to be a hardwood!!), and then waddled back home to nurse my pride.

I think I'll be finishing the job with the chainsaw.

A short but sweet cautionary tale. Watch out for the ice!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Poop party!

It feels like winter is letting go today...though I know that's not true. A couple more inches of snow expected within the next few days, and back to the 20s!

The driveway is a river of snowmelt, but it will take more than a day to vanquish this winter blanket. We enjoyed the warmth on rounds today, and the lovely sunshine.

We did NOT enjoy the EXCESSIVE amount of dog poop occurring on the trails. That's right, I said ON. Folks, please be responsible pet owners, and pick up after your dogs. And keep them on leashes. My dog is on a leash. My dog's poop is in a little blue baggie. If you need a baggie, stop by the cabin--I have many! I'm not sure why this little problem comes in phases like this. Sometimes it's fine, and sometimes its a poop party. And I can tell the difference between coyotes' and dogs'. Trust me.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Updates!

Where have I been!?

So sorry.

It is a great irony to me how often I hear the questions:
"How are you holding up out there?"
"Are you staying warm in the cabin?"
"Is that outhouse heated?"
"Are you stuck?"

Ironic, because they make this winter in the woods seem such a hardship. But the answer to all of these is that it is fine. It is more than fine. The furry Duke and I, we are winter folk. Truth be told, when I am not slaving away at school work, we are outside scurrying through the trees about 2 hours a day. With all the snow, I've wanted to keep tabs on all of the leaners, to be on top of fallen branches in the trails. I like to track the boot steps of visitors to see where they go off trail and why. I like to look for the deer in the early morning (encountered a herd of ten, walking single file down the trail this AM).

But that's enough words, I suppose. Instead, enjoy some photos. I made sure to take some from out on the lake today! I've been meaning to do so for a while. Happy winter to all. May it drag out indefinitely!