Use of the Forest

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Snow in Saginaw Forest

It's the end of March, and it's snowing! The last hurrah of winter? Let's hope so, because even I am getting a little tired of it. (Luckily, there is no flooding here.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Frog chorus on Third Sister Lake

I came home today and heard some frogs. This is but the beginning, but I feel sorry for those peepers, since the weekend (and next week) are supposed to be cold (possibly below freezing at night).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And now a turkey, too!

I'll admit, the first time I'd seen wild turkeys is when I was doing fieldwork in western Michigan, on the Muskegon River. We were driving to the DNR field station just off of Maple Island Road, and as we were driving down the dirt road to the station, there came a small flock of turkeys, running across the road. (Why did the turkey cross the road?) They didn't fly off, and we hypothesized that they might have been escapees from a nearby turkey farm.

However, the one this morning ran away and then flew off shortly after I took this photo.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Geese puttering about.

I suppose it really is spring. I spotted geese puttering about on the front lawn area. (I've also seen and heard songbirds over the past few days, but they are harder to photograph.) In only a few weeks, the I've been told that the frogs will be out in full chorus -- hopefully I can sleep through that without too much trouble... We shall see though.

Daphnia simming about in TSL

Dr. Sarnelle from MSU came down today to get a sample of Daphnia from TSL. No photos of the sample jar, but I can tell you that there are lots of Daphnia (and isopods) swimming about only one week after the lake thawed.

He expects to be back out again to do more checking.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Limnology class on Third Sister Lake

Today, a limnology outdoor lab class came out to Third Sister Lake to take advantage of the now-unfrozen lake (which only just happened this last weekend, thanks to very warm weather last Friday) and look at initial production on the lake.

In addition to this UofM class, EMU limno courses came out during this winter to walk out on the ice and did sampling through the ice.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Burning willow

With such nice weather today (20 Celsius and sunny), I took the advantage and worked to burn up all the willow I cut over the weekend as well as the some of the trimmed fir (hahahah), some rotting pallet-wood, and chunks of wet logs that were lying in the fire pit through the winter.

The embers are now all dying, but in the meantime, I found out why the Japanese used willow-wood in manufacturing samurai swords - the embers really burn warm and for a long time, even though the wood itself burns relatively quickly (of course, since I only used willow no thicker than 2 centimeters, that's not much of a surprise).

In addition, today I saw the "frog man"; Prof. Keith Berven from Oakland University. He's been coming out to Saginaw Forest for - he tells me - 25 years (!), and he was out here today setting up for this year's observations. He also told me to look forward to tree frogs in about a week, followed by spring peepers, and then gray frogs. I have weeks of frog choruses ahead of me. I am looking forward to it with anxiousness and trepidation both. Who knows, maybe I'll even be able to post some audio.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brick pavers

Thanks to all the bricks laying about from the 2000-2002 renovation of the S.T. Dana building, I utilised roughly one pallet to make paths that would otherwise be rather muddy during the springs. Over time, I hope that these will settle into the pathways and be more stable than they are now. Next thing to do is to consolidate multiple small piles of bricks into a single larger one.

I am also tempted to try and figure out a way of making nicer patterns out of the bricks, and also figuring out whether or not my circular saw can be used to cut broken bricks to fill in the spaces between the different paths...

More cleared willow

The area at the south end of Third Sister Lake has more willow cleared. Slowly, slowly, I suppose. A few more day's maintenance and it should be cleared out nicely. Meanwhile, there is a steady build-up of willow cuttings that are being dried for eventual burning.
This is Third Sister Lake in early Feburary.

Third Sister Lake today (some of the willow have been cut)
Piles of willow branches.

Cutting Willow

Yesterday I trimmed some of the willow near Third Sister Lake. Today I will finish it up. One statement about willow, though: it's a tenacious tree, and will grow in thicker each year. If it wasn't for the fact that its roots help hold down the bank, I would have tried to pull the roots... Photos coming of the results.

Of course, the anchoring ability of the trees is something that I wonder will help in shoring up the banks of the small creek that runs high every time there's rain or snowmelt... I'll have to talk with Bob Grese, who teaches methods in landscape restoration. (Maybe I can get him to come out here, too!)

Ahhh.... I spent two hours cutting willows and setting them out to dry for eventual bonfire burning. After that, I spent about three hours setting down bricks to make pathways. My arms are as tired as they have ever been, including when I used to be a live-in aikido student in Denver during 1999-2000.

My forearms are ... bleaugh. My lower back is also tight. I think I will have to go to the Relax Station. (Possibly tomorrow...) Hmmm...

Anywho, here are some of the photos from my maintenance work today.
Clearing willow

Setting bricks as paving stones

Friday, March 6, 2009

Clearing fallen trees

Just cleared a bunch of fallen trees on the property. That was vigorous and fun work. Many of the fallen trees were over one foot in diameter, and some of them were soggy with snowmelt, making the cutting difficult and the moving-out-of-the-way also difficult.

It started off somewhat annoyingly -- I'll admit that I didn't remember how to prime the chainsaw prior to it starting, but after a few minutes of fiddling, I figured it out. The previous caretakers told me that they had changed the chain prior to leaving, and the thing did cut like a hot knife through butter.

If I do end up getting a stove put in, then I am definitely up for doing more of that chainsawing. (Of course, I say that now... who knows what the future holds. Would I say that in September and October, when I have to start collecting the wood to burn during the winter? We'll see. If the school OKs the installation of a stove, of course.)

Photo of the cabin

Where I live now (little house in a small woods).