Use of the Forest

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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another fallen tree & a reminder of things to come

Yet another fallen ash tree met me as I returned home yesterday. I went out with the chainsaw and bowsaw in order to chop it up before the rains came. After about 30 minutes, it was done; the trunk chopped into ~4' lengths.

I think that it might be a good idea to try and at least do a survey of the locations of the ash trees in the forest. Perhaps a better idea to try and chop them down if they are a threat to falling on the road, one of the paths, or on the "Frog man's" research site. Of course, ash trees are really quite a pain in the butt to cut when they are lying on the ground, and I can only imagine how much more difficult they will be to chop down from standing.

Still, there are many dead ash trees in the woods, and it might be an interesting part of the management plan to see if some of these regions can be replanted with something in order to minimize the amount of shrubby and weedy invasions to the affected areas. (After all, if we don't want buckthorn and honeysuckle, then shouldn't part of the plan be to plant these areas with trees that will shade out the early growth of these plants?)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stuff growing

The small vegetation is growing. Mosses cover the ground and the stumps of trees.

I also was able to cut away some of the trees that fell across trails during the winter.

Strange fauna in the forest

Sometimes, I have stumbled across some strange animals in the forest. "Strange" not in that the animal itself is strange, but rather "strange" in that they are not expected to be found in the forest (or at least a forest in Southeastern Michigan).

Last summer, there were feral cats, preceded in the winter by a Russian duck. Today, it was a peacock.


Spring morning

Waking up today,
I catch the first morning song.
Birds sing in the spring.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Drillers done.... I guess.

So I came home last night to find that the drillers were finished with their work, had packed up, and had left a mud smear and (slightly) torn-up road where they were.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Got to the shale bedrock: 215'

The "sonic drilling" rig reached the shale bedrock, having drilled down roughly 215'.


They may (or may not) put in a monitoring well in this location. If they don't it'll be kind of a waste of time and money (and a bit of a hassle for maintenance, too, what with the saturated ground being sat upon by and heavy equipment). Still, it's kind of cool to see the shale that forms the bedrock in this part of the state.

U-M Limnology class on the waters

The U of M limnology class has returned for another outing of lake measurements on Third Sister Lake.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Peepers!

Tonight's the first night of hearing what might be called the beginnings of a chorus of spring peepers in the pond next to the cabin.

Drillers setting up

Drillers are setting up for the creation of (what I hope will be) the final monitoring well on-site. This is a different drill team than was used in previous drills, and they are using a different technology: sonic drilling. They expect to get started tomorrow morning and I expect them to be here through Friday.

The location of the new hole will be toward the west end of the lawn about the same distance from the road as the other two lawn wells, which will make it easier for the well-monitoring teams while also being (ultimately) easy on the lawn and minimally affecting the planned wheel-chair soft-path access to the lake.

Rebuilding the compost containment

Compostable materials from the caretaker's house get put into the compost pile located just behind the cabin. The compost containment system that was in place when I moved in was built out of the pavers moved to Saginaw Forest (for eventual re-use) from the Dana building during its renovation (back in 2000-2002), and were the same set of brick pavers that I used for building the paths to the outer buildings, as well as to the compost pile.

Anyway, I noticed that a corner of the old containment system had finally failed; one corner that had been precariously leaning outward had finally tumbled down. Whether this last event was caused by a squirrel peeking into the container or just the longer process of freezing, melting, and settling is not known. However, much like the pavers used to make the path, the compost pile's walls were set directly onto the soil, which meant that drainage and settling would eventually be a problem.

I decided to re-build the system, locating it a little closer to the cabin, at the end of the brick-paver path that I had constructed just shy of the old container (the gutter's down-spout had been blocking direct access), in a location that is flatter than the slight slope of the old location. As well, I gave it a bed of bricks and built the walls two-bricks thick. I'm toying with the idea of also filling the bottom of the containment with sand -- to aid with drainage.


Right now, I'm trying to find someone to take away the old compost.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Geese, ducks, and robins: Oh, my!

Yup, yup, yup! Spring is coming, and while the temperatures of the last couple weeks might have fooled some people, the lengthening days are making slow and steady progress in shifting the forest into spring.

The first thing that one notices -- in addition to the very slow melting of the piles of plowed snow, still here days after the slow retreat of the snow on the lawn -- is the dissonant chorus of geese as they fly above the forest, making their way roughly northward. (Although when they fly over the forest, they seem as often to fly east to west than south to north.) Some of them splash down in Third Sister, but most -- thankfully -- continue past. For those that do splash down, I have to ensure that they don't want to settle in (I'm not a large fan of goose-poop).

Following the geese are ducks, and I saw some paddling around the lake. They come in, gliding downward to the lake, and paddle around, quacking up a storm when they do.

Going around the forest yesterday, I also saw a perfusion of robins (hop-hop-hopping along) pecking at the ground. They're back a little later than in years past (or perhaps I'm just noticing them now).

The forecast for Sunday calls for rain, which will (hopefully) finally get rid of the mounds of icy-snow that remain on the property.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ducks on the water

Welcome back to the ducks!

Looking out this morning, I saw three ducks trolling across Third Sister. I suppose spring is coming.