Use of the Forest

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


IMG_1373First (significant) snow of the season. Hopefully some will stick around tonight (ought to with the temperatures the way they seem to be set to be), and then I can get a nice photo in the morning.

Recounting last week

Tuesday: Picked up the lawnmower and chainsaw from Larry's Mower Shop. Fantastic repair and maintenance job!

Wednesday: Processed repair and maintenance receipts at the U. They have a new system is fully automated. Unfortunately, it took longer for me to figure out the system than it did to actually fill in the requisition. However, the repayment is posting through far faster than the 4-6 weeks of the old system.

Cut the rest of the ashThursday: Cut out the felled ash trees north of the boardwalk as well as the larger one across the main path. The chainsaw really cut that stuff up nice and easy, thanks to the repair. Moved seven wheel-barrow loads of ash wood to the barn. Now I've got a bit of wood that can start to dry out for the winter.

(compare this to when I had to leave it before the chainsaw seized up)

I am thankful on this day for people who follow the rules, even on holidays (because the rules do still stand on the holidays). Went to a house of some friends for Thanksgiving, and returned at about 1am.

Friday: Woke up late from the Thanksgiving coma. Stayed in as a tacit boycott of "Black Friday".

Saturday: Had to inform some people that Saginaw Forest is a research facility and not a park, no matter what they might think it is, or thought it was over the years. Yes, it's been a research facility since before you were born (unless you happen to have been born before 1904), and it's never been a park. Then went to watch the game (gotta love that win over Ohio State).

Sunday: Chopped some wood, sharpened the axe, then went to town.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Water sampling in Saginaw Forest

Today is water-sampling day. At 8:30, a water sample was taken from the cabin tap for bacteria and nitrates. Following that, at 9:00, a water sample was taken from the cabin tap for dioxane measurement.

The crew that was testing for bacteria an nitrates will be going to all the University of Michigan properties that are on wells (apparently there are 8 other UofM properties that are on wells other than the SNRE properties of Saginaw Forest, Stinchfield Woods, and the Newcomb Tract).

The dioxane sampling in the 11 wells in the forest will take place throughout today, with the cabin sample being representative of the well up by the gate (which is where the cabin water comes from).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chainsaw ... seized up

Trying to clear more of that fallen ash tree, and about five minutes into it, the chainsaw seized up. It's off to Larry's Mower Shop with it tomorrow for a repair. I'll also be taking the lawnmower there to have it tuned up as well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How long are the trails in Saginaw Forest?

Three loopsWith the completion of the boardwalk structure (and the hopefully quick completion of the connecting pathway), there is a new loop path within Saginaw Forest. The figure to the left is based on a compilation of paths taken using my (rather basic) GPS unit, and as such, it should not be considered an official map of the paths in Saginaw Forest. It does, however, illustrate the three distinct loops that people can walk within the property: Northern loop (~0.5 mi), Third Sister Lake loop (~0.8 mi) and Southern loop (~0.75 mi).

What isn't shown is the walking path through the "Arboretum" section of the facility, where the wooden "teepee" stands. This little detour doesn't add that much to the length of the Third Sister Lake loop.

The pathways are not absolutely correct, because my GPS unit isn't the best one that money can buy (I'm just a poor grad student, after all), and, because of this, the tree cover seriously hampers the ability of the unit to get a good fixed signal. Also, the lengths are rough estimates, made by using the distance tool in Google Earth. Still, I think that it does a good job of showing the rough distances that each of the three (!) loops are.

The length of the "outer loop" is roughly 1.3 mi.
The distance from the gate to the cabin is roughly 0.45 mi.
Distance from the gate to the cabin and along the "outer loop" (returning to the cabin) and then back to the gate is roughly (0.45 mi +1.3 mi +0.45 mi) 2.2 mi.

Now, if someone wanted to do an interactive and informative map of Saginaw Forest to take with you on that 2.2 mile trek, that would be awesome!

Lovely evening view

IMG_1177The evening view from the boardwalk is quite nice, indeed. I stopped on the boardwalk last night while taking back some more cut ash to take this photo, complete with overhanging branches of a largish buckthorn. I don't know if I should be trying to take out the buggers or not; they have become rather ubiquitous along the shoreline, no doubt due to being shat out by all the birds that eat these diarrhea-inducing berries. Too, as many of them have matured to berry-bearing state, I doubt that I would be able to actually stem (heh-heh-heh) their spread too much: future caretakers will have to continue to keep an eye out for new recruits.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cut about seven feet of fallen ash

IMG_1176An ash tree had fallen just north of the new boardwalk, and this one was -- large though it was -- small enough for me to handle with my chainsaw (unlike the one that fell further north on the old pathway). Still, these ash trees are hard to remove. I had to top up the chainsaw twice before I got it all done, and I'll have to sharpen the chainsaw. Still, it's a good little bit of an addition to my firewood.

The path is now open, although not fully cleared. I was unable to finish clearing the whole path before dusk, and I didn't really relish the idea of using a chainsaw in the dark while standing on a muddy path.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weather nice for this weekend.

The weather is supposed to get into the 50s this weekend. That should be nice: another weekend of trekking around the forest before it will (likely; finally) get to be late-November cold.

It's surprising how many of the invasive trees and shrubs are still holding on to green leaves. I think that I will try to chop some more of them back now that they stand out all the more... They should turn into nice firewood.

Also, the old wooden retaining wall immediately to the east of the cabin is finally in terminal-failure condition. However, unless I build something soon, I'll likely have to wait until the spring to get onto it (and hope that not too much erosion happens in the meantime). Maybe I can build up something with the bricks? Hrm....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bricks used for Dana Building

Landscape Architecture professor S. Jones came out this morning to take a bunch of brick pavers for use in the redesigned Dana garden. He may take some more later. However, most of two pallets have been taken. Their re-use is a good thing. I wish that I could find more uses for them.

Engineers in the forest

Another semester, and another bunch of engineers came to the forest for initiation. Small fire and some chanting under the full moon. Happily, they were able to burn off some of the brush that I cleared last week.

Mice in the cabin again

Argh. It must be fall. Not because the leaves are mostly off the trees. Not because the weather is (finally) getting cold enough to put frost on the window. But because there are mice once again in the cabin. I've put the traps back out, but I have to find something better than peanut butter to put on the snap-traps: the buggers just nibble it out softly enough that it doesn't actually trigger the trap.

I continue to use the live traps, though.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Board walk completed, but...

The structure of the boardwalk itself is completed. It's actually quite a nice structure, and will make walking around the forest a lot nicer: the views of the lake are quite good.

The only construction portion of the project is the creation of the gravel path on the north side of the boardwalk, connecting it to the path.