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 20, 2013

A Dusting of Snow

The below-freezing temperatures left a dusting of snow last night. Hopefully, this will be the last.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Damnable Garlic Mustard

It's sprouting up, and although it seems like I pulled out a bunch last year, it still surprises me how prevalent these plants are.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Heavy Rains Lead to Swollen Creek

These spring rains seem to have been heavier than the last years. Certainly, they're carrying away a lot of sediment from the creek.


As these rains get heavier, the structural stability of the pathway that runs along the creek will become increasingly compromised. Each time I see the sediment-stained waters flowing down from the culvert at the property line, I think, "If only the weirs were maintained or rebuilt. At least they would act as check-dams and not let all the sediment flow into Third Sister Lake..."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cleared a Large Pine that Had Fallen

Way back during the ice storm, a whole bunch of trees fell in the forest, including one large pine, whose upper half split from its trunk, crashing onto the walking path. Today, I took an axe to the problem:
Chopping wood

And finally, there was a cleared path.

I also threw the chopped branches over the detour path that visitors decided to make to get around the fallen pine. Even though it's only been about one month, the amount of foot traffic along that "detour" was really starting to cause soil compaction. (This is a reason why visitors need to stay on the paths.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Harbinger of spring

The crows are back,
Cawing in the rain-beaten morning.
Black heralds of spring.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Rains

Well, it's been raining heavily. Which is good, because it's not snowing anymore, but - together with all the meltwater - there's a lot of soggy ground...


... as well as serious sediment transport in the normally-dry creek.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A very late spring

Back in January, it looked like this winter might not actually be very strong; a second warm not-really winter. I was wrong.

In February and March, the snows and ice storm brought down a number of trees and also took out the power. The downed trees were too dangerous for me to cut up, so a crew came out and took out a number of the cedars, maples, and oaks that fell across the main road. (Unfortunately, none of that damnable buckthorn was broken.) The box elder (Acer negundo that borders the east side of the grassy area may well have to come down this spring. It suffered heavily from the ice, and one of the major boles is broken, another is already dead, and with the trees behind it having been blown down, knocked down by falling trees, and/or cut away, the remaining boles and limbs are likely to break. More hardwood for campfires.

On the plus side, all the snow (and ice) has brought up the lake levels (although they are still lower than average) and returned water to the frog pond. Indeed, the "frog man" was out once again this last week, checking the fencing, anticipating the spring to come. It was, of course, late; one of the latest times that he's come out during his multiple decades of monitoring that pond.

Looking into the waters from the dock, I saw a few shoals of bluegills. They've started to emerge from the depths as the near-shore waters slowly warm up. Third Sister is one of the first lakes to open up (due to its groundwater source), but it also takes a while for the water to warm up (again due to its groundwater source). Still, even though the water vegetation is only just starting to poke through the muck, it's good to see the fish swimming around. It's another (also late) sign of the spring.

Finally, this Easter was one that came without any flowers to meet it. Even now, the bulbs are only just sending up green shoots, as the nights continue to drop below freezing five nights out of seven. However, last night didn't drop below freezing, and - as I went in for the evening - I heard the single *pweeep... pweeep* sound of a spring peeper. (Not in the frog pond, but in the nearshore wetlands of the lake.) Soon - hopefully - it will be deafeningly loud once again; a veritable amphibian ode to spring. (And at that point, I'll likely have to sleep with the windows closed.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Searched Third Sister Lake

This past Easter Sunday, I took one of the boats out to search for evidence of the dogs (or coyotes) that were seen falling through the ice this past winter. It was of additional concern, since - to the witness - these appeared to be German Shepherds, and the witness knew that two German Shepherds had gone missing recently in the (very) rough area of Saginaw Forest.

I found no evidence of any animal that would have fallen through the ice.

On Wednesday afternoon, I took the boat out again with one of the owners of the missing dogs, and we found nothing, either.

I hope that the dogs do turn up.