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Path-making

22 Sep

Andrea and Ugo gave me my very own brush axe for my birthday – its a beauty and I  am christening it on this trip to the cottage by working on the paths.

cottage fall 2011 -117

I like the thought of each path having a name and  some sort of discrete marker by the road so we know where the path begins.  I have started by putting an orange flag tape at the entrance of paths until I find a better marking system.

P1050648

The paths that I know of are:

The “turtle pond path” (my path), The “long beaver pond path” (Mum and Tim’s path), The “short beaver pond path” and I think there is a path through and around monument hill as well as one into the meadow/scrub behind the bunkhouse.  Hopefully, others will adopt one of the paths and work to keep it open over time.

The Turtle Pond Path – My path

This path takes you from the driveway, through the glade and to the turtle ponds.  Clearing it today involved snipping hundreds of tiny maple seedlings, no more than 6 inches high.  It got me thinking about the possibility of transplanting some of them…

cottage fall 2011 -118P1050585

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have plenty of path-making tools in the shed – clippers and snippers and saws and hatchets and whipper-snippers.  I am thinking of ading a small sycle to the mix.

 

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ACTIVITIES AND ACTIONS

20 Jul

This post is the content of an email I just sent off to our forestry consultant to provide him with some information about the kinds of activities we plan to do to maintain the property over the next 10 years. This is required as part of our submission to the Ministry and it will also give Frank some idea of what priorities we have. I have added photos to the post that I did not send to Frank.

Hi Frank,
The following is information you will need for the plan. Below I have listed some of our priorities and the activities we plan to undertake to meet with our 10 year objectives. I have also included a few notes for your information.

Controlling invasive species.
There are 2 invaders that I know of on the property. The first is eurasian milfoil in the lake. We have already teamed up with other lakefront property owners and contributed to a project to try to deal with this.
The second is garlic mustard. I believe that we have a nasty patch of it close to the driveway, in the area colored yellow. This is a high priority as the area is one of the most sensitive on the property. Advice here would be appreciated (I’m hoping you’ll say it isn’t garlic mustard after all).
Here is what garlic mustard looks like…seem familiar?
20110720-091331.jpg

Note : although not really considered an invasive species, we have a good deal of poison ivy on the property which we work to keep in check.

Developing trails and pathways
for recreation, nature appreciation and access to areas for management of natural area. We do not snowmobile or hunt on the property and do not ever plan to.

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Creating snags and brush piles
to provide resting/escape cover and den sites for wildlife. We already have numerous natural snags and brush piles on the property but we will monitor them and create new ones in selected areas.

20110720-092313.jpg

Develop or encourage selected native species,
especially wildflowers and native orchids – specifics here would depend on if seeds or seedlings of true native plants can be obtained.

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Selective tree cutting and planting
To maintain a healthy forest ecosystem based on the recommendations of a forest consultant.

Identification and encouragement of threatened or endangered species.
Identification efforts have begun.

I have a particular interest in the area colored yellow on the map. This area nurtures an abundance of birches, aspens, ferns, frogs, mosses and lichen. Trillium used to be plentiful here as well. Well off the driveway are two “ponds” which I believe could be categorized as either bog or fen. They are underwater or waterlogged for much of the year, filled with peat and mermaid weed. I hope to maintain and develop the special nature of this area. Any advice you can provide would be useful.

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I hope this information will help prepare you for your site visit on July 25th. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

COMPARTMENTS REDUX

19 Jul

This is a re-issue of a post from last September. Since we are in the home stretch of getting a plan together and we’ve hired a forestry consultant, I thought it might be of interest to those of you who are following the property forest and wildlife management efforts.

One of the requirements of the Managed Forest Plan (MFP) is to divide the map of the property into separate COMPARTMENTS. For the purposes of nature and wildlife management, areas on the property that have different characteristics should be treated separately. An individual compartment should have similar vegetation, soil and topography and be uniform in species composition, condition and age so they can be distinguished from adjacent compartments.

Our property seems to have every possible type of cover. My initial stab at dividing the property is on this map (crude, but remember, I’m at the cottage without any major tech tools)

MAP sept 14 COMPARTMENTS

This isn’t written in stone – I have one more day here and may change some boundaries.

CONIFEROUS FOREST – this could also be considered a plantation.

P1030417 DECIDUOUS FOREST

P1030625

OPEN FIELD AND SCRUB

P1030728

MIXED FOREST

P1030579

MARSH – this is the beaver pond area

P1030950

BOG OR FEN? This is the area some call the turtle pond

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We’ve got everything!

Forestry consultation

19 Jul

On July 25th at 10:00am, Henry will be meeting Frank, our Forestry consultant, at the cottage for a site visit .  Frank will be inspecting the pine plantation and collecting data (species id and basal area measurements, etc) that he will need to help us with our managed forest plan and make recommendations on forest management.

Why do we need a forestry consultant?  2 reasons;

1.  The pine plantation on the road edge of our property is dying from overcrowding and must be thinned out and managed properly.  Take a look at this photo I took of the interior of the plantation – not a single needle on any tree, except at the very top where they can get some sun.  

I will talk more about the pine plantation and issues around logging in an upcoming post.

2.  In order to get the major tax break on the property, we must submit a plan to the Ministry of Natural Resources.  our plan can only be submitted if it is first approved by a sanctioned forest plan approver.  Frank has that designation.

I have supplied Frank with the map below and various other materials to give him as much data as possible before he arrives.  Henry will tromp around the property with him.

Stay tuned – more tomorrow…

September 18 – Cutting a swath

2 Oct

Awake to a foggy, foggy but sunny morning.  Chilly too, so I built a robust fire with a few of the logs we cut yesterday.  A little later, I joined Tim and Mum for a steaming cup of earl grey supreme and a thick slice of toasted bakery bread with golden clover honey.

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Having decided that creating some strategically place paths will be one of the activities for the MFP, Mum, Tim and I head off toward the beaver pond.  Tim and I were armed with clippers and snippers to start work on access to the farther reaches of the pond.

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Tim and I snipped and chopped our way through sharp-needled junipers, grasping blackberry bushes, many-branched maples and plenty of bushy bushes.  What was Mum doing as we sweated and whacked and snipped our way through the underbrush?  Well she was happily ensconced on a rock, yelling things like “it’s lovely here, why don’t you hurry up?” or, apparently thinking we were too doltish to find our way, she’d say  “you just go around the juniper and over the rock and …”.  When we finally cut the path right up to the beaver dam, there she was, just enjoying the view…P1030940

To give Mum credit, she was pretty impressed at our work when we returned along the path we had just cut.

So finally, I actually reached the beaver dam! 

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Looks like Monet could have painted here…P1030932

After the sweat-making path work, we had to go back and rest.

After a nap, we tucked in to a clear-the-cupboard dinner of tuna hash, pasta and great lashings of wine – I’m going to have to stop hanging around these two – I go home half sloshed every night!

Compartments

27 Sep

One of the requirements of the Managed Forest Plan (MFP) is to divide the map of the property into separate COMPARTMENTS. For the purposes of nature and wildlife management, areas on the property that have different characteristics should be treated separately. An individual compartment should have similar vegetation, soil and topography and be uniform in species composition, condition and age so they can be distinguished from adjacent compartments.

Our property seems to have every possible type of cover. My initial stab at dividing the property is on this map (crude, but remember, I’m at the cottage without any major tech tools)

MAP sept 14 COMPARTMENTS

This isn’t written in stone – I have one more day here and may change some boundaries.

CONIFEROUS FOREST – this could also be considered a plantation.

P1030417 DECIDUOUS FOREST

P1030625

OPEN FIELD AND SCRUB

P1030728 MIXED FOREST

P1030579

MARSH – this is the beaver pond area

P1030950

We’ve got everything!

Swamp, marsh, bog, or fen

24 Sep

Did you know … that lichens are the dominant vegetation over 8% of the earth’s land surface

This morning is a bit overcast, sun and clouds – cool but not cold.  Took a short trek in search for mosses, lichens and fungus.  Found lots.

Then, I headed off in the direction of a pond that Dad shows on his hand-drawn, half-burnt map.  I had never wandered over that way.

Could this be it?  This pond-like area is nestled between a rock wall and hidden behind the glade.P1030498 There appears to be 3 kinds of vegetation that completely dominate the pond – here they are;turtle pond veg1 Mermaid weed?

turtle pond veg 4  P1030500

Any guesses on what these are?  Finding out will tell us if the Turtle pond is a SWAMP, a MARSH, a BOG or a FEN.

SWAMPS – are the most diverse type of wetland in Ontario; wooded wetlands, often flooded in spring and without surface water later in summer; dominated by trees and shrubs, coniferous trees (white cedar, tamarack, black spruce), deciduous trees (silver maple, red maple, black ash) and tall shrubs (willow, dogwood, alder). Water flows through swamps, although the movement can sometimes be imperceptible.

MARSHES – common throughout southern Ontario; periodically or permanently flooded with water; vegetation is mostly emergent non-woody plants (cattails, rushes, reeds, grasses, sedges); in open water, floating-leafed plants (water lilies) and submerged plants (coontail, pondweeds) are common; in drier areas, low shrubs (sweetgale, red osier dogwood, winterberry) may occur. They are a relatively productive wetland.

FEN – are rare in southern Ontario, common in Northern Ontario; peatlands located in areas where groundwater discharges to surface; vegetation mostly sedges and/or mosses, some grasses, reeds and low shrubs; less acidic than bogs; if trees present, they are usually stunted, scattered tamarack or white cedar; more plant species than in bogs.

BOG – are very rare in southern Ontario, common in Northern Ontario; peat-filled depressions; main source of water is rainfall, little surface runoff or groundwater from surrounding soils, strongly acidic; usually covered with a carpet of sphagnum mosses, some sedges, low shrubs of heath family (cranberries, blueberries); if trees present, usually black spruce and some tamarack.

Bogs may be very rare in Southern Ontario – but I think the Turtle Pond is a BOG!