Looks like Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow so we’re in for an early Spring – right? Here some 500 miles West of where most of the SRS members live, I have seen the sun today! Yes, it still exists and is quite bright here today. The local weather guy was saying that we’ve had about 16% of sunny days in all of January where usually we get 25%.
Well, I decided to try to hike around the hill we own to have a look around as I haven’t been hiking so much lately and it was such a nice day (looks like 48 degrees here at the moment). The first thing I examined rather closely was the apple trees I planted some years ago. They got hit hard by a buck marking his territory this past Fall.
If you look closely enough you can see that this little apple tree never had a chance – it’s topped right off as good as any tobacco plant I saw topped back in Lancaster County in the late 60s.
As I walked on to the ‘trail’ we have here, I kept a keen eye out for last Fall’s buck rubs. There’s one particular section that seems to get more rubs than the rest of the property combined.
I saw a few fresh rubs from last Fall – but not as many as I did a few years ago. I haven’t hunted here since 2011. EHD – Epizootic hemorrhagic disease hit here in the Fall of 2012. My purely anecdotal assessment of how hard the local deer population was hit thinks that 90% – 95% of the deer in a 5 mile radius was wiped out. While this may be anecdotal, I’m thinking you could believe me about 75% on this.
Still there has been a significant number of bucks on this property rubbing the heck outta the young trees over the years.
I was surprised by how so many young trees have bent over, clearly from the weakening of the little trunk from the past rub. These were all in about a 50 yard radius of each other.
Evidence in the mud! They’re around still.
One color that seems sticks out this time of year in the forest – red. There is so much multi-flora rose here that walking off of the ‘trail’ gets sticky real quick in many places.
Rose hips waiting to be consumed by mammal or foul.
There’s several piles of rocks resting throughout the forest I hike through. I have always imagined that they were created by someone who tried to farm this place, hill and all, for some sort of plants that would be consumed by the caretakers of the property.
There is a distinctive tree line ‘feature’ that goes across the top of the hill. I walked up to one of the old oaks and while examining it noticed another some distance away. Then there was another, and another – possible evidence of an old tree line demarking some sort of boundary -right across the top of the hill.
A few older rubs exist on the property. Some how these trees didn’t weaken so much and get bent over like those shown before.
Saw this interesting cherry tree (I think it may have been a cherry tree).
Don’t know if these are burls or just tree scabs – wounds healed over from an old broken branch from years ago.
There is one corner of the property that seemed to have had a higher than normal population of ash trees – had!
Yep, emerald ash bore beetle got to all the ash trees here. At least I got to see them a few years before they got hit.
This tree I don’t think was an ash. Snapped off quite high. I’ve seen a cherry do this back up in the woods which I actually harvested some of it for firewood. But this tree – I don’t know what species it is (thought it might have been a shag-bark hickory but am having second thoughts) snapped off similarly to the cherry from a few years ago.
Maple tree with son’s book title he wanted carved into the bark (carved in several years ago).
On the way back…
It was a beautiful day for a hike in the woods.
till next time…. UB (the Unintentional Blogger)
ps – inspiration from Rivertop Rambles for taking this last picture – UB