Journal November 22, 2004

This was a hunting weekend, and it was cold and windy, so we didn’t want to walk on the tops of the hills. I worked on dividing seeds, and we cut down some of the birches on Hidden Oaks Point.
I divided the field into 49 sections, and I’m also going to plant some seeds in the area around the septic system – so I have to divide all my seeds into 50 piles. That’s a lot of piles! I lined up 50 grocery bags, and got about half the seeds divided into the bags. It takes a long time, but isn’t too difficult. Here are all the bags

I’m going to store the seeds, in their paper bags, in 3 big metal garbage cans up on the field. Then when I go up to plant, I don’t have to carry them up with me. (Last year I pulled them up on a sled – a couple of acres worth of seeds each time – and I so exhausted by the time I got to the top of the hill that I didn’t feel like planting.)

Cutting the birches on Hidden Oaks Point was hard work but very rewarding. Now, when we look up the point toward Hidden Oaks Prairie, we can see the prairie. We’ve cut about half the birches on the ridge that goes up the end of the point. We’ll see if we can get the rest cut next weekend.

Mike cut the trees down and then cut them into managable pieces with the chain saw. I made the brush into piles so Mike could pick them up with the powertrac. We tried picking up the logs with the powertrac, but it doesn’t work very well – they roll around and slide out of the bucket before it closes – very frustrating. We finally decided that it’s easier to load them into the bucket by hand, and use the powertrac to carry them down the hill.

I went back into our old photos and found some pictures of the hill before we started working on it so we can compare.

Here it is in August 2002 (the first summer of the 3 Finger Valley Prairie) – completely overgrown

And here it is after we finished cutting the birches on Monday

Here’s one a little closer

And here’s our burn pile of all the birches

We heard the coyotes on Sunday night – for the first time in a long time.