Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The reason for the tractor

Here is part of my reasoning behind finally purchasing some form of tractor. The picture shows a peninsula that semi-seperates the main rectangular pond from the northern shallow pond. It is at a strange angle, overgrown, and generally unusable. I believe it is from excavating the pond and allowed the excavator to reach further portions of the pond during renovations in the past. it is shaped sort of like an inverted V with the north side steep and the south side sloping gently towards the water. I want to shape it with a flattened top, leaving the steep north side, and creating a possible building site or at least a packed gravel pad for my wife to enjoy the pond. A small cabin would have a great view from here of both parts of the pond. I cleared the brush over a year ago with a brush cutter, but the vines and a few trees are coming back from the roots. I am heading out to mow the year old shrubbery before they grow enough next year to require a rotary cutter. A middle buster/sub soiler combo at TSC will be picked up soon for busting up that grass and other gardening uses, maybe while I am out mowing. I will then go over it with a box blade and level it off. The next post should be of my mowing results and maybe a little logging/sawmill action if time allows.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tractor for work and pleasure

I bit the bullet and purchased a real, albeit small, Kubota B6100E tractor for the property. I had to find one small enough to keep in the backyard for security, and transport it back and forth. It came with a finish mower and a 25 gallon sprayer. The mower means I can actually get the front entry and pond mown and usable. The sprayer has a wand and two nozzles in the pointing down. I can treat the turf areas for weeds and spray the pond edge to kill the hook stealing vegetation. After a little work, we should be able to play a little easier next year. A box blade will need to be purchased for trail maintenance, and renting a few other implements when needed will make structures and access easier. I can't wait to start leveling out the lumpy area in front of the pond and maybe starting on a gravel road to get the truck further in. It slips on slick clay where I must turn and go uphill just feet from the pond edge and keeps the truck confined to the entryway. We don't need that kind of structure in there. I am going to make a hitch connector for the Logrite Junior arch to pull the larger logs. The Junior may be able to handle a 16'x16" log, but it ways a bit much to pull very far by hand. I plan on getting out there within a week and getting some mowing done to start with a fresh cut next year. A few of the plants growing are shrubby perennials and vines that need to be knocked down now before I must cut them and growing grass. It will also clear out the matted down dead grass. I only have 14hp to work with and no rotary cutter. A rotary cutter may be on my rental list once I know I can keep up with the current grassy areas. We also plan to use the tractor for some foodplots on ours and my fathers future property.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fall Woodlot Report Part 3: Evaluating the pond

Having the pond on the middle of a forested area has been an interesting learning experience. Trees bring all sorts of extra issues to a pond. They can die when flooded, they drop leaves that make muck in the pond bottom, they reseed all over the pond shore, and they are attractive to beavers. A beaver has set up a homestead on the pond. All that great timber to chew on and a nice convenient pond to live in has inticed one to stay. I had passers through before, but they left when they could not keep the pond level stable. It has been stable for over a year now and this beaver has not left, I think. It has built a den (see photo), tried to bulldoze mud into the overflow pipe, and who knows what other damage I am going to find. Luckily the den is not in the dam; so no tunnels have been found yet that might undeermine it. A conibear trap is in order I believe to get rid of the nuisance.

Trees can be a problem around a pond. I have a large dead area that floods to much and will need more flood tolerant trees like bald cypress and tupelos. These areas also make a nice wetland zone between the seasonal creek and the pond. Sediment is trapped in this area and extends the life of the pond. Leaves from the trees can build up in the pond as well creating a 'pond muck'. It is an anearobic sediment of rotting vegetable matter. I have researched aerators and microbes to act against it. The microbes are more in line with my budget and I may try some next year to get the eradication process started. The microbes you add are the same as the ones added to septic systems. They work anearobically to break down the plant matter. Aeration is quicker, more expensive, and needs elctricity usually. Finally, the trees around the pond make plenty of seeds to sprout around the pond. Usually trees on a dam are bad, but I have been told mine is fine by an expert dam consultant. My issue now is they block access and views. I hope to clear some out completely and clear brush/prune under others to make fishing and viewing spots. Willows and buttonbush are another concern of mine. They can take over the shoreline quickly. I will be using an appropriate herbicide on any I find. These grow very close and in the water; so a proper herbicide for around water is needed to prevent damage to the pond itself. My next post will be on the TSI work I am doing salvaging dead trees and cutting culls to make construction wood with the sawmill for projects on the property.