Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tree Planting

If you are interested in tree planting, I have shared a post under the tab "Timber Management" about completing the practice of establishing a new forest.
Click tab to learn more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Season

Christmas Season, What Can You Do With A Pile Of Wood?
Well, "Multiple Use Forest".  
My wife wanted some wooden deer for decoration and about two hours later she had them.  She put two
at our office with red bows on them and the other two she placed in front of our lodge for decoration.  

The deer are made from yellow poplar and sweetgum trees that were growing in an area where loblolly pines are being managed and they needed to be removed to allow for the pines to grow better.
Below are the results of this pile of wood.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Longleaf Pines and Big Bucks

My brother harvested this deer yesterday off of our property.  It was a nine pointer, probably 3 1/2 years old with a 19 inch spread.  The significance of this harvest is where the deer came from.  
In the past two years every buck we have harvested has come from areas where we have planted longleaf pines.  Most of the bucks we have harvested in the last eight years since we started planting longleaf pines have come from where we planted these pines.  I can only speak for the Piedmont area of our state but I can definitely say this is a major benefit to planting longleaf pines in the range of the  Mountain Longleaf Pines.  
You don't hear of this much in the promotion of planting longleaf pines but it is a major reason we have started planting in harvested areas with longleaf pines, deer love the habitat.  I can't say for Coastal Longleaf but here in the Piedmont there is a definite advantage. The management of these trees produce most everything a deer wants and needs as far as habitat.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Multiple Use Forest

"Multiple Use Forest" how many times have we heard that phrase used?

Last February we cut these short sticks of sweetgum from an area that was in need of some selective removal of trees.  These small trees were growing in an area that was being managed for loblolly pines so the sweetgums needed to be taken out.  My son and grandchildren cut and loaded these sticks and hauled them to our shop.  We decided to use these trees for something of value instead of just letting them lie on the ground and rot.  We inoculated the sticks with Shiitake mushroom spores.  There is a process for doing this but I will not go into how to do it.  You can Google "Growing Shiitake Mushrooms" and find a world of information on growing these mushrooms for yourself.
This is a close-up picture of one of the logs nine months later.  We inoculated two dozen logs and now they are producing vitamin rich, fresh mushrooms.  We have given away several pounds of mushrooms to friends and family.
Just another way of one of the many ways we use the forest!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Will Happen To Your Property?

We read in the forest landowner world so much about what will happen to our property after it goes to the next generation?  Well, I think the answer is in our hands as a forest landowner.  You start introducing children to the forest early in their life.  You have to get them out into the forest if you want them to love the outdoors and look at the ever changing environment.  They need to grow with the forest!
I am proof of the above.  A few years ago I was the FFA  advisor for our local FFA Forestry Team.  We won the National Contest in Kansas City, Missouri.  The same year the 4-H Team from the other side of the state won the National 4-H Contest in West Virginia.  The 4-H leader was a neighbor of mine that lived about a mile from me and we grew up together.  I told people we lived in the woods and that was all we knew but we knew the woods.  I don't think this just happened.
Yesterday my eleven month old grandson along with his mom spent time working on tree-stands with me on our property.  We took a break and sat in the leaves.  Eli was so impressed with all he was finding in his new world, leaves, acorns and sticks.  It is so much fun to watch them become part of the forest!
In the next issue of the Woodland magazine(American Tree Farm Publication) there will be an article about my family and our attachment to the forest.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Site Prep Burn

Yesterday, we did a site prep burn.  Click on the tab"Timber Management" for more information about this management practice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Transmission Powerlines

As a landowner you are lucky/unlucky if you have transmission power lines on your property; they are there and you have to make the best of them.  We use them as wildlife openings that can be managed to benefit wildlife.  We plant summer and winter food plots here.  We also help the power company by keeping the right-of-ways open for access by plowing or bush hogging.  This year (in the foreground) we bush hogged strips on part of the opening to allow for quail to come out and feed and then have access back into cover.  While I was working here I saw a hen quail and some of her young that was about 3/4 grown.
Part of the right-of-way openings were bush hogged completely for winter food plots such as the part you see here and on top of the hill. Turkeys will use these openings to catch insects and the deer will come in to eat the tender shoots after bush hogging.  There is a strip of chufa planted just past the tower that will be enjoyed by the turkeys this winter.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


These two fawns have survived the coyotes and if they can survive the automobiles they will have a good life.  I made pictures of these two in our yard this morning.  See the tab "Wildlife Management" for more information.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Alabama Champion Tree

We have a large Mountain Chestnut Oak on our property that was recently certified an Alabama Champion Tree.  I think there are others out there somewhere that may be larger but at this time it is certified as the largest mountain chestnut oak on record in Alabama.
Anyone may contact the Alabama Forestry Commission in their county about a tree of any species that they feel is the largest of its kind and have it checked.  You may look at http://www.forestry.alabama.gov/PDFs/ChampionTrees.pdf  to see the trees that are now on record as being a champion tree and what measurements made it the champion.  The Alabama Forestry Commission website has more information about this program.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall Road Maintanence

This has been my view for several of the last few days.  Each fall I bush-hog all the roads and most of the firebreaks to keep it where access to the property is available for fire protection and travel to hunting stands.  It is important that these roads are trimmed annually because after two years of neglect the roads will become impossible to travel.  I use a 4-wheeler with a sprayer sometimes in areas that need the competition taken out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Are You Doing About It?

How many times do I hear older adults saying something about all these electronics?  Others say children depend too much on video toys.  Well, what are you doing about it?  That is the question I am about to address.  I will try to give you one suggestion for "Doing something about it."
There are numerous ways for building interest for your children or grandchildren in getting outdoors while learning and enjoying the forest. 
One project my wife and I just completed with our grandchildren was naming a road, trail or other place on our property after them.  We not only called this special spot with their name but we purchased a sign for each one of them with their name on it and took a day with them to place the sign on the property.
They loved doing this.  They have their own piece of the property that they can claim ownership of.
This project has been great for us in helping them appreciate the property GOD has blessed us to own.  Our oldest grandson, who likes electronics too and lives in our instant world of entertainment, said "Grandmother I am sure glad we have this land!"
That makes it all worth while.
So if the younger children you are with are not interested in the forest, shame on you! 
What are you going to do about it?
Oh, by the way, the parents of these children were also out on the property that day making photographs of wildflowers and repairing treestands.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Educational Tour

Tuesday, we hosted an educational seminar and tour on our property for agency people such as NRCS, Soil and Water District, Alabama Forestry Commission.  This was a project about "Forest Roads" and protecting the water shed.  
Many groups had a hand in making this happening possible, many individuals work hard to make this day a success.  It started at our lodge with the indoor sessions and then when Congressman Mike Rogers came by we actually went to the site where the road work was carried out.  Our goal was to give the Congressman a first hand view of forest roads and how forest landowners are working to keep the water shed clear of erosion which has been a hot topic on the national level the past few years.  We had 34 to attend the seminar.
This was the conclusion to the Forest Roads Project but the road work may be used in logger educational training and the Clay County Forestry Planning Committee may do a landowner tour here at a later date.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Longleaf Pine Management

There was a prescribed fire put through these longleaf pines in February of this year.  These trees are about three and a half years old.  The little man standing next to the tree in the picture is about four feet tall.  The picture below is what the trees looked like immediately after the burn in February 2014.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Water Quality and Fawn Predators

Here is  a rock found in one of our streams that had Spring Lizard eggs under it.  We placed it back like it was so the eggs could hatch.  We have found lots of eggs in the branch and it is full of Spring Lizards.  They say this is a sign of clean water.  Many people depend on this stream for drinking water. 
Coyote scat.  We are having a problem with coyotes on our property.  We try to remove all we can but just last week we looked at pictures on our game cameras and one camera had the pictures of three different coyotes.  What is the significance of the above picture?  The scat has deer fawn hair all in it.  They are the number one predator for whitetail deer fawns.  We are going to have to up our pressure on these destructive coyotes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Site Prep, Food Plots and Road Work

I have added to the "Timber Management" tab information about site prep, to the "Wildlife Management" tab information about food plots and to the "Water" tab information on where we are for the forest roads tour.  Click on these tabs for more information,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Roads and Food Plots

I have added two new post, one to "Water" about the road project we are now working on and one to "Wildlife" Post 3,  showing how our food plots are doing.  Click the tabs for more information.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bob White Quail

It was so good to hear two bobwhite quail whistling yesterday as we planted brown-top millet and chufa.  It is a sound many young people have never heard in the wild because of the loss of habitat for quail.  When I was growing up we had quail to eat about once a week for supper because my dad was a big quail hunter and the birds were easy to find, then a few years later that became a thing of the past.  
When quail were abundant the area was scattered with many small farms and nearly every farm had a small garden with small grains and legumes that provided for quail.  The farms were open and young birds were protected by the grasses in these fields.  I can actually remember my dad hunting here but later this farm was planted in loblolly pines.  I was blessed to buy this farm a few years ago and we cut most of the timber and planted it back in longleaf pines.  They are now eight years old and have been burned four times.  Each year we plant cool and warm season grasses to provide seed for wildlife.
If you want quail on your property, change the habitat.  I know I will not see quail back like they were as I was growing up but we are seeing them come back where we are not managing for longleaf pines.  
It was good to hear those two whistling yesterday!

Wild Power

Curse or blessing, it's what you make it.  Have you heard that before?  This can be true if you have a transmission power line that goes through your property.  You loose acreage on you property so you try to make it to your advantage.  We use the area as a wildlife opening to plant cool and warm season crops for wildlife.  Alabama Power has a program called "Wild Power" that helps off-set some of the cost for establishing these areas.  It is a winning situation for both parties because they help with funding which helps the landowner and you help them by keeping the right-of-way accessible to the power company by plowing and bush hogging the right-of-way each year.  This helps them by their not having to pay to keep the area open for access.
This plowed area has been planted in brown-top millet and chufa for wild turkeys.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Forest Roads, A Hot Topic

Go to the "Water" tab and click for more information about Forest Roads and what we are doing on our property.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Forest Management, Does It Pay?

The answer is... in more ways than one.  Below are two pictures made on the same day.

Can you guess which stand is seven years older than the other?  The answer is: the top picture.
This stand has never had any management practices carried out on the property.  The picture at the bottom has had prescribed fire run through it, at ten this stand was thinned with all wood being chipped on site, and now at fifteen it has been thinned again.  Most of the wood was sold as pulpwood but there was some sold as chip-n-saw.
The stand can be walked through.  The aesthetics is more pleasing.  Wildlife love this stand because more sunlight can get to the forest floor.  The more sunlight, the more food for wildlife.
Cutting timber in a managed way is nothing but profitable: financially, to wildlife and aesthetically. 
Here you can see why we manage.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Classroom In The Forest

"Classroom in the Forest" is a program promoted by the Alabama Treasure Forest Association.  There are many students across Alabama that are or have been through this program.  It is a great outreach program that gets students in the outdoors. They have fun and no electronics are involved.
The program starts with Forest in the Classroom where stakeholders go to the classroom and share how we all have a roll in forest management.  Then later, after Forest in the Classroom, we have the students out on our place to be in the forest.
There are many activities we do the day they are on the property.
They always like to feed the catfish.
If you would like more information about this event call the Alabama Treasure Forest Association and ask to speak to Rick Oates at 334-613-4305 or go to http://www.atfa.net for more information.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tree Farm Assessment

It is over! We had a good assessment and enjoyed having our visitors to our Tree Farm last Friday.  Information about this assessment is posted under the "Certification" tab.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wildlife Management Post

We plant more in the summer than we do in the fall for wildlife.  Many hunters, not wildlife managers, plant only in the fall.  This helps but the more food wildlife have the better condition they will be in.  Bucks need more protein in the spring and summer to develop better racks.  Many of these plantings made in the summer are also for winter food for wildlife.  The corn and grain sorghum left in the field provides energy that cool season grass food plots don't.  This field in the picture is being prepared for planting chufa.  If you have ever planted chufa you know that this becomes a field that wild turkey will use all year round.  It always amazes me how turkeys love chufa.    
We also plant soybeans and sunflowers besides the corn, chufa and grain sorghum.  The sunflowers are planted for birds of all kinds, from turkeys and quail to song birds.  The soybeans are mainly planted for the deer even though other animals will feed on them but most are eaten by the deer before beans are actually produced.  It is the increased amount of protein made available to the deer from the forage the reason we plant them.  Another thing we do that really helps the deer is to fertilize the kudzu we have growing on the property.  This also increases the amount of protein made available to the deer.  Bucks, does, and fawns benefit greatly from this increase in protein.  It is amazing how the deer will nearly kill the kudzu from grazing on it.  If you fertilize a spot and not fertilize the other you will be able to tell exactly where you applied the fertilizer.
With all this  being said, don't go and plant kudzu for wildlife management.  It is a pesky weed, hard to control but if you have it on your property and are managing for deer then make it work for you.  In our county in Alabama it is hard to find 40 acres that has no kudzu on it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wildlife and Certification

Yesterday I posted information about this doe that lives in our backyard that had been hurt by something back in early February.  Go to http://dewberrylands.blogspot.com/2014/04/wow-deer-healed.html to see the post about this deer.

Also, I have added information about the Tree Farm assessment to the "Certification" tab on this site.  Friday, we will be going through the on site visit for the assessment.

One other bit of information, our Classroom in the Forest visit was postponed due to the weather and we are now working on rescheduling before schools are out for the summer. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Maintaining Trails/Growing Children

We are to host fifth grade students from schools in the county next week for "Classroom in the Forest".  This week we worked on preparing the trail next to the pond for the students.  My granddaughter, who is five and likes to help, staked rocks on the edge of the trail as I blew leaves from the walking area.
She loves working outdoors, planting plants and doing whatever needs to be done.  She wanted to make the trail nice for those visiting her trail next week:)
Do you think she will be attached to the land?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Forest Management

A video was posted of a prescribed burn, 2014, under Forest Management tab.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kick Off

Today we kicked off our Private Forest Landowner site.  We have felt a need for a site written by and designed by a private landowner for private landowners.  We will post articles and experiences unique to private forest landowners.  We hope this site will be of help to you!