Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Meetings, Meetings and more Meetings

Senator Shelby
US Senator, Richard Shelby, spoke to the Farmers Federation at the annual meeting but the highlight of the meeting was hearing Michael Reagan speak, talking about his father, the greatest US President of my lifetime.

Last week was a week of meetings and I didn't get much accomplished on Dewberry Lands. Monday was our Clay County Farmers Federation Christmas Party.  I was in Montgomery on Tuesday for a Farmers Federation State Wildlife Committee meeting of which I am a  member.  Then on Thursday it was a board meeting in Birmingham for the Alabama Treasure Forest Association, the treasurer had to be there.  Then Sunday thru Tuesday in Montgomery was the annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Well you might say "Why do you volunteer for all these meetings when you don't get paid"?  Sometimes I ask myself this question but the knowledge I gain from others and the fellowship made with others that I have met and now call friends makes it worth while.  I get to hear speakers that I never would have heard if I was not involved.

So, I suggest to you, look at ways you can volunteer your time to serve others in your profession and you will be rewarded!

Oh, my oldest grandson and I went hunting last Saturday and we cut a Christmas Tree off our property and it is now decorated. You always have to make time for the things that are most important.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Road Construction by Mulching

Building a road from mulching is a new project we are trying to see how it will work.  In the future we will be adding gravel to the road in places where needed,  Where we are in Alabama most of our property is hilly.  Erosion can become a problem quickly because of the grade.  We purchased this piece of property to give us access to another public road so we don't have to ask permission to haul our wood out or what ever we might be doing on the north end of our property.  I marked the location of the road with the thought of log trucks using it and with the least amount of disturbance to the property.  A mulching machine cut the road through the forest and we will not have to worry about erosion for now with only a jeep, occasional tractor and sometimes a pickup traveling the road.  This road makes for a good hiking trail.  We are now installing a gate at the public road to control access to the property.

More pictures from the work.
This is through the mature pine stand.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sharing With Others "Classroom in the Forest"

Tuesday and Wednesday of last week we hosted "Classroom in the Forest" on two overcast days with some drizzle on our property.  There were over 160 5th graders that got out and walked in the forest! Students from all over our county were represented in the visit.
This project is made available by the Alabama Treasure Forest Association. Funding comes from the automobile tag sales when purchasing a Treasure Forest tag for your vehicle in Alabama.  It pays for Porta-potties and busing the students to the property.

The day gets kicked off with getting to know the property and if rocks could talk.  

They go on a hike on one of our trails where they learn a little about tree identification and wildlife habitat. 
We have professionals, stakeholders, and other landowners talk to the students about what and why a forest is called a Treasure Forest. 
Even though we are a rural county and 92% forest land, so many of the boys and girls never have the opportunity or those that do, never take the time to get out into the forest.
The students have several other activities about the forest they complete during the day.
They ended their day on the property with lunch on the ground before having to return to school.

Friday, November 6, 2015

This Weeks Tree News

There was a good news article shared by Kathy Westra that puts together the American Forest Foundation, Friday-Week in Trees- Tree News from Around The World.  The article was taken from the Anniston Star.  The article is about the Longleaf Pine Trail being constructed in Calhoun County.

Here is the link:

Go to this link to see more tree news:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Life on the Property

Our property is multiple use.  This month we have camped with the grandchildren, helped gathered leaves for a school project, repaired tree stands, planted fall wildlife crops, checked game cameras, prepared part of our property for 200 fifth graders to attend Classroom in the Forest. 
We have also attended the annual Treasure Forest Association State meeting and traveled to Moultrie, Georgia for the Ag Expo. 
This weekend we are going to try to slow down and enjoy the Fall foliage which is really looking spectacular here in late October.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stream Crossing and Forest Management

Last week on September the 15th a forestry tour was held on Dewberry Lands.  The purpose of the tour was to see forest roads that had water diversions added and to see a stream crossing designed by NRCS engineers that had been installed.  On the tour other topics about forest management were incorporated.  People attending ranged from as far north as Cherokee County and as far south as Autauga  County.  There were between 50 and 60 people in attendance.  This was a joint project between several groups: Dewberry Lands (Lamar and Felicia Dewberry), Coosa Valley RC&D, Alabama Tree Farm Committee, Alabama Treasure Forest Association, Alabama NRCS, Alabama Soil And Water Conservation Committee, Clay County Forestry Planning Committee, Alabama Forestry Commission, and the U.S. Forestry Service.     
The Project was a great success!

First stop in a 21 year old pine stand that had prescribed fire used in it.  Wildlife management was also discussed.

A map was used to give the visitors a better understanding of the property while speakers spoke.

The weather was delightful for the tour, a beautiful September day.

The main focus of the tour was a recently constructed stream crossing designed by one of the  NRCS's engineers.

Details were given on how the crossing was constructed and about the requirements for soil and water quality in a construction site.

After the outdoor tour participates enjoyed a very good catered meal with good fellowship and discussion.

Dr. William Puckett, the new Director for Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Service and former State Conservationist, spoke about the importance of landowners and conservation efforts.

Curt Simon, the acting NRCS State Conservationist, was introduced and gave a presentation about NRCS Programs.

At the conclusion of the program Nick Jordan with the Alabama Forestry Commission, made a presentation to Ron Dewberry of his sign as his forestland having been recently certified as a Treasure Forest. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wildlife Tab

Click the wildlife tab to see how the deer took to eating sunnhemp in our summer food-plots.

Update To Forest Roads

In less than a week we will be having a forestry tour on our property which will be addressing a stream crossing and water diversions on forest roads.  We take special care in protecting the watershed on our property.  Some may say it is an overkill, but I think you should do all possible to protect the soil, water and other natural resources on your property.  

Below is a picture of progression of the work we just completed. 
The water diversions were put in on the roads using a John Deere 660 dozier.

This is what the road looked like as the construction progressed.

As soon as the soil moving was complete, three large round bales of hay were scattered over all the exposed soil after seed and fertilizer was applied.

Before planting and mulching.

After planting and mulching.
This was a family affair. I had both my son and daughter and their five children, my grandchildren, helping me scatter the last bale of hay. Children ages one to eight, some worked more than others.

Seed germination is encouraged and erosion discouraged by applying the hay.

This is what the road now looks like as the grass begins to grow after the rain.
This is just some of the things people will see next week on the tour.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Forest Roads

Nothing compares to a well maintained road system on your property for access and aesthetics but this just doesn't happen. Click on the "Roads" tab for more information.  We will be adding more information in the coming weeks about roads because of some projects we have scheduled to be completed.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunflowers (Wildlife Management)

We planted sunflowers mixed with brown-top millet and corn for the song birds, doves, quail and and turkeys.  We planted two different times and some have already started dropping seed.  We hope to hunt doves here when the season comes in this fall.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Longleaf Pine in New York City?

I am glad Dewberry Lands can play a small part in the magnificent importance of this great tree here where we have been blessed to live...

“Everybody in the wood business says the longleaf pine tree was the best wood the Lord ever made,”
There was a great article in the New York Times this week about the Longleaf Pine, and yes I said New York Times.  The quote above is from that article and I have included the link so you can read it for yourself.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stream Crossing

This is a before picture of a place where we were having to cross a stream to get to 100 acres of our property.  It was grown-up, muddy, and just about impossible to cross in anything but a tractor and that was not easy.  Also, we do everything possible to keep the water clean and pure so we were looking at ways to improve this situation.
We were able to get a crossing constructed as a joint project between several parties with the design and help of the NRCS.

Here you can see the two rock types that were used to construct the crossing.  The bed for the crossing was dug out to the bed rock then a cloth-like material was laid to help hold the rock in place. The large rock was put in place on the cloth and the smaller gravel/sand was put on the large rock to form a solid stream crossing.  The level of the stream was not changed in any way so fish and other small aquatic organisms have no change in their migration up stream.  Every where the soil was disturbed was planted back in grass, fertilized, limed and mulched with hay.

This is the finished product
with everything back in place.  My granddaughter is proud of this! (Post September 2, 2014)

Just a note: We are planning a workshop on this project for the public in the fall so we can share information about this project with others.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Wildlife Food Plots

The last of our summer food plots have been planted.  I finished this acre and a half planting of soybeans and sunn hemp last week.  You know about soybeans but you might not know about Sunn Hemp. 
Sunn Hemp is a new crop we are trying this year in our food plots and as a summer cover crop.  The seed look like small butter-bean seed (above).  Everything I have read about it is positive:  1. It adds up to 5000 pounds of organic matter to the acre.  2. It can add up to 120 pounds of nitrogen to the acre, 10 pounds of phosphorus, and 80 pounds of potash.  3. It grows in a soil pH of 5-7.  4. The plant foliage has about 30% protein.  5. You will not have to add fertilizer to your fall plantings.  6. Deer love it.
This all sounded good to us so we decided to try it this year.
This field has grown to about 4 feet.  It is at our house and we are using it as a cover crop for strawberries.

In this field the tallest plant is about 12 inches.  It is in one of our wildlife openings.  We planted about an acre and a half here and the deer have mowed it down.  This is what most of our plots look like.  We will see what 30% protein will do for our deer herd. 

This plot has done the best.  In the winter we had seven different bucks photographed here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SFI Photo Contest

Recently, SFI sponsored a photo contest and a photo I submitted was selected as the winner in the "Scenic Forest" category.  Here is a link to the announcement:
Go to the SFI website to learn more about wha SFI is and does!
Gift card and Thank You note from SFI

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wildflower Tour

The Clay County Forestry Planning Committee, of which I am a member, held our annual wildflower tour at Cheaha State Park this past weekend.  The Mountain Laurel was beautiful, some of the most abundant blooms on the plant I have ever seen.  We had wildflower lovers from several counties in attendance and many photographs were made.  The Flame Azaleas were brilliant, with their red and orange colors.
Everyone had a good time learning more about the wildflowers of our Alabama Forest!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Get Out in the Forest

Last Sunday while I was out walking, I made a picture of this wildflower on our property, Jack-in-the-pulpit.  I always like seeing this flower because it grows different from most and it is found in moist areas of the forest. I add three other wildflowers to my blog ( under the "Wildflower" tab.  The flowers added were Eastern Bluestar, Wood Betony (Lousewort), and Purple Wild Geranium. It is truly amazing at the number of species of wildflowers when you start documenting what is on your property. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Woodland Magazine

Below is the link to an article that will be in the next issue of Woodland magazine published by the American Forest Foundation.  When the article was written back in the fall we had five generations on the Dewberry property but back in February we lost the oldest one and we now are down to four.  There are some good articles in this magazine and you will probable want  to read the others.
Thanks, Kathy Westra, for doing a good job on the article!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tree Planting Issue

Below is an email I received that could effect tree planting in our area.  If you have reforestation work done on your property I would encourage you to click on the link below and send the information they have already prepared for you as a response. 

US Department of Labor Stops Processing H-2B Visa Applications
In response to an adverse judicial decision, on March 5th the US Department of Labor said it would stop accepting or processing H-2B visa applications, effectively shutting down the H-2B guestworker visa program.  Nothing in the judge’s order compelled DOL to take this action, but they apparently felt it was appropriate. 
The forest industry has long depended on this program for a legal supply of labor from Central America and Mexico for planting trees and other labor-intensive forestry tasks.  This decision in mid-season for many employers has precipitated a crisis and WE MUST RESPOND.
Please click on the following link for more information about the issue and how you can do your part to address this important issue.
If you wish to stop receiving email from us, you can simply remove yourself by visiting:
Alabama Forestry Association
555 Alabama St
Montgomery, AL 36104

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Does It Cost To Hunt?

What does it cost to have a great hunting area?  Many people, those that like to hunt and those that don't hunt, really don't have a clue at what it cost to have a great place to hunt.  This just doesn't happen.  You may see a good deer taken here and there but I can guarantee you without management it will not happen consistently.  There are many points to consider when managing your property for good trophy deer and the expense can be great.  What has to happen to have quality hunting property?

1.  Let the deer grow to maturity.  
2.  Try to control predators.
3.  Can you pay the lease?
4.  Can you pay for the property?
5.  Can you pay the taxes associated with the property?
6.  What kind of management practices will you do to make the habitat better for wildlife and for you, a better place to hunt?
7.  Do you have the time?
8.  Who are you going to allow to hunt on the property?
9.  What other activities will occur on the property?

These are just a few of the points to consider when managing your property.

1.  Let the deer grow to maturity.  Here in Alabama we now have a state set limit on bucks.  The Alabama Game And Fish Division say that this three deer limit has added 50,000 bucks per year back to our numbers, that is 350,000 since the three buck limit started.  All these young bucks that were once taken are now getting closer to maturity.  This past year Alabama saw some good bucks taken across the state because they are more mature bucks out there.  Next year should be even better!  
     On the property I manage we have had a standing rule since before the state had this law that only eight pointers or better are taken.  There have been times when some have even let young eight pointers walk knowing this only makes the hunting better next year. This year we had pictures on game cameras of at least 27 different bucks, all sizes, and we took two of these.  We harvested four eight points and only two were on camera.  We quit harvesting any does due to the buck-to-doe ratio we were seeing.  We are seeing less does and fawns which leads me to the second point.

2. Try to control predators.  A coyote seen is a shot to be taken every time.  We don't get every coyote we see but they know they are not wanted.  You can trap or use predator calls to eliminate some but there are so many usually if one is removed there is another one waiting to take its place.  Coyotes are the number one cause of death for fawns in our area.

3. Can you pay the lease?  This is one of the greatest expenses you have with hunting property.  Not everyone can own all the property you need to own to have a good hunting site that you can control so leasing property is usually required and may be totally required if you don't own any property.  Leases cost several dollars per acre and the more acres you lease the greater the expense.  Hunting insurance is also require when leasing property and that is an annual cost per acre that gets into the hundreds of dollars.  It all starts to add up.

4.  Can you pay for the property?  There is lots of good hunting property out there for sale but you have to pay for it.  Cost in our area is somewhere from $1200/acre and up, depending on what is growing on the property.  You could have to pay over $2500/acre for established hunting property.  Then there is the payment with interest.

5.  Can you pay the taxes associated with the property?  The government is going to get their part and they want more!  Alabama's property taxes on hunting property is anywhere from $2 to $3 per acre every year.  This starts to add up according to how many acres you might own. You could be looking at several thousands of dollars in taxes each year.

6.  What kind of management practices will you do to make the habitat better for wildlife and for you, a better place to hunt?  Here you can spend as much as you want.  $200 treestands or $300 shooting houses, feed corn or feed soybeans, these are just a few of the choices you will be making.  We sometimes burn over one hundred acres each year which is the best tool for improving the habitat and here the cost is $18 to $20 per acre.  We try to burn some each year and rotate burning every two to three years.  Then there are summer plantings and fall plantings of crops to enhance the habitat.  Corn for planting is near $200 for a 50 pound bag and chufa is about $70 per bag.  Soybeans, wheat, ryegrass, sunflowers, clover is not not as expensive but the cost adds up.  Then there is fertilizer, lime and fuel for the equipment. Fields and roads have to be bush-hogged to keep the property accessible. 

7.  Do you have the time?  From the above information in item "6" you can see it takes a great amount of time for planting and bush-hogging.  Then there is checking treestands for repair, replacing wood, replacing straps, replacing netting around stands and the more stands you have the more time it takes.  Don't add your time to the cost, you will really be in a hole!

8.  Who are you going to allow to hunt on the property?  We don't allow visitors to hunt on our property mainly because of liability.  If we allowed just anyone to hunt on our property we would have a problem.  They would be waiting in line to hunt.  Everyone would like a deal like that to get to hunt on property managed the way we do,  I know I would like an opportunity like that but now I would feel guilty because I know all the work it takes to make a property that is great for hunting.  So for all the work we do it is best for us not to allow any visitors.

9.  What other activities will occur on the property?  This is important because you don't want numerous activities on the property near and during the hunting season.  This is just common sense.  No one likes disturbances and wildlife are more particular about harassment than we are.  The quieter you can keep the property the better.  Repair stands well before the season.  Don't ride vehicles through the property, including tractors.  

After all this is said and done, the deer in the above picture I harvested this year.  It is the only deer I have taken in the past two years.  I have invested over $10,000 into the property in the past two years for a good place to hunt,  This makes this deer an expensive deer.  I don't want to even think about what I have spent in the past 20 years.  Sometimes it is probably best not to look at the cost!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tree Give-Away

Friday of last week the Clay County Forestry Planning Committee gave away tree seedlings to the public at a local grocery store.  Each year our committee alternates between the two larges towns in our county to give away these trees as a part of Arbor Day.  This is a great public relation event to show the public how we promote forestry in our county. 
These seedlings are donated by the Alabama Forestry Commission and most counties in Alabama have a tree give-way.  For more information, contact you local Forestry Commission office.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One Year Later

It is amazing how Mother Nature takes care of her own.  This picture was made on February 17th, one year ago.  I posted it and you can go back and read the story on a previous post (Miscellaneous Tab on Dewberry Lands page) but this morning, one day and one year later to the date, this is what the doe that had major injuries looks like now.  I did not know if she would survive last year due to her wound but she did.