Saturday, November 27, 2004

Turkey Visit

This afternoon a small rafter of wild turkeys [Meleagris gallopavo] , seven in all, strutted into our yard. Like any chicken-like animal they poked around the flower beds and the bushes while the two cats and I stealthily spied on them from behind the curtains. After they sauntered into the woods nearby, they became engaged in a rather complicated discussion, and emitted an most unusual series of sounds with many intonations and expressions. I since found this link which provides a fairly thorough description of the various turkey calls.
There is a good picture on

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Eastern White Cedar

There are concentrations of eastern white cedar [Thuja occidentalis] trees throughout the property and particularly in the old river bank part F, and part C as well as the western end of part A. This is a popular food for deer in winter.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Lots of deer tracks and fresh evidence of Porcupine

Today's task is the inspection of Woodlot compartments C and D.

Found some more oak trees in the northern part of area C. There were two variations yet the both looked most like bur oak. [Quercus macrocarpa]. The variations were different enough though that one could be a white or english oak. In spring I hope to be able to do a better assessment by looking at buds and early leaves.

I ventured into Area D which is very wet. The water was high and the path that runs along the northern border was not passable without wading boots. The area is dominated by buckthorn and there is some red-osier dogwood [Cornus stolonifera]. There is much evidence of deer in the form of well used trails. Also there are scraped earth patches in serveral locations caused by bucks who are currently in rut. We only have one species of deer in these parts which is the whitetail deer [Odocoileus virginianus]. There is no evidence of any moose in these parts.

Heading back south found a very old and large yellow birch [Betula alleghaniensis] in the south part of C. Many of the branches on this tree are dead and breaking off. There is also a good number of young sugar maple saplings in the area. On the walk back found evidence of porcupine. One Tamarack [Larix laricina] – also called hackmatack and eastern larch – of good size, 6 inch (15 cm.) diameter trunk, about 40 feet (15M.) tall was heavily chewed up by a porcupine [Erethizon dorsatum] (p.) and will probably not survive. In this area I had earlier - several years ago - seen a very large porcupine in the top of one of the larger poplar trees. It was certainly 20 kg. (44 pounds), about the size of a dog, in fact I had at first mistaken it for a bear cub. This must be unusually large since all the literature on the animal states much smaller weights. I will take better notes next time.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Filmore R. Park Nut Grove near Kars, ON

Filmore R. Park Nut Grove is located in the Baxter Conservation Area just south of Kars, Ontario. It can be accessed from the McManus Interpretive Centre in the Baxter Conservation Area by following the trail from the back of the centre. At the entrance to the grove, there is a sign kiosk offering a detailed map of the site, and a free brochure for self-guided tours. Today there are more than 30 kinds of nut trees on display, comprising about 100 individual specimens. Included are Ginkgos, Nut Pines, Oaks, Walnuts, Hickories, Buckeyes, Horse Chestnuts, Hazels, Yellow horn, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Locusts, Beech, Black Cherry, Chestnut and Hackberry.

Contact: Sandy Graham, Kars, Ontario (613) 489-4159

Every Individual

Once we recognize the fact that every individual is a treasury of hidden and unsuspected qualities, our lives become richer, our judgment better, and our world is more right.  It is not love that is blind; it is only the un-noticing eye that cannot see the real qualities of people.  (Charles H. Percy - U.S. Senator)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Report Urges Governments to Put a Price Tag on Nature

There is an excellent article on the Ducks Unlimited website which quotes:

A report released yesterday by one of Canada's leading environmental economists urges governments to develop a system that puts a price tag on the services nature provides in our settled areas, before it is too late.

It is a must read for environmentalists and concerned citizens in general.


My better half, Carroll observed a starnose mole [Condylura cristata] along our driveway trying to dig its way into the ground in flight. Economic impact of this animal is neutral. Although it occasionally damages golf greens or lawns, it devours many insects and aerates soils according to Burt and Grossenheider.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Added all backdated entries from My Planner Journal

Today I went through my Franklin Planner/Journals and updated this blog with all past relevant entries. About my Franklin Planner, I have been an active user of my planner for well over ten years and see myself using it for many more - well into my retirement. Yearly I buy the Original-Classic refill. For every day it includes an inspirational quote which I quite enjoy. It is unquestionable that without this tool and its accompanying instructions – the first purchase, and that was long ago, came with four cassette tapes on time management by Hiram Walker – I would not have acquired the discipline of keeping records and journal entries and consequently would not likely have been able make as thorough a record of these blog posts.

When I first used it, it was called the Franklin Planner. It is now called FranklinCovey, which I presume is after a merger with the business of Stephen Covey of Seven Habits fame. As a side bar I first read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, several years ago and have reread it several times since. I still have not reached a level of high effectiveness but maybe one day. Seriously though, It is worth reading and along with the planner makes good company.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Woodlot Management Handbook - Excellent

Finished reading Woodlot Management Handbook by Stewart Hilts and Peter Mitchell. The authors are based in Ontario, involved in teaching and research. The book is 272 pp. for the main text, plus index. The book begins with a Chapter (2) on woodland ecology, that describes the interplay between birds, mammals, plants, the predator and prey, the impacts of certain plants like species of trees on the animals and soils etc. Chapter three is on preparing a woodland inventory. It provides sources of information such as maps and aerial photographs, and how to record the inventory. Chapter 4 is entitled an inventory for Firewood and Timber Production. It gives a summary of the techniques used by foresters to establish an inventory, how to measure trees, characteristics of trees as sources of firewood and timber. Chapter 5 is entitled Environmental Sustainability and Habitat Conservation. This is an interesting chapter describing how to protect wildlife habitats, old-growth forest characteristics, Waterways and wetlands, soils and slopes. It describes the impact of domestic animals such as cows, dogs and cats on the woodland. Feral (domestic and gone wild) Cats are very heavy predators on wildlife. Dogs will chase and kill wildlife especially when operating in packs. Cows trample root systems and compact the soil and thus destroy forests. The chapter then continues by describing methods to enhance wildlife habitats, conserve bio-diversity, and activities to improve people’s awareness of nature. Chapter 6 is about timber and firewood harvest – principles and practices. Now we are getting into the nitty gritty. It talks about thinning or improving cuts. An interesting discussion is provided on even-aged and uneven-aged forests. My forest is quite even aged since all the fields were planted in 1973. The only exceptions are the fencerows where there is a larger diversity of species and age. So the goal is to go towards uneven aged forests, which is more natural and self-maintaining. Chapter 7 about reforestation discusses the reasons for this practice, planting methods. Chapter 8 discusses specialised agro-forestry Options, such as planting windbreaks, various crop trees and making maple syrup. Chapter 9 addresses making trails, dealing with pests and poachers. Chapters 10 through 13 are entitled – Developing your Woodland, Stewardship Plan, Buying Woodland Property, Ensuring Long Term Conservation, and The Spirit of the Woods, respectively. The book concludes with an appendix entitled Getting Help When You Need It.

Overall I find this to be an excellent reference book for anyone who wishes to engage in woodland management. It will give the reader a fairly thorough knowledge, enough to get started and a good overview of the terminology and practices of the forester. At least the reader will be able to know what they are talking about when he hear "snag" is or "stocking" when listening to a professional. There is a very extensive reference section, so one can always dig deeper to find more detail on specific topics.

The Woodlot Management Handbook, Steward Hilts and Peter Mitchell, Firefly Books Ltd. Willowdale ON, Buffalo NY, 1999, ISBN 1-55209-236-4

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Without disturbances in nature the world's forests will be impoverished

There is an interesting artricle on scienceblog stating that without disturbances in nature the world's forests will be impoverished.

Howling night

Coyotes [Canis Latrans*] were very active howling last night. They can be heard howling from the forests near by. They often howl when there is a moon. Last night there was no moon though they may have been howling at the aurora borealis which are reported to be at a peak right now. Overnight temperatures are at around minus 8 degrees celsius now.

*A Field Guide To Mammals, William Henry Burt and Richard Philip Grossenheider, 1964, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, (Part of the Peterson Field Guide Series).
The book covers mammals in North America north of the US and Mexico Border.
This book was a gift on my 13th birthday from my parents in 1965.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Ideas have consequences - Richard Weaver.