Monday, November 7, 2011

A Fall Walk with Cooper and Bob

The corn got cut on Saturday night.  The corn train, as I like to call the tractor with its 2 trailers, came and went and came and went as I put a pillow on my head and tried to sleep.  These days, the drone of the combine can be heard nearly 24 hours a day, as field by field in our area gets cut.  Happily, it ended up being a good year considering the late start we had.

Sunday dawned bright and early according to the clock, since we put our clocks back during the night.  Time to wash and wax the car before winter comes.  When that job was done, I took a walk in the freshly-cut fields and inspected our windbreak.

As always, Cooper's in charge.  He's our foreman:
Cooper's so in his element here, just happy to have his fields back again.  I don't know who's happier, the dog or me.

We've been adding trees to our windbreak since 2007.  So far we've planted about 200 trees - spruce, ash and oak.  All trees are well-established and growing, however weeds still present a concern to the spruce trees.  We didn't have access to the fields until now, and one of the tasks on the long chore list is to take the Bush Hog out and clean around the trees.  When you have half a kilometre to do, you want to break out the big equipment.  There's a time and a place for a whipper-snipper, but it's not here.  We've got lots of phragmite (Phragmites australis) growing, a highly invasive plant introduced at the turn of the century.  It's propagated by seeds and rhizomes and is almost impossible to eradicate.  Apparently, burning works just fine, but we'll hold off on that thought.  For now, it's the Bush Hog or bust.

Bob decided he wanted to tag along during our walk.  At some point, he sits down and waits patiently for our return.  He's no fool, this boy.  We were about a 1/2 kilometre from the house when he decided he'd had enough.  Buh-bye Bob, see you on the way back:

Under one of the older pines in the hedgerow, we found four LARGE piles of pine cones.

Each one of them purposefully broken off:

Pardon my fingers.  I took advantage of walking to the field to empty the ash bucket, ergo my hands look a bit...gnarly.  I guess a squirrel must be stock-piling the pine cones for winter.  I'll have to check back and see if the piles grow or diminish.  It seems weird that they'd just leave them here.  Some research attributes this to the hard-working American red squirrel who I have seen in the hedgerow.  Our common gray squirrel is not so common here - generally, when I see a squirrel, it's a red squirrel, at least on our property.

I had hoped to make it all the way to the construction of highway 30.  I wanted to see if there were any trees cut down or other damage at the end of our property, (because there shouldn't be), but I wanted to make sure.
That's part of the huge infrastructure project off in the distance...

...and another one zoomed in.  This is going to be part of an overpass of highway 30.  We walked to the back of our field, hoping to make it all the way to the end of the property, but I gave up at the tree line - I had just 300 feet left to go through the forest, but my body was not going to cooperate.  Between washing and waxing my car and walking a few kilometers, my rubber-booted feet had had it.  So had my arms, knees, elbows and back.

I know, I know, the look of elegance.  Rubber boots and polar fleece fighting for top billing. 

The walk back to the house was like seeing a mirage in the desert - when oh when would I make it back?  Damn the long-lot property division system.  Everything's so near - yet so far.
The only reason I took this photo was that it afforded me the opportunity to kneel down.  Fact was, at this point, I wanted to throw myself on the corn husks and have a nap, but that just scares the dog...and looking at our neglected barn, well, that scares me.  We're still holding out on finding workers, but that's another tome for another day.

Just remind me not to make this trek in rubber boots again, will you?


Anonymous said...

rubber boots are perfect for trekking! 1/2 km of bush hogging..yeah a whipper snipper would be the worst for that..nice shots!

Shim Farm said...

Thanks Beav - my feet were in agony when I got home. Actually all of me was in agony when I got home. And I wasn't kidding about napping in the corn husks, I was nearly down for the count by the time I took the last photo of the barn.

Robin said...

Those piles of pine cones are so funny. I've never seen anything like that from the squirrels around here. They just plant hazel nuts everywhere and chew on Lee's gloves.

Lee hates wearing his rubber boots for any length of time too. Me, I mostly live in them when I am outside.

Shim Farm said...

I'm fine working around the garden with rubber boots, but the fields are really lumpy bumpy. Normally I would have worn my hiking boots, but I was too lazy after getting the car done. And then one thing lead to another, I could have stopped at the end of the wind-break but nooo, I had to keep going LOL. And then the walk back is long.

I'm going to go back and check on the piles. I mean, they were BIG. There was a 4th not in the photo, it was the size of the 3 put together. I didn't see a squirrel nest in the pine tree, so I have no clue where they nest (or do the red ones burrow like Chippies?) I'm gonna check it out further because it was pretty industrious.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's some freaky predictor of our coming winter LOL. We're gonna be in for hell if that's the case LOL.

Sort of reminded me of this video:

Even though it was attributed to a woodpecker in the end, it's damn industrious if you ask me.

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