Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A day in the woods

I lied. More like three hours, but that was enough for this old man. I (mostly) stacked the bigger pieces next to the two-track so there was less to trip over inside the cutting.
I ran into an equipment issue. This is what the chain on the saw is supposed to look like
This is what one of them did look like. The cutter hit something hard and tore one end of the link out of the rivet. Instead of that 3/8" having a link on both sides of the rivet, it only had one. I promised Mrs ERJ I would be extra safe when cutting alone. So I packed up shop.
Emerald Ash Borer damage. The notable thing is that the lesion healed up! The rectangular shape of the healing lesion suggests that maybe a Pileated Woodpecker was the toothbrush that scrubbed out the borers.

Another healing lesion. One of the guys who hunts this lease enjoys birds. He can identify many species by their calls.
The red berries are American Bittersweet.
American Bittersweet is less competitive than Oriental Bittersweet, primarily because it produces fewer berries. The American Bittersweet produces clusters of berries on the end of the shoot while the O.B. produces clusters at most buds.
I like American Bittersweet from a purely aesthetic viewpoint. The Oriental Bittersweet tends to be paler and more yellow. My brother the birder likes Bittersweet because it is a prime food for birds (especially Bluebirds) migrating north in the spring. They are "persistent", that is, they remain on the vine through the winter.
One of the trees in the cutting carries a healthy, female, American Bittersweet vine.

Another view looking up the trunk.

Rather than cutting the tree, I chose to girdle it so the Bittersweet can continue to flourish.

Anoter view of the girdling. The cross-sticks were to hold the Bittersweet vines away from the tree trunk so I could girdle beneath them.

I also saw a small Pagoda Dogwood that I left in the cutting. Most people would have cut it but I think it is a cool species. From a "Landscaping for Wildlife" standpoint it is a mediocre species but it is very stylish and one of the few shrubs that can be identified in the winter from fifty feet away. Sadly, it does not photograph well.


  1. I recently bought 18 acres in mid Michigan with lots of trees but I'm not to familiar with different species. Can anyone suggest a website or source of info for identifying different Michigan trees?

    1. If you are within an hour's drive of Eaton Rapids I am willing to walk your woods with you. If you are more than an hour away, is it possible for you to take some pictures of the leaves on the forest floor and some shots of the trees themselves?

      Drop me a line on my throw-away email address:

      I will check it a few times in the next week, but in general I don't check this address very often.



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