Sunday, June 1, 2014

tree lines

This is our 5th year on the farm. When we moved here the property was open right into our neighbors yards. One one side we have 3 neighbors and on the other side about 15.

We fenced the perimeter. The fence runs about 30 feet inside our property line. It is a permanent fence, and after keeping livestock on land we leased preventing entering and exiting was a priority. In the time we have been here only two animals have escaped and both went through open gates. Totally our errors.

Since we run cattle they need shade. We provide a mobile shade that travels with them to each paddock but shade from trees that shifts throughout the day is the best. It keeps the cattle moving as the sun changes location so that resting spots can recover between uses. Everything grows back.

The first couple years the buffer zone was just grass and weeds. Now it is becoming a real tree line.

Now there are shrubs and tulip poplars. Tulip poplars can be huge. But it takes years before they bloom. When they finally produce those big flowers hummingbirds and a lot of insects, including butterflies and moths, feed from them. 

In this part of the field we will need this new tree. We had a beautiful evergreen in the middle of the paddock but this winter shattered the evergreen. It was straight and about 25 feet tall but now, after such a challenging winter it looks like this.

Not much higher than the raspberries. The entire top split or disappeared. We think split. It is wide when it used to be tall. This tree is not going to last many more years. The cattle used to lower their heads and get under the shade. Now they almost have to crawl but they still get in there. Shade is needed.

Our back fence line runs the width of the property. Only one property borders that fenceline. It was clear years ago but now looks like this.

There is a pig path at rest right next to the perimeter fence that is high grass. The pigs will eat that up later in the year. Outside, in our buffer, lots of big things growing. Most are tulip poplars. Some are sewer trees we will pull out if we have to...but it looks like they will be crowded out. In the established woods that was here when we arrived there are none of those ugly trees. And on our fields few exist anymore. We keep pulling them up. 

Here's the woods...the front line facing the hoophouse.

Shade. Not all day. The plan is for plenty of sun in the paddocks with tall trees providing shifting shade all day. So nice to walk from sun into shade and avoid the beat down of pure sun.

And in the established woods the tulip poplars are old enough to flower. The slope is just right to get a sight of what brings those amazing hummingbirds to the farm.

Later, the cardinal flower will bloom right near the backdoor. And the hummingbirds visit right next to us. 

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