Matt Maloney led Catskill Forest Association's Forest Flower Woodswalk on Saturday, May 18th on Pakatakan Mountain in Margaretville, Delaware County. Although Matt hikes extensively throughout the east coast - he recently hiked from Saranac Lake, NY to Florida - he admits that the Catskills represents one of the best areas to experience forest flowers. Even though it poured rain most of the day, participants still managed to find a wide variety of flowering plants growing on Pakatakan Mountain's lush understory.
Above: Figure 1. The allocation of Carbon into structure, storage, and defense in lodgepole pine. Tree components with low numbers represent strong priorities for C allocations, whereas components with high numbers indicate a low priority for C allocation. Source: Ecological Society of America. Read more
Catskill Forest Association's Education Forester - Ryan Trapani - maple sugaring by hand in Ulster County. It was some year! The best season in 7 years. The sap was running heavy, and the sugar contents reached extremely high levels - averaging 2.5%. Normal is 2.0% and equates to 42 gallons of sap that need to be boiled down to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. At 2.5%, the ratio is 33 to 1. Sometimes the sap would even freeze. After discarding the ice, the sugar was left behind leaving sugar contents as high as 3.5% or 23.5 to 1. Read more
Snow is falling outside my window while the temperatures are barely above freezing. It’s March 22nd and spring supposedly began two days ago. Who could believe that one year ago today it was in the 70s? Yes, I remember how the abnormal warmth had brought about skepticism, pessimism and the like – surely global warming was the culprit. The buds of fruit trees awakened prematurely and brought a dismal crop to the region’s apple farmers. Another tree farmer – maple producers – also felt the weather back then as well. Mr. Warming had showed up early in January creating an early sap flow and those maplers who had hit the snooze button lost out too on some of their crop. It had warmed up too fast in March ending the season prematurely. Read more
Each hunting season there is a certain amount of deer that must be harvested in order to last me through the year. Normally I first hunt those areas that are both accessible and abundant in deer. These conditions are usually met in the larger, more fertile valleys where a diversity of food and cover sources is available for wildlife. Fortunately, minimum deer harvest quotas were met early on and allowed for more time to be allocated towards hunting inaccessible areas in the mountains. Hunting these areas offers another type of hunting experience. Deer behavior and physiology can differ significantly when hunting pressure is low. Sitting in a tree-stand far away from the familiar sounds of human dwelling, the forest and its inhabitants become the focus. Read more
It was a week or so ago that I had cut some trees down, split, and stacked them for firewood. Soon after, I noticed deer curiously walking between the stacked piles of wood. They are curious animals. I once called in a deer using a dying rabbit call – normally used to call in coyotes!
There is probably more than meets the eye behind their curiosity of humans. For thousands of years, our knowledge of fire helped shed sunlight onto the forest floor, creating growing space for low-growth – herbaceous plants, shrubs, and tree seedlings. In spreading this knowledge, deer numbers thrived. After farm abandonment in the late 19th century, deer numbers once again soared on young reforesting fields. In today’s maturing forest, deer still seek out human habitats. Instead of hovering around burned over areas, or abandoned agricultural land, deer are left to more cultivated settings – apple orchards; corn-fields; rights-of-way; and more recently – our backyards. Read more
Every cold winter night ends in the same way – with the woodstove. Open the air intake. Open the stove door and scoop out any excessive wood ashes. Rake the coals to the front. Load some firewood, and burn on full blast until all pieces are glowing. Then, reduce the air intake to a light flame for an overnight, sustained burn. Replace the pot of water atop the stove for humidity. Of course these steps contain some time lag between and are not continuous. In between I might be having a conversation with my wife, gathering more firewood, locking up the chickens for the night, or… watching deer. Watching deer! Read more