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DeerSlayer
06-08-2007, 10:35 AM
I think I got this idea from Aldo Leopold's For the Health of the Land which is a reprinted collection of articles he wrote for the Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer. It's sort of like recipe book for wildlife management on farms and a great read for anyone that's interested.

The notion of a living brushpile is one of those really simple "why didn't I think of that" ideas that is really easy to construct. The one in the picture below was made from an osage orange tree and wild grape. The grape was like a parasite way up in the tops of that sycamore so I got out an extension ladder and a climbing harness and pulled it all out. Then I chainsawed 3/4 of the way through an osage growing at the base of the sycamore and knocked it over with my front end loader so it was fattened but still attached to the root system. Last step was to throw the wild grape, also still rooted, over the osage.

Three years later it's a completely overgrown mass of thorns and fruit, and looks like a small thicket. It's not only a perrennial food source but it makes for excellent cover from hawks owls and coyotes year round. You can add dead brush to one of these and it just makes it better. There are also about 1/2 dozen nice vertical suckers coming off the oasge and I'm thinking some day they'll make for good bow staves or fence posts.


http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b163/hholt/livingpile.jpg

HabitatMD
06-08-2007, 12:42 PM
Deerslayer, that is awesome. Great example of applying a great techinque. Also, the rest of your property there looks great as well. I see some absolutely awesome things happening in other open ground around the living brush pile. I think I see a fair amount of Illinois bundleflower there! Not sure if that is Reed Canary on the back side of the that Sycamore, but it maybe be something you want to take a gander at and control if it is.

I can tell you have been working at it! Looks great!

Don't mind if I add my own picture in here of a hinge cutting we did. I can't think of a better use for a sugar maple, well except maple syrup, and we aren't going to get into that business.

Notice the bottom of the hinge cut vs the top. It works!

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n208/habitatmd/2007-06-03/DSC00162.jpg

DeerSlayer
06-08-2007, 04:23 PM
Sharp eye there MD! Yes that is Illinois bundle flower and I think black eyed susan and iron weed too. Probably canary grass in the background but I don't know if it's the native or eurasian type. It mixes there in a spring fed seep with sedges and wild impatiens. That was just about the only part of that 12 acre restoration that I didn't spray with Roundup and Plateau prior to planting. I wanted to keep some of the what was there and it was too wet for the tractor. It hasn't spread in the five years I've watched it, but I keep an eye on it. Last year I added several cranberries and dogwoods along the edge of that seep.

.....and we aren't going to get into that business.

LOL I tap trees but (unfortunately) I don't have a single sugar maple here on my farm. I use box elders which make a nice light amber syrup if you tap them early. Maybe you ought to give backyard sugarin' a shot MD! Making syrup is a blast and it sure tates good on a stack of Sunday pancakes or glazed on a grilled venison backstrap!! Something to fill the gap between hunting deer and hunting long beards.

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b163/hholt/2ndboil.jpg

HabitatMD
06-08-2007, 04:43 PM
Don't get me wrong deer, I'd love to have some farm raised maple syrup, just something about 100 gallons of sap for a gallon of syrup and the fact I just don't have the time keeps me from venturing into syrup making. The neighbors told me they used to, what's the term, boil? down the maple sap in a big caldron down in the bottoms on our place.

You place really does look fantastic!

Great Big
06-08-2007, 10:52 PM
Sharp eye there MD! Yes that is Illinois bundle flower and I think black eyed susan and iron weed too. Probably canary grass in the background but I don't know if it's the native or eurasian type. It mixes there in a spring fed seep with sedges and wild impatiens. That was just about the only part of that 12 acre restoration that I didn't spray with Roundup and Plateau prior to planting. I wanted to keep some of the what was there and it was too wet for the tractor. It hasn't spread in the five years I've watched it, but I keep an eye on it. Last year I added several cranberries and dogwoods along the edge of that seep.



LOL I tap trees but (unfortunately) I don't have a single sugar maple here on my farm. I use box elders which make a nice light amber syrup if you tap them early. Maybe you ought to give backyard sugarin' a shot MD! Making syrup is a blast and it sure tates good on a stack of Sunday pancakes or glazed on a grilled venison backstrap!! Something to fill the gap between hunting deer and hunting long beards.

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b163/hholt/2ndboil.jpg

Fill me in on the contraption for boiling the sap. Is that some commercial job or just a wood stove with your engineering? Looks nice. My buddy down the road goes full bore on the syrup and pumps out greater thant 100 gal a year - and gives it all away to family and friends. Nice to have friends like that!

DeerSlayer
06-08-2007, 11:51 PM
That's a Leader half pint, just a small hobby evaporator. I bought this one from a guy in Vermont who had it sitting in his garage for three years and never took it out of the box. The commercial guys these days have vacuum systems, reverse osmosis, UV light inhibitors, oil fired evaporators.....all kinds of stuff. I try to keep it simple, and set taps with spouts and tubes into five gallon pails, and end up carrying it out of the woods by hand since it's usually too muddy to drive my truck or tractor back there. With box elders it's about 60 gallons of sap to a gallon of syrup.