Monday, October 8, 2012

ATF Goes on a Field Trip

We have all been putting in some long days on the tree farm this fall (including Saturday’s chainsaw safety course – more coming on that!), so today Joe took us on a “field trip.”

We were up and on the road before sunrise… to ensure we had ample time for breakfast at Pine Cone! Then we headed up to Rubicon to meet with Linda Mertz. She and Joe met at a WWOA event a couple years ago and have kept in touch.

Linda and her husband Al own 325 acres of woods, cropland and marsh. Her approach to land management is with the primary focus of wildlife habitat. She works with a team including an ecologist, arborist and gardener.

For comparison, on Arington Tree Farm our focus has primarily been on timber production and implementing practices prescribed by a consulting forester. However, we’re seeking a more holistic approach to managing the land, in recognition of all the unique ecosystems that make up our landscape here. Thus, it was perfect timing to meet with Linda, learn more about her land and how she manages it.

We met in Linda's office - a restored grainary! It was a beautiful building... I could imagine getting a lot of work done in there ;) 

Then it was off to explore the property on her Mule. It was a beautiful day to be in the woods, albeit a little cold and windy!

Admiring a rock wall built by Linda's gardener. I think Gaea may have been a little worried a similar project may get added to her list! 

Arik pointing out some white pine blister rust on one of Linda's trees. The field trip was a learning experience for her as well as us!

The foliage in the woods was incredible. Fall is my favorite season and I couldn't get enough of all the bright yellows, oranges, reds and pinks.

Linda has incorporated boardwalks into some of the trails on the property. These would be a great addition on our farm, particularly through some of the wetlands!

At the end of this boardwalk, there's a beautiful sitting area. We could have stayed for hours!

Arik checking out a new scrape (shallow pond) on the property. Six scrapes were added last week; they will soon be filled with water to provide a water source and habitat for wildlife.

Gaea had a great conversation with this huge oak tree :)

Thanks for sharing your property with us, Linda! We enjoyed our day in your woods and look forward to hosting you on Arington Tree Farm soon.

And finally, one last photo... Arington Tree Farm Christmas card?!? I think so!


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