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Venerable beeches along the trail

Flying squirrel home

I reached the stump dirt tree with my trail on New Year's Eve, which marks the first tenth of a mile of built trail.  I'm thrilled to have an easy route to this venerable old beech since I love passing by, but have rarely scrambled up to it in the past.

This time around, I noticed signs that a flying squirrel has been living up in the hollow center.  The base of the tree is littered with gnawed hickory nuts and walnuts, the tops taken off rather than the whole shell shattered the way gray squirrels tend to do.  Maybe that flying squirrel we saw last spring moved here after we accidentally scared it away from its previous home?

Healthy and sick beech

Even though I sound a bit bloodthirsty saying this, I was also glad to see a stump-dirt-tree-in-training not far away.  The slightly younger beech was starting to rot out on one side, the bark covered with Carbon Cushion fungus.  Luckily, many happy beeches dot the hillside, so Carbon cushionwatching one tree slide from middle to old age is just a sign of free potting soil in the future, not a decline of the forest.

Progress on my trail may slow down a bit now that December is over and Mark and I are headed back to work on farm projects.  Top of our list is figuring out a way to stop the chickens from pooping in their nest boxes, followed perhaps by work on the new pasture and bathtub.  But I've sunk my teeth into this woodland project, so I may keep stealing a half hour here and there to go chisel into the slope and watch the world go by.  Although I was leery at first of Mark's idea of taking December off from farm projects, the idea has grown on me (as usual) and I think he was on the right track all along.

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if night time roosts are higher than the nest boxes, the nests will stay cleaner you will nead need plenty of room on the roosts for all hens to spread out

Comment by ron Thu Jan 2 21:51:26 2014

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime