Last week, I turned the JEEP down the dirt logger's road that twists into Twig Forest. I had not been out there for a while and 8 inches of rain a couple of nights earlier had me hoping that there would be some sloppy, muddy potholes to splash the JEEP through.
Alas, there was minimal mud due to someone's tractor work breaching the potholes so they drained off the sandy track.
They must not own a JEEP.
Just to refresh your memory, Twig Forest is a 20 acre triangular planted pine plantation that neither we nor our partner (my big brother) can afford, but we bought it anyway as a joint agricultural endeavour.
It's about 3 miles away and in the middle of nowhere as is Pure Florida HQ.
Twiggy is planted in row after row of straight 13 year old pines, DBH's average a good 7-8 inches. Our goal is to manage it for timber harvest as well as wildlife habitat.
I parked in my usual place and walked into the property. It was dry, which is a good sign after such a wonderful rain event.
The road I had cut just a few months ago was already disappearing under a new flush of palmetto and gallberry foliage. It was still easy traveling, but the "roady" outline was softening and would soon be gone. At the rear of the property ... at the angle opposite the hypotenuse ... there are some cypress intermittent wetlands. The wet area was holding good water and promised excellent spring breeding for the frogs and flatwoods salamander types that no doubt inhabit Twiggy.
You can see these wetlands and more in the web album to the right.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PHOTO, FC? !!
The photo shows what might be our first commercial product from Twig Forest.
The upper left and lower left photos show a few of the abundant "lighterknot stumps" that litter Twiggy. These are resin impregnated "fatwood" portions of long gone pine trees. There simply is no better kindling wood for a fire or fireplace.
The upper right photo is a sliver off of one of the stumps. I wish you could smell it's rich piney aroma. It's wonderful.
The bottom right is a sliver alight of course. It's amazing stuff and hard to find anymore.
The stumps are hard as a rock due to the resin, but they can be split into nice kindling lengths with a little work.
So keep your fingers crossed, instead of Google ads, you may see a homegrown Pure Florida add in the future hawking real fatwood kindling.
I did not stay too long at Twiggy that day because my DeepWoods Off was not in the JEEP like it's SUPPOSED TO BE. There weren't many mosquitoes, but I always spray my sneakers, ankles, and jeans to keep the ticks from getting all symbiotic with me.
Twiggy was on my mind that day, because I had received the property tax bill for it and it was just under $1000.00. That bill would have been ALOT less if I had applied for Agricultural exemption last year, but being a new tree farmer, I missed the deadline. OUCH!
So, one of the things I accomplished while being home sick for 2 days this week was writing a forest management plan to prove we are real tree farmers and not Miami investment bankers.
There was a good model plan at the Florida state forestry site, so all I had to do was think a little and tweak it to make it ours.
I put the application for Ag exemption and the forest management plan in the mail yesterday.
I wish I had been this smart last year.