Just inside Twig Forest, looking back to the "road".
Earlier this year, we applied for a little grant to help small tree farmers manage their forests. We did not get it, but the process brought the county forester out to walk Twig Forest. She liked what she saw, said our trees were in good shape.
Concerned about fire, I asked her about the gallberries and palmettoes that fill in much of the gaps between the pine trees. She said those weren't such a concern, but it would be a good idea to whack taller shrubs and hardwoods that were creeping up here and there.
They had the potential to take a relatively harmless ground fire up into the canopy, which would be disastrous for our timber.
So, last week, on a cold day that promised no mosquitoes, I headed into twiggy with my machete ... and my big ticket snakeproof boots.
Mrs. FC bought them for me about a year ago and mostly they sit in the closet because I am forgetful.
I did slip out of my sneakers and into their protective embrace after parking the JEEP on this day.
Actually they were pretty comfortable and allowed me to just plow through palmettoes, rather than picking my way through, looking for rattlesnakes.
It sure beats the way my cousin Rick and I went through palmetto patches as kids. Playing in the woods behind our houses, the standard procedure when you encountered a bunch of palmettoes was to run through it as fast as you could, hoping that your feet never touched the ground long enough for any rattler to get his act together and strike.
It seemed to work, as we are both still here,
Here's an old JEEP trail through the planted pines. Sometimes this stretch is flooded and it seems to keep the palmettoes from growing here. I hacked my way to it and then enjoyed a leisurely walk, stopping only when I spotted a wax myrtle that had grown tall enough to be a fire threat.
This is a before picture.
Myrtle is a soft wood and yields easily to a too dull machete.
Note to self: Sharpen before next trip and bring file along.
This shot is the same scene as in the "before" shot, a few pics back.
I only spent an hour or so walking and whacking. It wasn't a work day so much as a pleasant walk with occasional chores.
From now on, each time I visit, I'll take out those taller bushes that threaten our tree crop.
I'm due back soon as I need to rake some pine needle mulch for my blueberry bushes who are even now resting and dreaming of the berries they will make for me this spring.