The beauty of a bird’s nest

This beautiful little nest was about 6 feet off the ground in an ash sapling at the edge of a field. I don’t know what species built it. It’s amazingly sturdy. I cut off the …

Those whacky walnuts

Trees are amazing! A squirrel may have hidden a walnut under this old Massey-Harris Clipper Combine when the combine was first abandoned in the woods, and look at that walnut now. There would be some …

Emerald ash borer and woodpeckers

I am working in a forest near Victory, Wisconsin, and the signs of emerald ash borers are all over. You can clearly see the serpentine galleries of the larvae. The bark has been torn apart by woodpeckers trying to get the larvae.

Heavy snow in a black and white world

Here are a couple of photos from a field day with heavy snow. The heavy snow didn’t last long, but it sure looked pretty. The color photo is a red maple saplings that splintered when …

Light, the most limiting factor

These red oak are both the same age. They are about 28 years old, they are nearly the same height, and have basically the same soil moisture and nutrient availability. The larger oak is 13 …

Porcupine highway

Have you ever seen a porcupine walking in the snow before? They are slow enough to follow and observe, and they don’t seem to be bothered by company as long as you don’t get too …

Soaking up winter silence

Last Friday was one of those rare days where the woods was sometimes totally silent. I stopped to collect cruise information on a sunny, south facing hillside. The gray bark of sugar maple crowns was …

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A Power Take-Off Drag Saw

This piece of  history is rusting away and sinking into the soil.  It was powered by a tractor pto and was used to buck trees into logs prior to the advent of chainsaws.  The logger …

Hops. . . or something else

They look like hops, but they are from ironwood, a common understory tree. Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) is also known as hophornbeam because its fruits look like hops. Ironwood is generally considered a weed tree, but it provides some winter food for wildlife because its seeds persist on the tree well into winter.

Where in Wisconsin is this strange landscape

Where in Wisconsin is this strange landscape? Any ideas? Believe it or not, it’s the bark of a young hackberry tree. Hackberry are native to the Driftless, and they typically grow straight and fast. They don’t have much timber value, but I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I’m not sure why, but I just plain like them.

Winter timber sale

I checked in on an active timber sale on a cold Monroe County morning recently. It’s a clearcut with reserve trees, and it’s designed to regenerate oak through stump sprouts and seeds. The trees are …

Mindoro Cut

I recommend you pass through the Mindoro Cut if you’re ever in the Mindoro area. It’s impressive to think that it was cut by hand. I wonder why they didn’t blast it. The road is …

Snow fleas?

Yes, that’s right. Snow fleas. December 12th was a warm, sunny day, and I was lucky enough to spend part of it outside. I noticed a mass of unusual black flecks on the snow, and when I knelt down to see what they were, I saw that they were jumping. Snow fleas!

Red oak in the snow

Winter Scenes From the Driftless

I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures after our first snow. The snow laden branches highlight the branch architecture in a wonderful way.