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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friday is the Final Fun on the Fen Finale!!!!!

YEs, it's hard to believe that my work on Mutton Hunk Fen is almost over. Well, the planting is almost over. As of this afternoon we not only broke the season record for number of trees planted in one day, 65, but we now have just about 36 trees (out of 510) left to plant tomorrow.

I realized that i had never actually showed the whole process of planting the trees, just snips of the operation. So here we go from unloading the truck to the final tamp.

 The trees come on a flatbed trailer. Usually about 140 trees to a load. They are unloaded one at a time due to the size and weight of some of the root balls.  Sometimes we unload using the Bobcat along with the John Deere.
There is one fork attached to the bucket. It is offset so we can get closer to the tree we are picking up without damaging the ones next to it.

From the truck they are either loaded onto the field trailer or brought to a staging area.

Some of the trees balls are over 550 lb. (as high as our scale went). 

Unloading is one of my jobs. The Yellow Lab is Shelly the WunderDog. She is our supervisor and finder of old deer bones.







This is what a trailer of trees looks like. We get 24 trees to a load. After loading onto the trailer the nails that hold the burlap ball together must be removed. There are about a dozen nails in each ball and none of them come out easy.

After the trailer is loaded i switch tractors from the green JD to the blue New Holland and tow the trailer out to the field where Michael has drilled holes to plant the trees in.


Usually the trees are lifted off the trailer using a boom and 1200lb. wench that is mounted on the trailer, BUT this last truck load of trees has been so heavy we have needed to use a tractor to unload and get the tree into the hole.



This next series was taken from the drivers seat as i unloaded a tree. Is this dangerous???? YES!!!!! Are there moving mechanical parts that can easily crush human parts???? By all means!!!!!!     We only go to this operation when there is a trained crew doing the planting. This afternoons crew was Richard, Michael, Me, and Will. We are all used to working near moving machinery or operating it.



Here we are following Will driving a load of trees to the field. The next pictures are what I see from the drivers seat. The crew was really patient with me photographing, but for one time only.


Richard hooks the chains onto the tree, stands back, and i lift it off.

 From the trailer the tree gets moved over to the hole. The guy in the pink shirt is Will (a retired engineer) and is my guide. Operations like this require ONLY ONE guide. Will is the only one who determines how i move the machine.

 Once the tree is in, i move back and help with the final setting, adjusting, and tamping.

Shelly the WunderDog keeps an eye on us.

 The tamping is accomplished with a highly specialized tool.... a wheel barrow handle. The soil has to be tamped so that there is no voids around the root ball. These could fill with water and loosen the ball. This would be bad since the wind out here is constant. Today it blew at 20 mph all day long. Luckily it was from the South West which is usually warm.
This is what our trees should look like when we drive away.


SOOOO you're probably wondering how did Shelly the WunderDog get her name????? I gave her this because i always wonder where she finds the stuff she drags back, how she gets so dirty, where she finds enough water to be soaked, and today, where she found a pile of fox poop to roll in.....

On the other hand, she is one of the most lovable dogs around. She belongs to Richard and Dot (our real boss). Rumor has it that Dot has a touch of Dolittle and can talk to Shelly..... but that is just a rumor (i hope).

SOOO thanks for following this adventure. If you are on the Eastern Shore in the future, this preserve will be open to the public this summer. You can find directions at www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/natural_area_preserves then look for number 44 on the map, Mutton Hunk Fen.

If there are still questions i will answer them in another post.

Grenville

5 comments:

Daisy said...

Those are pretty good-sized trees! Looks like quite a process. You do good work. :)

Out on the prairie said...

What a nice project to be part of.I called a stray dog over the other day and pet it only to realize this was a real poop roller.

possum said...

What a sense of satisfaction you must have. Good job, dude!

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

Very interesting! Thanks for showing it the whole way!

Labradors are like that, they have a sixth sence of finding things that really should have stayed hidden and forgotten :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

Anvilcloud said...

What an undertaking. AC would not be safe with that machinery.

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