Saturday, April 23, 2011

Changes In A Forest Homestead

Living surrounded by the state forest makes you aware of the life of the forest. Not just the wildlife that lives there, but the plants, the rocks and of course, the trees. Trees have become very important to me since I moved here. I have been buying books that teach me about the life of trees and the forest they make up. One of my favorite books is a Peterson Field Guide called Eastern Forests. I read it and study it all the time. There is so much more to the forests than just a bunch of trees and plants.

My favorite book!  

If you want to learn about something, you must research and learn about it. Even living in the forest, I didn't understand it and the way it works until I started studying it. A forest homestead is wonderful, but it is different than a homestead in the middle of a flat, treeless plain.

By watching the forest every year, you see the changes taking place. Every number of years, a different variety of tree takes over the majority of your forest. When we first moved here, cherry trees were plentiful. Now it seems the elm is more noticeable and is in the lead.

Elm trees in fall, they don't lose all their leaves.  

 If you need firewood from your forest, it is best to cut only the standing dead or dying trees. Or if you have trees that are overcrowded, thin them out. That is why the state forest service has loggers come in and thin an area. They are not allowed to cut them all. Even though it seems horrible to us for them to be logging these areas, it is not. It is for the good of the forest.

Logging going on this spring.

The forest surrounding our homestead provides us with protection from the elements. It protects our home from storms. The wind will be blowing very hard. I'll go outside and it is not hitting us as hard, as it hits the tops of the trees around us. That is why our wind turbine will be up above, where it will catch the wind. But that is also why our snow sticks around so long, we are cushioned from the elements by the forest.


 Once you understand your forest, you will be able to live with the changes as it comes. Nature makes its own rules and you have to be the one to adapt to it. Not the other way around! Trees give you life. They are nature's purifiers. The trees cool the air in the summer and I know this to be so true. If it is hot, I head out to our forest, where it is really much cooler. The leaves of the trees remove dust and soot particles from the air, as well as sulfur and nitrogen. Then they break down the ozone, and metabolizes other compounds so the tree can use those. Then it gives off water and oxygen. What a creation!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
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