Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back from deer camp, no Bambi

Veteran's day week is our yearly trip for deer hunting and as usual we didn't shoot any deer. I'm always reminded of the song "The Second Week of Deer Camp" where he says "We drink, play cards and we shoot the bull but we never do shoot no deer." Back in the early '80s there was a spruce budworm infestation that killed millions of trees in northern Maine. Those spruce trees are the primary winter feed for the deer and without them the deer have no food. The dead trees got cut down in massive clearcuts which the deer won't go in. This led to the rise of the moose population. My great uncle Reg used to say that when he was a kid nobody shot any moose but the big clearcuts are excellent moose territory. The clearcuts grow up in bushes which the moose eat so they'll hang out in them all the time.

Anyway 30 years on the spruce trees have come back and are of a size where they provide cover and feed for the deer so we're seeing more deer and one of these years we'll have to shoot one. I'm doing my part, on the farm I plant a big patch of "deer food". This year it was turnips, I'd read online that deer like turnips and kind of assumed they'd eat the tops of the plants. I was wrong, they use the tops to pull up the roots and eat those. Angie scoured the plot and managed to find one turnip a deer hadn't finished but none intact in the ground, apparently our turnips are popular. Next year I plan to do Austrian peas which are supposed to be deer candy and fix nitrogen into the soil making the following year's planting more productive. A 5# bag of peas should do 1000sq ft so I'll have to plant an even larger plot. This year we switched from working the ground with the Cub Cadet up to the Farmall Super M. I've got a 2 bottom plow I can pull behind the Super M which flips the ground no problem where the Cub Cadet struggles in our rocky tough soil.

So no turnip pics but heres one of a good camp breakfast:

Normally there'd be bacon too but this was the last morning and it was just Dad and I. We'd eaten all the bacon the night before, wrapping it around scallops. Oh the challenges of camp life :)

The front of the camp, showing the garage in the background and the shower house at the far right. The shower house needs a makeover, its just OSB on a 2x4 frame with a roof, it needs some kind of siding. I think today I made a decision on what to do with it. Hopefully come spring we'll upgrade its look.

The old woodpile Mk1 is loaded up, mostly with white birch but theres some spruce in there too. I think this will be its last winter, the bottom is pretty rotten.

The Mk2 woodpile is mostly full of birch, I'd meant to fill both of them more but the snow meant I couldn't do as much wood cutting as I'd planned on. In the spring I have a truckload of dry birch to retrieve and a bunch of spruce. I've also got plans for a Mk3 woodpile to replace the rotten Mk1. It's really more like a Mk2 mod 2 but theres enough revision there to call it third generation. It'll have a less steep roof pitch for better coverage, longer tin overhangs, the uprights will be all one piece where the Mk2 has the roof on separate pieces and it'll have 4x4s for a base which should make it more stable.
The propane tanks in the foreground annoy me. We've got a junk pile I want to move them to, I also want to try to get the valve out of one so I can cut the end off to make a bell. I'd want to pull the valve and leave it out for a good long time before I try cutting it though.

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