Sunday, November 30, 2008

Preparing for pink

The tentative date for the McFarlin's lupine introduction is just a couple of weeks away. There's still work to be done. More bare earth needs to be prepared for planting. More thought needs to be given to the advance of exotics on bare/distrubed soil around the planting site. Unless someone's keeping a secret, it looks as though everyone's assuming someone else will do the prep work. I hope I'm wrong and I hope what I'm doing in this regard is right.
The photos above show the site in its previous state, after clearing by a gyrotrac and after organic removed to bare sand for planting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Coping with a temporarily vacant landscape

When I approach the south gate I can see the glint from a metal roof of a trailer on First Avenue. I can look northwest and see the TECO substation from a quarter mile away as long as a burn pile isn't in the line of sight. It's going to take some getting used to, I'm afraid.

I don't lake for things to do, though. I'm still doing some minor trash patrol and I need to clear a place to bare sand for the lupine planting in a couple of weeks. I talked to Cheryl Peterson today. She said this will be a learning experience for everyone because no one's attempted this before. I suspect we're all going to have to keep a lot of notes.

This is exciting to be on the front line of a project of this type. It's important.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Western horizon less cluttered

I went out today and noticed additional gyrochopping and piling had occurred all the way to the far bench. I am appealing to FWC to spare some of the rest for the sake of resident critters. This is a type of urban refuge for wildlife even though that's not the main purpose for the ownership and management of the site.

The clearing uncovered some more trash. I took out the metal. I'll be back for the rest. I also took out a bag of Natal grass from area near recently burned piles.

I circumnavigated the south tract. Someone has been through the fence near an old break again. It needs a better fix, I suppose. I can't wait until the fire lanes are improved.

Garberia and Eupatorium and Baccharis are blooming. Sumac leaves are changing color. Winter is near.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A less cluttered landscape

The piles are gradually disappearing, thanks to fire, but it may be some time yet. This afternoon I recorded the newly mechanized landscape. It will change over time. The jolt of the radical clearing is balanced by the hope that the long-term view will be more pleasing.

One thing I've noticed is more open-country birds are flying by. I've seen an American Kestrel, Eastern Phoebe and Red-tailed Hawk in the past week. I saw what appeared to be Bobcat scat this morning, which was interesting. The only bobcat I've seen was a dead one, perhaps killed by one of hte neighbors.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Burn, baby, burn

The long-awaited advent of fire finally arrived at Lake Blue this week amid squabbling between the FWC and non-FWC folks over the planning, execution and likely results of same.

FWC's approach was to gyrochop in June, let the trees dry out a while, put them in piles and then set fire to the piles. As it turns out, their approach was largely dictated by what the Florida Divison of Forestry permit would allow. The drought index at the moment is around 500, which indicates an increasing fire hazard, smoke complaints are frowned upon and I was told if they don't screw this one up, forestry folks may allow another burn across the landscape.

Despite the signs posted along the road that a prescribed fire was occurring, someone called Auburndale Fire Department anyway. When they arrived, they saw the deal and turned around and went back to the station. I wished they had done that when the minor fires occurred earlier this year, but urban firefighter culture is what it is.

Meanwhile, the fire lanes are getting some attention, too. They've cleared a 30-foot path around most of the tract except the houses along First Avenue and will do the South Tract eventually. Mike McMillan said the mowing will be followed by clearing to bare soil. He also said he'd get some conractors out to look at the fence where the ATV guys cut through and will alert law enforcement if the problems continue.

After six years, this is progress.