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Full Moon on New Year’ Eve

There will be a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve.  (Not the color, just the fact that two full moons appear within one calendar month.)  Blue moons are not all that common and thus the saying.  This moon is interesing in that it will rise as the sun sets (in our area).  The moon will reach the top of the arc around 11:30 p.m.  If you go outside around midnight you will have the moon directly overhead.  If the clouds abate there should be enough light to cast shadows.  Should make for some interesting fireworks on the east coast.

Merry Christmas Fern from Mariton

XMAS EVE 016 

May the gifts you receive help you find peace and enjoyment.

XMAS EVE 001

 

Harmonyville Road Bridge Spans French Creek

Bridgespan1

Yesterday a 200-ton crane arrived around 9 am. The crane's counterweights arrived on two tractor trailers and the crane was used to assemble its own weights in place. Soon four concrete beams arrived and by lunch French Creek had been spanned. The work proceeded like a choreographed dance of trucks, cables, booms and beams.

Bridgespan2

The crane was packed up and gone before the school buses ran their afternoon routes. After almost five months of preparation the span was completed in half a day. There is still a lot to be done before the road is open but they have made a lot of progress.

Crow’s Nest: Scenes from the snow

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Despite being low in the sky and being near the shortest day of the year the sun warmed the afternoon.

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The sledding on this hump was good too.

Shadows3

Crow’s Nest snow update

As of noon today the roads are clear and our parking lot is open. I haven't tried the powder myself but the cross country skiing looks like it is good. The temperature is hovering just below freezing and the day is beautiful.

Crow’s Nest snow report

We've had a foot of snow and the preserve should make for fine cross-country skiing. However, the roads here are not open yet, and it will be some time before we dig ourselves out. It looks like the snow will be here for a while so there should be some time this week to enjoy it!

Crow’s Nest: New gateway to nature

Gate

This week we replaced a set of rails in the fence behind the visitor center with this gate. Not only will this improve access to the lands beyond for maintenance purposes, but it was expressly intended to invite visitors onto the "rolling-down hill" (also currently the sledding slope) and the woods beyond.

I opened the gates before it began snowing so they would be frozen in the open position. With a foot of snow now the sledding should be fine.

Crow’s Nest: Winching logs

Winch

Here I am set up to use the winch to pull red maple logs out of the pasture; we worked only early in the morning so the ground would be frozen and we wouldn't tear it up.

There's no gate in this part of the fence so I am pulling them out of the swamp and up to the edge of the fence with the winch I borrowed from Tim. Since it has been probably fifteen years since I've used this winch I made a couple phone calls to Tim to refresh my memory in the details of its use. All went well and the winch popped the logs out like they were feathers on a cat toy.

Mariton – Tree Trimming

TREE DOWN 003 Not the holiday kind of tree trimming.  Tom Kershner visited Mariton to take down a tree and trim back a few others.  Tom is the Preserve Manager at Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve and a certified arborist.  Tom cut down the Paulonia tree (Paulonia tomentosa) near the garage .  In July after a heavy rain, a major limb sheered off this tree.  Examining the wound, it appeared the the trunk was hollow and rotted.  We were concerned, that the tree could damage the garage if it fell.  I should be able to mill some of the trunk and limbs for interesting projects.

TREE WORK.09 004 I especially wanted Tom to come to Mariton to "lighten" a few trees in the yard.  This Paulonia, near the Nature Center, is in good shape, but I have been concerned about the tree-sized horizontal limb.  I realized it put a lot of stress on the main trunk, as well as the root system.  Tom used a ladder to get on the limb, then roped off so that he could maneuver around the tree like a marionette.  He trimmed the ends of several branches.  In the process he removed a lot of weight that should make the tree much happier, and hopefully live longer.

TREE WORK.09 007 This English walnut has a a lot of weight on one side.  It is leaning in a safe position, but I have noticed some roots that are moving closer to the surface.  I was concerned that with waterlogged soils and high winds, the whole tree might be uprooted.  Tom climbed around the tree and trimmed branches to make the tree less lopsided.  Just a little maintenance to prevent a massive failure. 

If you restore it, they will come…

Blog photo 12-17

In my last post, I mentioned that the process to restore the wetland at Paunacussing Preserve was a very long and winding road. The exact process had to be agreed upon, funding secured, and permits obtained. This took many months of meetings, phone calls, emails, and planning planning planning! But the long process was worth it when I observe the influx of birds to the newly restored wetlands.

The actual "hands on" work started the second week of August 2009, with equipment brought in to clear the old dam and the surrounding area of brush and trees. Why would you remove trees and shrubs from a natural area? This step was necessary to lower the height of the dam and to make sure that future tree growth didn’t undermine the stability of the about-to-be-constructed berm. At the end of the project we planted many native trees and shrubs to replace those we took out — and then some!

The overall goal was to eliminate the pond, enlarge the “wet area," and lower the height — while extending the distance — of the berm. This gave us a larger area capable of soaking in more water, permitting rainfall and springs to recharge the water table. This process also created a seasonally fluctuating wetland, allowing for more species to utilize the area over a given period of time.

Since the construction ended, I have seen an increase in Mallards, Green Herons, Great Egrets, and several other shore birds. I can’t wait to see what comes in the spring as the new plants establish themselves. I'll keep you all posted!

 

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