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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!