On each work time to Camp Stranded, we make the time to cut brush, weeds or general cleanup. This is outside of my goals for what we want to accomplish there, although part of my overall plan. Because of the lack of a good brush mower (still in the works) we've had to rely on good old fashioned sweat, blood and toil. (After cutting a knuckle, the bleeding looked like I lost a finger last weekend.)
Using a corn knife I starting cutting back the mulberry trees, horse weeds and ragweed from around a 5 foot pine and discovered a few foot tall maples. A little later and after plenty of hacking, I found another foot tall pine and a couple of 3 foot walnut trees. Another pine was found hiding close to a 6 foot tall maple and after clearing several hundred square feet of weeds and tall grass, we had a nice collection of 10 pines, ranging from about a foot to about 6 feet tall. None of these I expected to have.
Sure, it's not like winning the lottery as it maybe is closer to finding change in the couch cushions, but this is a positive for the place. I thought we only had one pine and each discovery motivated me to keep hacking away to find another one. I'm not 100% sure of the species but they ain't ditch cedars.*
If I had pulled a brush mower over this spot, as I intended to do, I would have mowed them over and lost them and I would have tangled up the wire cages in the blades. In order to preserve some of these smaller trees, I'm going to have to swing a sickle. The wire cages will be used for the next plantings of sugar maples that I started from seed.
I won't mind the work if we find hidden treasures like these.
* I call them ditch cedars because these little cedar trees are growing throughout rural southeast Iowa's ditches. I've got quite a few growing among my other trees and I'd like to keep them for songbird habitat, although snakes are known to climb up to get at the nests. My brother encouraged me to get rid of them, but I'm not in a hurry.