HRF 2017

It’s been a considerable amount of time since the last post.  I’m not the most technologically advanced forester and it’s been a whirlwind of the last 2.5 years or so.

With that being said….

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year!!!  Multiple TSI projects, Tree Planting, Mechanical Clearing, and other projects dot the landscape for HRF for a year filled with great conservation efforts.  I’ll be bringing the camera out with me this year in an effort to do a better job documenting restoration this year.

Until then, stay safe and have a wonderful new year!!!

Cool Autumn

October has finally ushered in traditional cool weather.  Gusty north winds blow while the air is crisp.  The foliage is starting to change color ever so slightly and our sun’s position has noticeably changed.  Although our summer was comfortable, the fall weather is a nice change of pace.  This new season shows the succession of our world as it begins to wind down and prepare for the coming winter.

HRF will be busy working on projects from Minnesota to Kansas and places in-between.  We’ll keep track of the seasonal changes and report nature’s beauty across the region.  It’s time for stocking caps and flannel shirts…let the fall colors blaze in…let the winds blow.

Welcome 2014

As we usher in yet another new year HRF is excited to announce five years of successful operation in southwest IA and areas beyond.  Over the course of the last five years thousands of acres of land have been improved and revitalized by active landowners and state agencies.  HRF has been privileged to lead the way in those efforts.

The cold January hills of the Loess Hills State Forest once again beckon HRF for a winter project.  We will undertake 150 acres of restorative work and ensure future high quality woodlands in LHSF’s area.

Thanks to all who have helped to make HRF successful  and have in turn become excellent stewards of their respective properties.  HRF greatly looks forward to the next five years of amazing projects and amazing people.  We wish you all the best of fortunes in 2014.

Changing Seasons

Finally an end in sight to super-heated days as the sun sets lower on the horizon.  Although most things seem to be behind schedule after our cool wet spring, hopefully our autumnal shift will soon change the leaves of the trees to brilliant colors.

This is the time of year where the woods once again become inviting to spend days.  Animals are active, temperatures return to cool and comfortable, and it seems as though a breath of fresh air fills the timbers.

These seasonal changes bring renewal  in many different forms.  As HRF delves into its fall schedule, the necessity of starting  new chapters as this year begins to taper down is refreshing.

Preparing for Summer

July arrived this morning and HRF finally makes the transition into the cutting season for the remainder of the year.  Spring plantings are behind us and doing extremely well due to timely rains and optimal growing temperatures.  With any amount of fortune the oppressive heat of last summer will remain a distant memory.

June proved an opportunity to accomplish several machinery projects involving brush removal and prairie restoration with the tree shear and grapple.  It was also a chance to ‘extend’ light duty recovery time following back surgery this past winter.

Currently HRF will work on more prairie restoration at Vincent Bluff followed by a cedar eradication project at Folsom Point.  The rest of the foreseeable future will require chainsaw in hand for various forest restoration projects ranging from the Loess Hills of Western Iowa to Stevens State Forest in central Iowa.

Snow Planting???

To say this spring has been unusually cool and wet may be an understatement.  Persistent cool temperatures, spring rains, and below normal soil temperatures have delayed a majority of the plantings so far this spring.

Waking up on the morning of May 2nd this year greeted us with an unexpected surprise.  Everything in sight was covered in snow!  Trees scheduled for planting on that day had to wait one more day for the snow to melt before going into the ground.  HRF waited until the following day to hand plant over 400 trees and shrubs in some riparian areas.

During the planting on May 3rd we were surprised once again when it started to snow in the afternoon towards the end of the planting.  With these ever changing conditions HRF plans to take what the weather will give and plant when conditions allow.  Regardless of the difficult planting conditions these rains bring welcome relief from last summer’s drought.

Spring Rains

As 2012 ended with much of the region in a severe drought it was questionable whether or not winter snows and spring rains could do enough to replenish soil moisture.  Fortunately winter was more traditional in temperature and snowfall.  Spring has been a little cooler than average and rainfall has come in nicely paced intervals.  The planting season is slightly delayed and will be subject to the good graces of the weather.  It is hard to complain about slight delays when reducing drought conditions are far more important.

These slight delays are coming at a good time as I am in the final days of prescribed recovery after lower back surgery in February to repair a severely herniated disc.  Medicine has come so far.  It is amazing to have a surgery early in the morning and be back to your home by afternoon.  I am grateful for the skill of the neurosurgery team who were able to repair my condition.

Hopefully the next month will allow drying conditions and windows suitable to achieve planting projects in western Iowa.  HRF will update with photos near the end of the month showing reforestation efforts.  With any luck, 40,000 new trees and shrubs will be growing nicely heading into our summer.

Spring Update

Winter 2013 once again found HRF working in the Loess Hills State Forest.  As always the conditions were steep, rugged, and typically very cold.  HRF completed 75 acres of restorative work in upland hardwoods stands primarily consisting of bur oak, Kentucky coffeetree, black walnut, and some other assorted lower quality hardwoods.

With winter finally over we can turn our focus to the upcoming spring planting season.  Unlike last year, things are starting off much cooler at this stage of the season.  Luckily we’ve also had more precipitation over the course of the winter.  This will greatly improve our early season soil moisture and hopes for successful plantings.

Along with spring plantings, HRF looks forward to many projects in the remainder of the year.  Restoration projects will include eastern red cedar eradication, forest stand improvement (FSI), brush management, and a greater emphasis on consulting.  With all of these projects on the horizon its hard to believe there are only nine months left to work effectively and efficiently!  Hopefully luck will be on our side and keep the scorching drought away.  Only time will tell…


Winding Down 2012

2012 has certainly been an amazing and very busy year at HRF.  It appears as though things will continue the same course as we round the corner to 2013.

We started with the birth of our daughter.  Although sometimes challenging, as all young ones are, she is a wonderful gift and perfect addition to our family.

2012 was filled with both challenges and rewards.  It seemed as though no project came and went easily.  Each posed certain challenges.  Heavy rains, extreme heat, deadlines, and distance all played a role this year.  Looking back things weren’t too bad.  In the heat of the moment it could easily be argued otherwise.

We finish this year with the beginning processes of a restoration on a property damaged by the flooding in 2011.  Every project has it’s story, reason, and goal.  Hickory Ridge Forestry looks forward to helping achieve these restorative desires as we embrace yet another new year.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make 2012 a successful year for conservation activities in our region and for HRF.  It has certainly been a pleasure.  Have safe and happy holidays!

Brutal Summer

This summer has been a test of will and desire.  Finding new ways to stay motivated to head towards the woods is difficult when the knowledge that morning temperatures at 4:30 A.M. will be nearly 80 degrees.  After noon those temps will certainly rise well above 100 degrees.  At this stage there’s no reason to delve into what level of misery the heat index could reach.

By taking the heat out of the equation and focusing on work completed the story is certainly different.  HRF completed it’s first project in Nebraska.  It was a great project with a heavy thinning of a stunning oak filled property.  Future management is to include a fire regime and help the sensitive landscape return to  a state savanna.

Following this project was the post harvest (PH) thinning at Stephens State Forest near Chariton, IA as listed in the projects.  This project went very well and will greatly improve the transition of the affected area from an older growth stand to a brand new forest.

It was a good but tough summer.  HRF patiently awaits the return of Autumnal temperatures and conditions.