Forestry and WIldlife
Willow Pond Forest
Over one-half of our property is forest. We use it for recreation, wildlife management and, briefly for timber production (after Hurricane Fran passed over us).
In November of 2001, we became an officially-designated "Stewardship Forest." Our 30-page plan (which covers both forest and wildlife management) is here for your perusal.
Hurricane Fran (September 6, 1996) knocked down over 350 of our trees. We purchased a Woodmizer LT40 sawmill, gathered the downed trees, and milled enough lumber to build seven farm buildings and several other smaller structures. That took two years; we spent another three years after that just cleaning up the remaining mess and rebuilding our trails and wildlife sites.
You may not see all our wildlife, but it's here. You'll find a list of our earliest sightings in the Forest Stewardship Plan.
The property enjoys a variety of wildlife!
Over the years, we have observed white tail deer, squirrel, rabbit, fox, raccoon, possum, bobcat, coyote, beaver, dove, quail, hawk, owl, osprey, a large variety of songbirds, canada geese, kingfisher, heron, egret, ducks, and one male bald eagle sighted only once (in the Spring of 2001).
A few of these we've managed to capture on film. To see several of them, please click HERE.
Tree Farming - Longleaf Pine Fields
Beginning in 2009, we began converting about one-half of our existing soybean fields into longleaf pine tree farming "stands." This project involves a long-term effort, requiring periodic replanting, burning, and herbicide spraying to give these tender seedlings a chance to take root and grow in competition with weeds and other vegetation.
We won't be able to collect our first harvest of pine straw for at least ten years!