Archery season is just about here, and the firearms season will be here before we know it but, before all the fun begins, there’s work to be done. I’m fortunate to still be able to hunt my friend’s farm even though he passed away several years ago. Nature has a way of taking over and if it isn’t kept in check it quickly can turn beautiful hay fields into weed choked ground overtaken by noxious plants like autumn olive and multiflora rose. The field I easily walked through last May in now covered in waist high grass and weeds. The next field over, a corn field, hasn’t been planted in two seasons. Instead of rows of corn stalks, it is covered with ragweed and golden rod reaching to my truck windows. I look at the work ahead, and even though the amount of mowing appears daunting, that’s not all that needs to be done.
There’s an age old philosophical question that asks “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, will there be a sound?” We all know the answer to that but, I have a question of my own. If a tree falls in the forest what are the chances it will fall in front of one of your favorite deer stands or across a trail used to access one of your hunting sites? Past experience says the odds of this happening are pretty good. This year was no exception. So, in addition to the mowing, a large popple tree had to be cut and removed from where it fell at the edge of a small pond within bow range of a favorite stand.
The pond is less than twenty feet across, so leaving the tree where it fell wasn’t an option. Part of the tree was in the water, but most of it was on the bank. It took me several hours to cut the offending branches and to haul them into the woods and out of the way. The trunk I cut into sections and wrestled to the edge of the pond. I’m not a kid anymore and the work for me was exhausting but, regardless of the heat and bugs, it had to be done.
The next order of business was to mow the field of towering weeds that overtook the cornfield. That would prove less of a problem since my friend and I bought a new Bush Hog to make mowing easier. While guiding the tractor around the field it gave me great satisfaction in seeing the new mowing machine reduce the tall weeds to mulch. They would return next year of course, but for now, we could at least walk through the field and to our stands in the woods below. It’s work to be sure, but for now, I’ll just keep keeping at it. After, all it’s only two more weeks before deer season opens here in the Southern Tier.
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