Saturday, December 4, 2010

Experts Give Projects a Visit

This fall, both projects, Apple Tree Release and Food Plots received much attention. One of our active volunteers, Andy Nagle accompanied Steve Goodwin, Dean of U. Mass. Dept of Agriculture and Natural Science. Dean Goodwin was especially interested in our Apple Tree Release Program, and has offered any help. Thanks to his department, we have learned that the Quimby Pond apple trees are called "winter banana". The ones we ate, were surprising sweet and delicious for stressed trees. We have now completed the first phase of clearing more sunlight for 34 apple trees. We await another consulting visit from Steve's colleague in the spring, to determine if the larger competing trees should be professionally removed.
Bob Cordes, deer biologist from IF & W,, has made two trips to our Rangeley plots. He was impressed how much deer and moose use the Cross-Town plots. He felt that the clover is solidly established and will produce adequately the next few years. He recommended we replant with the annuals, buckwheat and oats to help the does produce strong offspring this early summer. He thought over-planting forage turnip along the periphery next year would help the deer's winter endurance. On a second trip, he visited the Flat Iron Plot, and confirmed late-season deer usuage, as the deer migrate through this area on the way into Oqoussoc. Planting the annuals, Turnip and buckwheat will be considered here as well. The control plot did fairly well, probably germinating 30% because its soil ph was pretty good to start with. Bob, you will recall, was the biologist that helped Marcia to design the Rangeley Seed Mix. In the picture, he is looking at some of the ryegrass, and pleased with the obvious success of the plots. We are lucky to have such close access to the expertise Bob Cordess and Chuck Hulsey.

Bob and his little girl, Madison, accompanied Marcia, Ron Ray and Kent Cummings to visit some new potential plots for next year.
Bob agreed with Ron Ray, Guide and Moniter, that these plots met all the criteria: south-facing, along the winter deer corrider, good drainage and good cover. Ash will again be used. This location will be proposed to Seven Islands.

Our visitor, Andy Weik, grouse biologist from Ruffed Grouse Society gave us a very educational presentation on managing grouse and woodcock habitat. This can be done maintaining habitats of various ages. Ruffed grouse are most common in patches that are covered by trees 5-15 years old. The land-owner should strive to maintain forest of different ages. Harvesting a 5-10 acre every 10 years easily provides a mix of age classes. So folks, remember that small clear-cuts are the best thing we can do for all our wildlife. Another excellent technique is cutting down strips of alder to give woodcock more access to earthworms, their main food source. A chainsaw is the best friend of most wildlife.
While touring our plots, Andy recommended cutting a few narrow corriders entering the plots. This would better serve woodcock and other wildlife. He also discovered that rabbits have been browsing the plots that had good cover. Prior to his presentation, Andy also got a chance to hunt grouse with Rick Baker.
If any of you are interested in learning more, please join the Ruffed Grouse Society 888-564-6747. The quarterly magazine is really excellent.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


No, you aren't a witness to a gruesome murder. Instead, you see Michael Warren (red checked coat) clearing an outlying apple tree. Despite inclement weather, Oct 29th was our last clinic of the year.

Gino Nali and Michael W. team up.

To your left are the dynamic couple Kevin and Doreen Sinnett. Below is our own Marilyn Bronton slinging brush.

Below: Gino Nali trimming with Sheri Oldham, (lt. green jacket) who has traded in her former surgeon's gown for Kevlar chaps. I wonder if she makes precision cuts with that chain saw.

All in all, we have released a total of 34 apple trees, ending the first phase of this location. I keep on getting asked, "What's being released?" LIGHT. We are clearing around the trees, so that the crowns can be exposed to more sunlight.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Glimmer of Light

This stealth camera, shown here being installed by Rick Baker was stolen. Several days later, another camera , owned by Lynn Hewey, was stolen. In the latter case, the tree was cut down, in order to remove the locked camera. These personal cameras were being used to evaluate how much the forage was eaten on the plots. It was discouraging to all of us who are trying to do some good for our wildlife.

When Jared Austin heard about this misfortune, he contacted This company stepped up to plate and donated a camera to the club. They also gave Rick and Lyn a large discount to replace their cameras. Such kindness helped those of us who were deeply disillusioned by this act. I hope you will consider if you buy a game camera in the future.

Third Apple Tree Release Clinic

With just a mid-week crew of five, we exceeded our goals. Not only did we get the clean-up done, with two wildmen (Bob Booker and Chick Hembrow) bearing chainsaws, we released an extra seven apple trees, and fertilized the ones from last cutting. This means that we have released 24 apple trees that will provide cover (from the accumulated brush piles) and nourishment to countless animal and bird species. This is all from 3 occasions with 6 hours of labor.
Below you see Bob Booker ( in green plaid) and Andy Chabot, both over 80 years old clearing and piling limbs. Remarkable. Need I say more?

Andy Chabot, in red plain jacket, a Trac Club member, drove all the way from Saco, to help with this project. Thanks Andy for your dedication.

(Below) Mary Henbrow and Chuck really going to it!

Last cutting will be October 31, Sunday from 1:00 - 3:00. Call Marcia at 864-3351 if you would like to help.

Helping Wildlife on your Property

Two new books for RRG & SA members will be available at the Club House for lending. You may check them out at meeting time and keep it until next meeting. See Elaine Holcum or Marcia Baker.

The book "Grow 'Em Right" by Neil and Dougherty, talks about simple Timber Stand Improvement (TSI), that only requires your time and some tools. They claim that the chainsaw is the deer's best friend. It also takes into account issues planting plots in northern timberland like ours.

Quality Food Plots, zeros in on planting food plots on your property. The authors, Kammermeyer, Miller and Thomas, distinquish between climates. It also gives a run-down on every kind of seed you are considering. Both books do recommend commercial seed-mixes although they are more expensive, compared to using The Rangeley Mix, our Association designed. Both books talk about seeding logging roads or power lines.

You can just buy a few seed packets of turnips, plant them in the spring, and that will be the best way to provide food to deer up until January. The deer only start eating turnips after frost-time when a chemical reaction triggers an attraction. (As always we recommend liming or ash to sweeten the soil). Their stems remain upright even under the snow. Turnip , and other brassicas like it, are the only nutritious plant family that endures our climate. Otherwise, we have to hope that food plots will fatten up the deer enough to carry them until the spring.

The photo below shows Andy Nagle checking out his scattered food plots. In this case, he used clover which is an excellent perennial that will last for two or three years. Here he is checking out how they grew during the summer. Like Andy, start small and experiment.

At the next RRG & SA meeting, on Oct 21, we are happy to have Chuck Hulsey, deer biologist, talk about the new partnership of large and small landowners in managing winter deeryards. I hope you can be there

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Dent in the Apple Tree Project

On Sept 26, four brave souls endured the drizzle to once again work on the apple tree orchard that is being choked out by mature forest.

To your left is Sam Spaulding, professional forester, downing the nearby trees so that the apple trees will be exposed to more light. Sunlight is the most important thing to restore these trees. You will note an apple tree trunk to the left of the picture with its own identifying tag.

Gino Nalli is using a specialized chainsaw that can saw off the dead wood in no time.

Gary Languille, who hails from Cape Cod, also fell many trees.
Because of such a small work party, we will have to reschedule to delimb and clean up. We also will be fertilizing the trees.
Mark your calendar. Next tentative date will be October 13, at 1:00 in the Quimby Pond area. Call marcia for directions. Bring your shears and pruners.

Thank you fellas for helping to make a difference.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Update on Progress

On the photo to your left, is Marcia Baker, Chairman of the project, checking out the dented and bashed enclosure, probably a moose in rut. Although you can't see it, the enclosure was beaten into an hour-glass shape. We were able to restore it somewhat, although the moose was able to get his snout underneath and munch on the "forbidden fruit".

The photos below you show "before and after" photos of our most successful plot. In this first photo you see the buckwheat abundant outside the closure. The whole field appeared white from the abundant blossom.
Then the moose and deer discovered it.

Elaine Holcum, who moniters this plot is studying the untouched growth in the enclosure on Sept. 24. In the background, the field appears mowed, as all the buckwheat and oats are leveled to the ground. Clover hasn't been touched much, as it is only an inch high. The deer and moose have barely discovered the plot on Flat Iron Road though. Each plot has its own personality. Anvil Rock and Half Moon show signs of browsing on the periphery.

This field appears mowed, without any buckwheat blossom left! It is just as well, as a frost this week has killed most of the buckwheat.
Sadly, two stealth cameras, owned by volunteers were stolen from different plots last week. A tree was cut done in order to remove one camera which had a lockbox. This tool was a very valuable part of evaluating the usuage of the plot.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What We Have Been Waiting For. . .

In this photo you see our first buck grazing on our seedlings .
These photos were taken from Lyn Hewey's game camera on Two Mile Plot.
All in all, after a week, Lyn saw photos of two bucks, a doe and fawn and a couple of moose.

Quite a bit of night-time browsing.

Thank you Lyn for this great contribution to our project!

We also saw Bear sign at Flat Iron Road Site, but the photo is too distasteful to show!

A Funny Kind of a Deer Repellent

What do you mean--a deer repellent? These "feeding enclosures" you see in the photos, keep the deer from eating inside of the wired enclosure. If the seedlings inside are taller and more robust than the growth outside, we hope it means that the deer and wildlife are feeding on the plants outside of the enclosure. This will be one measurement of wildlife usage.

Meet Ron Roy, Maine Guide, who has volunteered to make 8 of these enclosures for our plots.

You need approximateley a 4 ft. diameter of enclosed chicken wire secured by 3 or 4 six-foot rebars. Ron even designed a special tool to pound the rebars into the rocky ground.

In the above photo, Ron is securing the wire to the rebar with zip ties.

Manley Harriman and Belinda Mansfield, volunteer moniters, are installing thir enclosure on their adopted plot. These volunteers will check the plots every two weeks and take other measurements. They will measure how much the plants have grown, and observe any tracks and droppings of wildlife. Weather will also be noted. By keeping good records, we can figure out what worked and what didn't. Elaine Holcum has also volunteered to be a moniter.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Two Mile Plot is thriving after 10 days of growth.
In the photo above, the bow-tie shape is buckwheat, blue-green blades are oats, green blades, rye grass, and small dots, clover and timothy.
There is ample sign of deer and moose.

We are now entering the Moniter Phase of this project.

Above are seedlings at 8 days after planting on Seven Island's Flat Iron Road. Most of the time the seedlings are growing spotty--mostly flourishing in shady areas, and damp recesses. There is sparse growth on hard, sunny soil. We are noticing that the seedlings do better on the ash, as long as it is not too overly concentrated.

These seedlings are growing at 21 days on rugged Anvil Rock Site on Wagner Land. Marcia Baker, Chair of the project is scrutinizing the growth trends.

Guard dog Gretta checking out the seedlings on Anvil Rock Site.

We are noticing deer tracks of different age groups. The deer and moose like to hang around in thick concentrations of ash. Does anyone have an explanation for that?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rangeley Seed Mix shows Spectacular Results

Don't get too excited, our food plots haven't grown that much yet. But this is what we hope it will look like.
This yield of Rangeley Seed Mix was grown in a private plot by George Poland. He sent this picture by cell phone, so it is a blurred at this size. We identified the white flowers as buckwheat and he says he recognizes the oats and the two clovers . He tells me that the deer are constantly feeding in it, and it is now thigh-high!
Great job George!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stardate 8/5/10: Conquering Flat Iron Road

This site challenged our standard way of spreading the ash. Because of heavy rain, the ground was too wet and soft to hold the Kabota.

You recall, a couple weeks back, dump trucks hauling the ash got mired in the mud and we had no choice but to wait for a dry spell of weather. It was too risky to bring in the Kabota. So M& H Trucking was called in and assessed the situation. They volunteered this handy "little" Bobcat that hauled and leveled out 9 tons of ash in an hour and a half!


From our "inventory" of drags, we attached an old dog kennel gate to the back of Rick and Marcia Baker's ATV to ruff up the top soil for seeding.

Left to right is Tom Clough, Marcia Baker, Manley Harriman and Rick Baker discussing this new system.

Here you see Bakers' dog Mickey assisting Marcia Baker at the ATV helm. This drag was donated by Michael Warren, and it worked terrific on this site.

Special thanks to Belinda Harriman for her photography of the event.

Left to Right: Marcia Baker (driving the ATV), Rick Baker, Manley Harriman , and Tom Clough seeding. Dog guards Mickey Finn and Gretta.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 3, Signs of Life!

After one rainless week after planting, a few seedlings are popping up on Anvil Rock Site.

Stardate Aug 3: Two more plots of Wagner's Completed!

After a week of no rain, we went to work to seed Wagner's Two Mile Plot. In our case, rain is a very good thing. To the right is Rick Baker getting the markers out to make lanes, for the volunteers to follow while seeding.

In this photo Reggie Cyr is trying the cyclone seeder for the first time. Left to right: Reggie Cyr, Rick Baker, Gregg Silloway and Tom Clough

Gregg Silloway joins the team for seeding. Below, you see Rick Baker dragging the seed bed with a l0w-tech rake behind his ATV.
This worked suprisingly well. So now we have an inventory of two rakes for different terrains: the disposable christmas tree and an old dog kennel doorgate donated by Micheal Warren.

After completing Two Mile plot, Rick & Marcia Baker, and Tom Clough seeded the control plot called the Tower site (not shown). This latter plot, of course, does not have ash spread on it, but it will be compared to the results of Two Mile.

Thanks to Gregg Silloway, Reggie Cyr and Tom Clough, who did a perfect job cranking their seed spreaders.