Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June in Mid-Michigan

Yellow ladyslippers are ready to bloom. I planted them four years ago in rather dry sandy soil above black plastic sheeting in a bowl shape situated about eight inches beneath. It has worked well to hold the moisture for them. Tent caterpillars are really bad on the apple trees this year. I spent most of the afternoon pulling tents off the limbs and squashing them under foot. When they're not too thick, the worms leave the blossoms alone and eat only leaves. But several trees were bare of everything because there were so many tents. I've seen starlings eat the worms, but nothing else. Possible frost tonight. Lake Michigan is back up quite a bit this spring. Instead of several hundred feet of bare rock for a shoreline, the water is back up to the vegetation that grew during the eight years the water has been below the long-term waterline. Another three feet of water height and it will be back to the treeline in our area. Heating with wood on cool mornings. Gas for the furnace is still being billed at more than twice the current price of natural gas. Maybe the billing rate will catch up with reality by next winter? Wood's nice, but a lot of work and messy. There's plenty of it here on the place, though. Hop hornbeam seems to be the best for immediate burning when the winter supply is gone and new wood has to be cut - hornbeam dies out in a mature forest and stands for years waiting to be cut. It's completely dry when it's cut. It's so hard that it doesn't soak up water when it rains. I read a description that claimed it burns like hard coal. Not quite, but it's at least as good as well-dried oak.

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