Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Fall walk through the woods.

My wife and I decided to take a hike last weekend.  We headed up to one of our local nature centers and just wandered around the trails for a couple of hours. I decided to take a few pictures of the things I look for while walking through the woods. Hope you enjoy.

This picture is pretty typical of the woods around where I live. Mostly mixed hardwoods and softwoods, all about the same age, a clear sign of logging in the past. I see very few old growth trees in my area of upstate New York.

The White or Paper Birch is abundant around here.  Which is a good thing as it is a very useful tree.  It's bark is one of the best natural fire starters, can be made into containers and of course, be used as paper.  It's sap is used much like Maple for Birch syrup and it's wood makes excellent campfire wood. This is one of a stand of 20 or 30 Birch in the same area.

Here's a pile of downed White Birch along the trail, which would be an excellent place to harvest bark and wood.  On State lands here in New York, you can only use downed and dead trees for firewood. You cannot harvest or damage live trees without the proper permits.

When hiking in the fall or winter, a quick look down on the ground can identify what kind of trees are around you. The majority of leaves in this picture are Oak with just a few other hardwood leaves mixed in, telling me the area of the forest I am currently in is primarily Oaks. This is especially useful knowledge when gathering wood for a campfire, it's a pretty good bet that most of the wood laying around will be oak and should make a good fire.

This stream not only looks beautiful as it meanders between the trees, it would also be an excellent water source once treated or boiled. I always try to make a mental note of water sources when I'm out in the woods.

One of the things I love about the area I live in is the diversity found in the woods.  Within a 2 or 3 mile hike, you can go from being surrounded by Oaks, Birch and Maples to being in a dense stand of Pine and Hemlock like in this picture.  All of these pictures were taken in an area of  250 acres on a hike of a couple of hours.

Thanks for Reading, I hope you enjoy your time in the woods!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Favorite Free Outdoor E-Books from Project Gutenberg

One of my favorite pastimes is reading books by those who went into the wilderness before us.  I think I've read "Woodcraft and Camping" by George Washington Sears about twenty times.  The great thing about that book and many others, is that they are available free online. I thought I'd do a quick post and link some of my favorite outdoor books available on Project Gutenberg. If you haven't heard of Project Gutenberg yet, it is the largest collection of free electronic books available anywhere and has been around for a long time. It's a great resource if you own an e-reader!

Here's the links to some of my Favorites....

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do... 
Thanks for Reading,