It’s not often I smile when I see something I’d invested much time and money in ripped up. But I was absolutely giddy walking down an old logging trail at our farm north of Lawrence.
Holes the size of car hoods pocked the snow on an acre of ground my step-brother and I had cleared with chain saws and his bulldozer. Deer trails looked like ruts as they looped through the woods and on to the field where I’d spent quite a bit of money in Round-Up, seed and fertilizer.
The deer were obviously hammering both of the one-acre food plots I’d planted to a variety of clovers. If they were hitting them in the dead of winter, when most of the clover is dormant, I can only imagine what it’ll be like when the patches turn green again this spring.
Working with the wildlife habitat in the late-winter, spring and summer is a great way to keep my fingers into the hunting and wildlife on the place.
I’ve also been killing a lot of undesirable trees.The sunlight that allows to hit the forest floor brings dense underbrush within a few months. That translates into great browse for deer, nesting areas for wild turkeys and improved habitat for a variety of brush-loving Kansas songbirds.
Every trip back to the farm is like running a trotline as I look for signs the new plots and brush are being used. Last spring I twice flushed nesting hen turkeys from the briars beside one clover patch. We saw more and better deer on the place last season than we had in ten or more years.
But the more positives you see the more you want to do.
Last Thursday I over-seeded more clover seed atop the snow on the two existing plots. By the first warm days of spring those thousands of tiny seeds will be in the soil. They’ll make the existing stands of clover even better.
But when the last of the seed was gone I took the tractor to an old cow pasture of nine or ten acres atop the farm’s tallest ridge. In my mind I see it far differently than so much of the current brome, fescue and broom sedge that offers little to wildlife.
I have big plans for that spot.
More on that later.