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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Burlaping

Last weekend I spent a morning with the Nisqually Land Trust placing burlap on a riverside property in Yelm.  This long, thin property has a home on it and staff members of the Land Trust have lived here over the years.  In its former life it was a riding stable.  Most of the evidence of that past life has gone.  There is one clearing where the old sand arena has given over to soil and supports a healthy growth of young Cottonwood and cedar.

Today we hiked in about 15 minutes and fanned out, placing burlap over the invasive Reed Canary Grass.  After letting this grassy area die back a bit, native trees and shrubs will be placed.

This area was a bit tricky.  It is near the river and there are a few small water paths cutting through it.  In the thick grass it is a little challenging to see.  Also buried under the grass are many small fallen trees.  Some I assume are wind-tossed but I would not be surprised to find that some local residents did some of the cutting.

Beavers, this property has beavers.  They love hardwood; alder, maple and the like.  They will not eat conifer.  This does not stop them from damaging the trees however.  They will methodically girdle the conifers in order to kill the trees and increase the sunlight, boosting the growth of favorable trees.  The Land Trust has tried to protect as many of the conifers along the property as they could, but resources are limited.

These roots and trunk have been girdled.  Some smaller, recently planted trees at the front of the property have had their trunks painted with a pasty mixture containing sand.  This makes a sandpaper like coating and the Beavers avoid it.  For this old tree, it is too late.

The work was easy and fairly pleasant.  There was a lot of dragging sacks from the stockpile out to the patch being worked on and back and forth again.  Throw them down and piece the edges together like a huge quilt.  Hands and knees crawling about type work.  At one point I simply took a break and lay down and checked out the clouds.  Pretty comfy.

We had a ton of singing woodland birds.  Spring is clearly in the air.  I heard many mating songs and chases.  Brown Creepers wound up and down tree trunks in courtship and territory display.

Highlight for a few of us was a visit from a little charmer.  He was in the grass and hopped onto the burlap we were in the process of placing.  I cannot believe I was able to roll over grab my camera and sneak back for this terrific shot

A teeny , tiny Tree Frog, Hyla regilla.  He is not much longer than 2 1/2 inches nose to bottom.  He posed quite nicely for us.  Chris, the volunteer coordinator observed that the bug life under the burlap gets quite robust and these frogs make a good living.

Three hours passes quickly.  I can feel it in my hands they are simply not as healthy as they use to be.

The walk to and from the work sight was time to enjoy the first hints of Spring.

Early Blue Violet ; Viola adunca

Salmonberry ; Rubus spectabilis bringer of Rufus Hummingbirds.

Impossibly tiny puffballs.  I didn't know what they were, for sure and after getting the pictures ventured to touch one.  They dent slightly and did not puff any spores.

The prize of prizes

We spotted two Trillium ; Trillium oviatum .  I don't remember ever seeing one this early!

The rains continue and the river runs high.  Right now it is hailing, crazy start to Spring

Ah well.  Sit back, stay warm and have another cup of coffee.


  1. What a great way to spend a day. I think I remember you did this in previous years too.

  2. I did it for the first time the last week of December. Two weeks ago we planted trees in to a previously burlaped area.

    These 3 hour work parties are a wonderful way to connect and contribute to the environment