Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Twelve Acres From Above

Thanks to Google Earth I can take a look at the twelve acres from a satellite's perspective. Imagine what it looks like to the raptors! I don't know how old this photo is but I can tell that it was taken after the tornado went through and removed the northern end of the windbreak on June 25, 1996 (top of photo is north). The photo was taken before the Rose of Sharon's were removed from the back yard and before we cut down the old, rotten poplar tree that used to shade the master bedroom. A baby River Birch has since replaced it.

The south end of the twelve acres is bordered by the fence row. The thinner end on the right is my wildlife garden area which will be planted this spring. The ash trees we've thinned from the fence row were used for firewood. I'm going to be planting a lot of new trees in the fence row to try to increase the variety of hardwood and softwood species.

The pond is a hideous fake blue, the result of my ex-step-dad putting blue dye in it (how incredibly stupid). It will be some time before that ugly blue returns to a natural color like the neighbor's wildlife pond on the other side of the woods (second photo).

This photo shows the entire family plot. All those little evenly space green dots are the fruit trees my grandpa, great uncle and now cousin-twice-removed have planted. There are several orchards around the family property. They produce all the apples, peaches, pears and plums that get sold in the family-run store, Moore Orchards. There are several orchards in the Great Black Swamp area because the soil here is ideal for agriculture. Fruit trees do well in this soil. It's the soil the Wisconsin glacier left behind during the last glacial period.
We are 574 feet above sea level here but about a foot below Lake Erie level. Without the complex system of drainage ditches, dikes and pumps that drain into the Toussaint River (bottom of photo) we would have knee deep water in our front yard! My cousin John keeps us dry year-round by running the family pump, seen at the bottom right corner of the photo.
I look at the open canvas that is the twelve acres and my thoughts immediately turn to the trees I'm going to plant all around it over the next few years. I wonder how these pictures will differ in a decade? There will certainly be less open gaps in our windbreak and the yard will have a two-tiered windbreak filling in in the back yard to break the strong southern winds we get out here. The pond should be slate blue again and there will be many more green dots throughout the yard.
When we first moved here I was overwhelmed by the amount of trees that need to be replaced. However, now that I have it planned and know what I'm doing it's actually a very enjoyable pastime. Hurry up spring! I'm anxious to get started!


  1. First I would like to thank you for your 2 comments about Warren and the CB radio, I remember trying to curb the profanity, any time one of our members would slip up, he/she would have to pay a fine….
    Now, the pictures from the satellite’s prospective, I thought they were supposed to be real-time pictures? Anyway, it looks as though you have everything planned out nicely.
    Have a great day….
    Jo and JD,

  2. Amy, I have been reading about your plans to cut down some of the older trees and plant new ones. I hope you plan on keeping some of the old growth and dead trees, for many bird species and wildlife depend on them. I owned 2 acres briefly in Maine with many dead pines and other trees. We had pileated woodpeckers, flying squirrels, gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmonks, warblers, and all kinds of birds all living in the trees. When we sold the house to move back out west the new owners cut almost all the trees down and sold the wood to the paper mills. It looked like someone raped the land and all those poor birds and mammals lost their homes! I cried every time I thought about it for at least a year afterwards!

  3. Kathie, we will definitely keep some of the old growth. The White Pines are weak from age but the Austrian Pines and the Norway Spruces are still going strong. Some of the Arborvitaes are bent from the tornado of '96 and will need to come out. I know what you mean by "raped land" and I am going to keep that from happening at all costs. I love my trees!

  4. I know you do. We share the same heart in that regards!


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