Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Banks of Ice & a Pick-Axe - Logging - Eagles - Ted - & Clear Skies!

First, there were two Bald eagles out on Holden Reservoir #2 yesterday evening. They were making a dinner of a deer out on the ice to the east of Reservoir Street in Holden, Ma. It is becoming more common to see Eagles, but it is still pretty thrilling. Thanks to Mr. Nelson who drove up to the Lodge to pass along the wildlife sighting!

Yesterday morning Glenda, Roger and Colin headed out to the Greenville Street access to Sibley Farm to extract the metal farm gate. Mind you, the snow plows pushed months of snow and ice into the gate and bent it like a banana in an arc. The gate itself was in the way of gaining access to the property. We had a full sized pick-axe, a steel farm shovel, a sledge hammer, and a snow shovel to chop and extract. We discovered that breaking up the snow mound was going to take hours, so we changed tactics and decided to cut a slot to pull the gate out. Why?

Today begins logging work at Sibley Farm.

Back three years ago when we were initially looking to preserve the
farm, we did a review of the property and its habitats and potential for wildlife. We realized at that time that the meadows on the Greenville end had great potential as a wildlife meadow. Trick was that the meadows hadn't been mowed in well more than 5 years. The field edges had been growing in, and the walls between the fields had become hedgerows. If we were going to do the wildlife meadows properly we would need to cut back at the field edges and take down the rows of trees between the fields. We also discovered that there was a 1 acre patch of field that had been let go long enough to become a wood lot.

Starting right away in year one we went for the mowing, and we have kept after it ever since!

But the logging proved more complex. We need cold temperatures to not tear up the field, and we need a logger willing to take on a fairly small job. Somehow the pieces just never lined up right with early springs or busy schedules thwarting the project. UNTIL NOW!

Let me introduce the Feller Buncher!

She arrived yesterday in the deep cold, and will begin work today on a cold day after a super cold night. We hope the cutting only takes a day or two and that we can get the cutting done right quick. Then we will have the logs pulled down to the flat area off of Greenville Street for loading onto trucks for firewood processing.


Last night Ted Reported in from North Carolina on the Appalachian Trail!
From Standing Indian Mountain!

For trailwork last night, since the ice chopping tool kit was already put together, Henry and Colin headed over to Southwick Brook on Marshall Street in Leicester. Over the course of a fairly intense hour we were able to chop apart and remove the ice and snow bank that blocked pulling in in front of the farm gate to access the property.

It is funny, you'd think, hey, why not just wait for it to melt?
No chance!
This wall of ice that required the pick-axe was not going away in a mere warm day or for any normal rain storm. This sucker was going to linger deep into the spring without outside assistance.
And now, it is gone!

Trailhead Conditions at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 15.3 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 47% and steady;
Pressure is 30.06" of Hg and steady;
The air is still;
The sky is clear with some higher altitude clouds;
The Cascades Brook is running in both channels and has picked up a skim of ice in places;
The Cascades are still a mass of snow and ice;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is still NONE!

National Weather Service Forecast:

Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. Light west wind.

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