New Field Map
Wednesday Hope and I took a long walk. According to the GPS unit, below, she walked 12 kilometers and I walked 29 kilometers. The ratio fits as she had cut across back to the house at about the half way point. This is a very long hike for the short legs of a six year old and I was amazed that she stuck with it so long. It was handy that we were walking a large circle so she could cut a cord when she got tired.
29 kilometers! Holly-Kowa-Bunga! That is a long ways, you say! It is. That isn’t 29 kilometers in a straight line but the total motion as the GPS measures it. I also have some concerns as to the GPS’s accuracy as I’ll discuss below. It seems that when measuring distance walked the GPS unit literally measures steps like a pedometer. I’ve not read the manual in detail but this fits with what I’ve seen when walking in straight lines. Even then the exactness is questionable. Still, it was a long ways.
Key: Pink zone is our old pasture area of our farm.
Red line is part of our land boundary.
Sugar Mountain is on the right of the image.
Sugar shack is at its base by the road.
Perimeter we walked is the connected black dots inside of the light area according to the GPS.
Light area is my estimate of real area of fields based on topo maps and ortho photos.
The perimeter is the outline of our new pastures. Except that the GPS waypoints ended up not correct according to my orthophotos or topo maps. One problem may be that different mappings distort the vertical slopes differently. We live on the side of a mountain and there is a lot more land on a hill than a flat land. The two yellow “Big Rocks” are visible in the orthophotos and easy to reference in the topo maps which is part of how I know the GPS is so far off from the other maps. There are also several small clearings, stone walls, tree lines, distinctive trees and logging trails that give clues to where the GPS should have matched but didn’t. So much for the GPS.
Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Unit
I had bought this GPS last year to use for mapping in our forestry work. Am I expecting too much from the GPS? It was advertised by Garmin as being high accuracy. I have a very old GPS from the mid-1990’s that was accurate to about two feet. The Garmin eTrex Venture HC claims on the display at various times that it is accurate to 3 meters (1 meter is about 3′), 6 meters, 8 meters, etc. That is awful. My old one was far better.
GPS Around Old Farm House – Error Map Test
This is a map showing the errors of the GPS. The top image is the measurements it gave around our old farm house foundation. The bottom image is the actual foundation which is square and 100′ long. I know because I put that foundation in. It is a neat, straight bond beam of steel reinforced concrete done by yours truly and measured many times before and since. The GPS gets the angles and measurements completely off. Sad.
View North Across Valley From South of Fields – Click for Large Size
I took this shot from the upper left of the map above near where the perimeter jogs in looking north across the fields across the valley towards Knox Mountain. You can see our cottage, the new butcher shop rising, our old farm house, the red dump truck, lower marshes and then Knox Mtn and Butterfield Mtn in the background. Click the photo for a large version with more details.
Since the clear cut for the fields was just completed last fall the pastures haven’t grown to grass yet. Soon they’ll be green with forages. It is amazing how quickly they’ll transform from forest back to pastures. Ben and Will have been seeding this week now that most of the snow is gone. As of today they’ve completed about 40 acres of spreading. Since our terrain is so steep and rough we have to do this all by hand – no use of a tractor seeder.
We marked many trees to keep during the logging process such as the big one there on the left as well as many line trees along stone walls. These will provide shade, soil stabilization and forage from nuts. The rotting stumps, decaying logs and regen will also be wonderful food for the pigs and sheep. The wildlife will also bloom with the opening of the fields – deep forest is not very bio-diverse. We’ll likely also see a bumper crop of berries up in the high pastures this year. I’m working on figuring out how to manage the harvest of pork vs berries with their alternative needs. Pigs are very good at culling the old canes – the berries just need about two years to come back afterwards.
Nuts on Big Rock
Speaking of nuts, here is one of the nuts that Hope found on the northern Big Rock. She planted it. Like the Mafia plant someone. Actually, she what said was she was giving it a burial, not like a squirrel burying a nut to store it for the winter but a burial as in last rites. It is interesting how each child is unique – and here I thought we were using a cookie cutter. This is a child that likes “Addams Family Values“, “Lord of the Rings“, “Harry Potter” and other spooky stories. Bears beware.
Speaking of bears, here are bear prints in the snow up in the high pasture. It is a small black bear. We also saw rabbit, moose and deer droppings. I saw Kavi’s prints up on the top of the ridge along the back edge of the new pastures. He has large feet, much bigger than the coyote and fox tracks I saw further north earlier this winter.
Tiny Nest on Blackberry Cane
This is perhaps the smallest bird’s nest I have ever seen. It was on a bramble. It was about the diameter of my thumb and forefinger making a circle. Perhaps a humming bird? We have many of those around here. Ideas?
Hope on Big Rock North
This Big Rock is visible from space. Just kidding. Not from space but it is visible from the high flying airplanes that make the orthophotos I use in mapping our forests. I imagine it hollowed out and a home to gnomes or hobbits. It is great for climbing on. Hope is sitting on the uphill side which is just a bit taller than her. The downhill side, where she jumped, is about three times her height. She lived. Good thing it was a downhill roll on impact!
Outdoors: 33째F/18째F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/61째F