March 27th was an auspicious day. Ryan Trapani of the Catskill Forest Association led a team who pruned the old apple trees in the orchard at Woodchuck Lodge. Overhead flew a buzzard with wings like long feathered fingers.
As far as we can gather, the trees have never been pruned, so Woodchuck Lodge will participate in the CFA’s tree pruning program that will take place annually over the course of the next three years at least. All the dead applewood was removed into a pile the size of a small truck. The one tree closest to the road, (pictured immediately below) was in the worst shape and less than half the boughs on its gnarly bark remain.
The resultant pruned tree, looking rather like the house of a fairytale character or mythical creature, is one of our historical natural landmarks. When these trees were planted, there would have been no trees in the area and Burroughs would have enjoyed sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains in south, east and westerly directions. Some apple trees had to be felled because they were in too much of that shade.
Last year’s apples were abundant and board members picked them and used them in pies. In two years, we will consider grafting the trees to cultivate a new apple, but firstly the trees will given some time to stabilize. “Pruning is a shock,” says board member Patti Rudge.
Structural pruning of the trees will increase air circulation and sunlight through the tree, which reduces the chance of insects and diseases. The improved structure will enhance the tree’s ability to create fruit buds, withstand fruit load or wind load and the weight of bears.
Our fearless leader, Bill Birns, President of the Board of Trustees of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge will be interviewed on WIOX Radio on October 23rd at 9am on Mind Your Business, the talk show hosted by Glen Pedersen and Carol O’Beirne. WIOX Radio streams live on your smart phone, tablet or laptop, allowing you to listen to it anywhere. Bill will be talking about Woodchuck Lodge, our upcoming trail-opening event on October 29th and our woodshed.
Woodchuck Lodge needs a new woodshed as the old one is dilapidated. We have a matching grant from the O’Connor Foundation, meaning if we are able to raise $1000, the O’Connor Foundation will match it, giving us $2000 for a new woodshed.
We humbly and gratefully accept donations on this website on our DONATIONS page.
To promote our Wild Saturday events at Woodchuck Lodge John Michelotti of Catskill Fungi and Mairead Mulhern, Environmental Educator at Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks will be appearing on WIOX Radio on Monday morning May 1st. They will be the second and third guests on “The Economy Of” with J.N. Urbanski. The show is broadcast for an hour from 9am to 10am on Monday, but to hear only our Woodchuck Lodge guests, tune in at about 9.20am.
On April 22, 2017, trustees of the Board of Woodchuck Lodge will prepare the lodge for opening to the public beginning with a clean-up at 10am. Docent training will begin at noon. If anybody is interested in becoming a docent, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to Woodchuck Lodge’s brand new website. Stay tuned on the blog for the latest happenings in and around John Burroughs’ home and gravesite, a property that is conserved by a non-profit organization of the same name, devoted to preserving the lodge, headed by Bill Birns, a local Catskills historian.
The lodge opens to the public on May 5th with the first of our Wild Saturdays!