My Central Ky Habitat Addiction

Discussion in 'Property Tours' started by CentralKyHunter, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Hello Fellas ( and random lost ladies)

    I'm a QDMA habitat forum transplant . The guys there ( which many are here) have inspired me to make huge strides in managing my farm for great habitat to benefit multiple species.

    Gonna try to pull my post over to this thread to keep my habitat journal in place.

    I look forward to continued growth here !!



    In 2011 my brother and I were lucky enough to by a 125 acre cattle farm to solely use for recreation & hunting. We do have 50 acres of it rented out for crops but the rest we mainly use to improve wild life. Although our resources with time & money are limited due to the fact we both have young children and are fairly young (30 & 31) we have managed to make a lot of positive improvments to this once fescue heavy cattle farm. I never relaized the amount of time and dedication it takes to manage habitat, after all the weeds never stop growing!!!!!

    We have tried to promote a lot of native shrub & berry growth for the benefit of game animals and are putting our food plots around those areas with heavy shrub and berry growth

    Had F&W Biologist out last year to help with native habitat promotion & have a state forester scheduled for next week to walk our woods and site for future tree planting. All with emphasis on wildlife habitat enhancement.

    FARM LAYOUT:

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  2. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    RANDOM PICS:

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  3. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    ORCHARD & SMALL GAME BRUSH PILES FROM OLD CROP FIELD:

    Planted a variety of apples, pears, and plums. lined orchard with brush pile where crop field was starting to wash and then planted about 60 native Mulberry around perimeter.

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    Starting to have alot of Quail & Rabbits using my brush piles
     
  4. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Summer food plots I have started this year to help with my fescue erradication.

    Got about 5 more acres sprayed for winter plots also.

    BEFORE:

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    AFTER:

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  5. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Site of our future hunting cabin. We are in process of putting up a 35X60 Quonset hut. Front half will be finished out 30X35 open lounge & kitchen witha full loft for sleeping quarters. The back 35X30 will be the garage/shop section.

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    This is an old mobile home located beside our future cabin. We removed the mobile home, fixed the roof and are going to concrete it for a pavilion for cook outs and family functions.

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  6. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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  7. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    As mentioned the "cabin" is a 35w X 60d x 18t "S" Type (straight sides) Quonset Hut. The list price was around $20,000 but I "pitted" three companies against each other to finally negotiate a delivered price of $9800 for the package. So there must be HUGE mark-ups on these things. I ended up getting it from U.S. Steel Building out of Boone, NC.

    The plan is to finish front half out and put a loft in it as mentioned. Loft will probably be 15'-18' wide and 30' deep due to the lost space on each side of the arches

    I am going to try and have the finished area spray foam insulated due to the amount of heat these things get with sunlight.

    When its all said and done I will probably have $30,000 in the entire project including having to run my county water 3000+ feet and all other prep work.

    I was originally going to build a simple designed 24X30 "cabin" with half loft but the floor plans are so tight I wasnt satisfied. The quonset huts are free standing so I will have a wide open floor plan with only the bathroom walled off. At the end of the day I will end up getting a free garage/shop in the back half and a better floor plan for the same price as the 24x30 "cabin"

    The down fall is that I will have a LOT more labor involved in this thing , which will save me money over having to hire the other built. The Hut has about 100 peices & 7500+ bolts!!

    It arrived on four pallets like this:
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    Assemble arch in halves:
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    Building Site:

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  8. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Here are a few pics i took today while trying to clean up a couple acres we had let grow up over the last few years and it had almost gotten to large for the bushhog.,,,

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    The green area cut out into the corn field is one of my orchard locations. It currently has about 30 trees consisting of apples, pears & plums... Surrounded by brush on left side for small game cover and also has a lot of Mulberry trees planted around the perimeter

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  9. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    We received a couple of new Queens this week so split a few of our other hives that were very productive, we are now up to six hives if both of these make it... We are wanting to go to 25 hives across the farm.

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    I also finally got a crew of guys to help get my building started up, we got about 20 feet of it done with another 40 to go.

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  10. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Haven't got to work at the farm much lately but have done a little bit more work on the hunting cabin worked on a few food plots and potted some berry plants to place down there for personal use and wildlife. Also took our family pictures down there this year for the first time so thought I would share that as well.

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    Making progress buts its a little slow, lot more work than i gave it credit for....

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  11. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Life has finally caught up with me this fall and going into winter and I have not had much time for habitat work. But have squeezed in a few hours to work on our farm cabin so thought I would share some updated pics.

    Going to stucco the top half and there will be a chimney going up where the gap is located in the log siding
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    I guess my habitat work will start back up in about 60 days when I am scheduled to receive a very large order of trees and shrubs. I am very excited about it but equally dreading the amount of work involved!!!!
    Also completed this a few weeks ago. Got a grant through the NRCS dept!!!
    30x72 High Tunnel Greenhouse. Gonna do berries and a garden this year to learn the ins and out of managing one. Want to eventually transition into potted trees and shrubs for wildlife plantings.

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  12. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Well, I guess we are done hunting for the season. My brother and I did not manage to tag a deer but we did host a few youth hunts with sucess!! Cant wait til my boys get old enough!!!

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  13. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Work has been slow in 2015. Have managed to get a few wàlls studded up in the cabin but that's about it. We have had about 30 inches of snow in the last 30 days. That is unheard of for us!!! I have received 700 seedlings over that time. But just hilled them all in my greenhouse until hopefully this weekend.

    I do have some good news and some bad news to report on my habitat management. Good news, very good news, I got a call last week that I have been excepted to participate in planting about 10 acres of open ground into trees all with cost share! In addition our 30 acres of woods will all be enrolled in Timber stand improvement (TSI), and they are going to provide all of the chemicals for the eradication of invasive trees around our property, mainly Tree Of Heaven. I have worked hard over the last few years to get this done and am very excited about it!! Meeting with Forestry Dept Thursday to start putting plan into place.

    Now I am trying to get our 50 acres of crop ground enrolled in buffer zones and CRP with native warm season grasses. Our farm is pretty hilly and would definitely benefit from this program..

    Now the bad news. Shot a good buck the last weekend of gun season. The buck fell hard but I never could recover it. This was my first experience having to track a deer and had no luck doing so, even had a friend from another area bring in a blood tracking dog with no success. Receive some info this week that our neighbor found the skull of the deer on his property about 400 yards from where I shot it. He let me come and look at it and it was a buck that we had quite a few pictures and sheds of over the last few years. Offered to buy it from him because I would love to have had it in our cabin with his sheds but he would not part with it. The loss of this deer was my fault due to the fact that I did not prepare for a follow-up shot as I should have, I just assumed the deer was dead when he hit the ground. I have killed quite a few deer and have been lucky enough to put good shots on all of them up until him.

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    18 inch inside spread & 20 outside!! Would have definitely been my largest 8 pt buck.
     
  14. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Let the fun begin. Part of me is glad that I am taking on this project but larger part of me is dreading it!!!

    1500 plants to pot and it is definitely going to take longer than I expected!!!

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    We do have a dry place to work today though, that is a good thing!!

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    Will Post quite a few more pictures this evening of the bare rooted plants before and after potting.

    I am definitely blessed beyond what I deserve. The good news for us is that the next farm we want to purchase borders ours with 200 acres and 60 in CRP. Our plan is to try and pay our farm off in the next 5 to 7 years and possibly make a move toward the neighbors property if interest rates allow for it. My brother and I are definitely hard workers and taught that way by our mother. We are also blessed with wives who are very dedicated professionally and are equally hard workers ( just not on the farm)!!

    My biggest downfall is my lack of focus and often times getting in way over my head as I am currently with this seedling project!!!'

    With that being said, I do have 750 potted.

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    But have 700 to go!!!

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    Brushpile likes this.
  15. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    As with most of you, I love spring!!! Made a quick trip to farm to check my trees.

    Was happy to see my clover in the orchard doing well.

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    The hillside in the back drop is the site of my hopeful large scale planting in conjunction with the NRCS

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    I absolutly love seeing these trees come back to life!!!

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    Brushpile likes this.
  16. Brushpile

    Brushpile Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Having Foresters and Wildlife Biologists involved is a good move! You might also request a Soil Scientist from the NRCS. My NRCS Soil Scientist gave me a list of plants, trees and shrubs that would grow in various locations and soil types, which was invaluable information.
     
    CentralKyHunter likes this.
  17. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Well, as I documented sometime back I took on a project of potting 1500 trees this winter including: pears, dwarf chinq oaks, sawtooths, chestnuts, spruces, plums, hazelnuts, strawberry bushes, and persimons.

    The project has been over whelming as many of you hinted it would be but I hope the rewards are worth it. I took a few quick pics today of some trees that were starting to take off.

    Persimmons from Superior Trees in Fl are just starting to leaf decent:

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    Sawtooth Oaks also from Superior looking very well:

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    Dwarf Chinquapin Oaks from Superior were very late breaking bud but have exploded this week:

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    Will get more pics of other species this week hopefully!!
     
  18. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Been a little while since I have updated my thread so I will add a few pics of the cabin. It is moving along slowly but surely and we will hopefully start some interior finish work in the next week or so. The loft will be the next thing!!

    Got the porch mostly done and the Stucco started on teh upper half & chimney

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    Also got the metal up on interior wall garage side and got the spray foam insulation done:

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  19. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    I also layed this big cedar down today to use for my two center post of my loft. The loft will only cover the back 15ft of the finished area. so the loft will be 15ft deep and 35ft wide with some lost head space on each side due to the curves of the building. The front half of the finished are will be completly open and exposed to the ceiling ( 18ft) so that we can use the front wall for out mounts to hang.

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  20. CentralKyHunter

    CentralKyHunter Active Member

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    Have also been working hard to cleanup the lot we bought last year that borders us and that the cabin is being built on. It has some very nice white oaks around our cabin & pavilion area as well as 3 pears, 2 apples, and a crab apple. This property had been abandoned for about 7 years. I plan on adding more fruit trees in this area, leaning toward apples, cherries, and plums!!

    Apple & Pear Trees:

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    White Oaks around the building site:

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    There are quite a few deer that stay in this area and feed on the pears & acorns pretty heavily.
     

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