SWOAM

There was a meeting of the Small Woodlot Owners Association of Maine in Otisfield, the next town over. Off Powhatan road, near the Otisfield school. It sounded as though it was too close for people who are in charge of ten or eleven acres of Maine woodland not to check out. It turned out to be about three miles from here, almost just around the block as it were.

There was nobody in sight when we got there, everyone having gone on a tour of the host’s woodlot. We took a couple of handouts from the table, walked around the outside of the farmhouse, looked around the garden (from a respectful distance outside the electric anti-deer fence), and walked back to out car. Just as we got to our car we heard people talking in the distance. When we walked back to check, two people walking up the hill said hello. A woman about our age or older said that she realized that nobody was back at the house in case someone else showed up late, like us. By then the tours were returning. One of the groups came in sight down the hill, riding on a hay wagon behind a tractor. Soon the other group walked up. Leading the group, holding a big long staff as a walking stick (“Where did you get that?” “Found it in the woods!”) was someone from the state forest service, a lot like a county extension service agent. It turns out that he will come to people’s woodlots and give them advice on managing them. One key aspect is marking your boundaries; I don’t know what else we should be doing to keep our woods healthy, but we’ll try to get him over — and actually he belongs in Androscoggin county, and will send the guy responsible for Cumberland county, but will come along, because the Cumberland guy is new at the job — some time in the fall. So it turned out to be a constructive trip.

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