April 2006 Report
April has been a lion of a month from start to finish.

We fought three forest fires and despite lack of equipment at least kept the Preserve area intact. We cannot tell how much of the conservation area has been burned without an aerial survey. The first fire occurred about three weeks ago starting near the illegal Haitian buildings at the entrance to the farm road. Since we have no functioning tractor we have been unable to keep our east border road clear, the fire jumped the road and was driven towards us on an east wind.

The second road, which we had cut a year ago, also hasn't been maintained due to lack of equipment. However we were able to stop the fire by patrolling the road and beating the flames back wherever they started to come across the road. Sixteen hours of overtime were put in by the men, not counting the efforts of yours truly.

We hoped we were safe but it was not to be. There is a stretch where the new road does not extend because we did not wish to drive it across a marsh. On the 19th, whether a new fire or smoldering remains of the old, fire came at us once again from the east. We first attempted to fight the fire right at the advancing front but to no avail. We fell back and worked to scour the fence line and Preserve road. We were lucky. It was a cloudy, damp day and while the wind was stiff the fire was intense but discouraged. The marsh, still wet from some prior rain, stopped the fire from moving south and we were able to stop the fire at the fence line.

A third fire hit the Preserve from the west over the weekend of April 28. Two columns of smoke were in the forest to the west of the farm, much of the farm itself appears to be scorched. The east wind and the thin line cleared under our fence kept us from suffering extensive damage. We lost some fence and some isolators but were spared a major burn. The forage in the Preserve is intact, but we have lost the fence in the current mini pasture, and the stakes, and will have to set out an entirely new area.

Everyone looks fit, we continue to wait to see what will happen while working to get approval to get the two years' overdue health checks underway.

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