Wednesday, April 16, 2014

From Stones to Stumps

There’s been a lot of blood and sweat in the last few weeks transforming an old patch of weeds into garden space.  Last year at this time the space was full of weeds, branches, two decaying bushes pulled up from the yard, various pieces of rusted metal, pokeweed and berry brambles; otherwise known as a typical farm brush pile.  By last fall the poke weeds stood over six feet tall and the berry bushes were more than encroaching on the yard.

As in Rausch Gap, we too had to fight an untamed wilderness, for Rausch Gap would have still have held countless trees, rampant brush and piles of rock. We fought with stumps everywhere, usually at the strike of every shovel.  They fought with rocks everywhere. We hope the rewards of the garden are worth the blood and sweat we have turned into this soil.

OCTOBER 2013: Last fall we were faced with an overrun brush pile, and started cutting down pokeweeds and disposing of their berries to prevent more from growing.


EARLY APRIL 2014: One of our major challenges has been controlling the berry bushes (black raspberry and blackberry) lining three edges of the garden.  In order to assist in taming them, we are using 1x3 boards and twine. 

LAST WEEK: A lot of the work has been done by hand (except for the removal of some sizable stumps which was done with a backhoe.)

MONDAY, we were finally able to start planting. (Please Note: We are two or so weeks behind on getting a few crops in the ground due in part to this crazy weather we have been having and the amount of time it has taken to tame the wilderness).   We were able to plant our potatoes, cabbage, parsnips and beets yesterday. In my next blog post I will be discussing the different crops we will be plants, the varieties we have chosen and their uses.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wood Frog Watch

The sounds of spring arrived upon the warm breezes of this past week as the Spring Peepers’ chorus rose from the marshy recesses of the farm fields.  Toads and Spotted Salamanders carefully crossed the roads in between the tires of passing cars, and the North American Newt swam happily along the sunny banks of a nearby lake.  Whether you live in town or are just simply driving down a country road, I’m sure you noticed flowerbeds of blooming crocuses and daffodils, and maybe even the tulips and flags (irises) emerging from the ground.  Simply put, it sure sounds and feels like spring! 

In search of another sign of spring, my father and I ventured down Boxcar Road this morning, seeking the chorus of the Wood Frogs rising up from the strip mines and vernal ponds along the road.  We were greeted with a muddy, rutted road due to the present lumbering operations to the north of Boxcar Road, and the passing rain showers, but a little rain should not scare off the frogs.  Corner after corner we turned, hearing nothing but the silence of The Great Wilderness. 

The strip mines are still empty of frogs, but a few puddles in the road spoke a different story.  Below are photographs of some creature’s eggs, who may have been hoping the rain showers would continue.  Do you know whose eggs they are? 


Boxcar Road – Although stones have amended the drive into the parking lot, be prepared for some muddy ruts on Boxcar Road due to the current lumbering operations. 

Stone Tower Trail – The log-cable crossing over Clarks Creek near the Stone Tower Trailhead no longer has its cable.  Please be prepared to find another way to cross.  (Reported March 29, 2014; Reported April 6, 2014)

If you have any trail condition updates you'd like us to share, please email them.