Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Here We Go!

At last, preparing the site for future construction! Two big machines have appeared on the lower part of Prairie Hill, and perhaps by afternoon they will have begun "clearing and grubbing".

The plan is to complete this work in the next few days, all dependent on the weather. The engineers have staked out the ground:

We have talked to the folks at Wood Products, who are doing the clearing, and they will work with us to save poles for later use: for growing shitaki mushrooms, lining paths, making play equipment, and whatever other use we can come up with. They will also chip the rest of the wood to be used for mulch and soil amendment.

Marcia and Nan were up at the top of Prairie Hill this morning, marking a number of trees to be saved. We chose a whole grove of cottonwood trees as well as a couple ash. The cottonwoods especially seem to love the growing conditions there, and it will be lovely to have large trees on our land from the very first. We'll be planting hundreds of trees and shrubs in the near future, and it will be an adventure to choose them, care for them, and watch them mature. In the meantime, when we long for the shade of a mature tree, we will only have to climb up to our garden and orchard area to enjoy these native cottonwoods.

Our actual building site (the lower half of our piece of land) used to be a cornfield years ago. More recently it has been lying fallow, and volunteer shrubs, trees and other plants have settled in. We feel sad to have to take out these small trees especially, but will do our best to honor them: first by appreciating what they have contributed to the ecosystem by providing nesting and food for birds, stability to the hillside, oxygen for our air, shelter for plants and animals, and more healthy soil structure.  And once they're uprooted, we plan on using their chips and branches in our community.

We'll keep you posted as work on the land progresses!

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