Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Talk Turkey to Me

First there are a few

Then there are several

In no time there are many

Then they flee

Over the past few years I have been seeing turkeys roam through the woods and marsh (in winter). Its amazing to see the turkeys fly up 60 feet to the tree tops to roost. If caught unaware, turkeys flapping their wings can give you quite a startle.

Winter Path

Amidst our winter visit , our first woodland walk. Starting at the trail head, we take a little jaunt on the southerly wetland edge trail.

Bundles of fallen twigs accumulate along the trail.

One of the several foot bridges spanning wet ravines. This one crosses a temporary brook that issues from a tree's roots a few feet from the bridge. The brook drains a wet basin that is just a few feet higher in elevation. Notice the larger twig pile in the background.

One of many animal trails in the snow. This is a good place to learn winter animal tracks.

Leaves of some understory trees hang on, golden, warming the view.

The long bridge comes into sight, crossing one point of drainage into the big yellow-grass marsh (that's what I call it, as I tend to see the marsh in winter, full of ochre grass.) This location has less grass than the rest of the marsh, can hold water in wet times, dry out in drought, and is shady-what a gardener's complication!

Crossing the long bridge. Its made with tree log cuts for legs and pallet-like dock laid over it. Remarkably hardy, the docking sheds water easily -resisting decay.

Resting on a boulder under matchbook tree, on the hillside trail facing east.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Possibility of a Japanese-Inspired Garden

In this tumble of concrete and boulders -an unnatural grotto, I would like to create a Japanese-inspired garden

There is moss growing on the agglomerated boulders.

These shots are looking from the trail down into the small ravine.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trail Maker

Rex's woods had been neglected over the years, probably at some point a farmer's woodlot. But he is a woodland trail maker -its his favorite activity. It gives him an intimate knowledge of the woods he lives in and opens the woods up to people, mainly his neighbors. Last year I carved a trail sign out of Redwood for his network of trails. We mounted it on two Cedar posts this passed July at the head of the main trail behind the house.

Rex uses the fallen timber to frame the trails and the wood chips from the chainsawing to soften the path. Moss often grows on the old logs.

He can often be found clearing the woodland brush. These woods have been invaded by Buckthorn, an invasive brought over from Europe as a hedging shrub. Over many months he piles up the brush and twigs which form great piles like the one below.

At any given time there may be a few of these piles around the woods. In winter, if there is good enough snow cover, he will burn these piles. I'd like to be there when he does.

Heart Land

My father-in-law, Leroy (Rex), has ownership of about 38 acres in south central Minnesota. Its quite different out there, from my vantage point here in Brooklyn, NY. This blog will be about that landscape.

The land is glacially sculpted, much like the land I grew up with on Long Island, NY. But his land sits in the Big Woods- an area defined by deciduous forest. The land is hilly, or rolling, with many small and large lakes (the land-o-lakes), wetlands and bogs. To the west is prairie. This part of Minnesota has distinct boundaries, created in part by the glaciation, in part by precipitation, and partly by fires. As you drive west, you can sense the change from the Big Woods region to the prairie region even though it has been drastically altered by farming.