Sun Setting On Our Field, by Rainer

Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain




Sunday, March 16, 2014

Phenologically and metamorphically speaking...

We're back here at the blog. Happy spring everybody!

The ants are back, too, with green plants growing all over their nest. They are adapting to the change very well.

So much sunshine here and flowers everywhere!

We're busy in the yard with several projects.

There is a research group guiding citizen scientists to record phenological observations:
Phenology: key seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year—such as flowering, emergence of insects and migration of birds—especially their timing and relationship with weather and climate. We didn't know what the word meant before this project.

We're observing the minute changes to three plant species: common lilac, Himalayan blackberry and California poppy. In our region we're having another warm, dry spring. Are the plant cycles coming on earlier? It sorta feels like it. We'll see as we get the hard data. Here is the common lilac with a breaking leaf bud, from Jan. 31, 2014:

Same plant on March 11, 2014:

Rainer's frog project continues. He's collected a few egg sacs from abundant habitats in McKinleyville and Arcata. 

Seems like the tadpoles emerging in this pond will be salamanders. A new species introduced to this wild back yard!

And the main frog city, functioning well, and loud:

Nice shot, Rainer! This is a great view of the back yard looking east from the top of an alder tree that is close to the house. So much space still could be cultivated. Growing more food is a big goal this summer.

Frida has a great little bed on the side of the house, in a very sunny spot. We separated the overgrown strawberries, reconditioned the soil with our bunny fertilizer and rich compost, and replanted many strawberries, plus added chives in between.

We've planted a lot more willows along all the fence lines, all from cuttings from older willows, which were cuttings from friend's gardens, or harvested by us from along the banks of the Mad River.

We planted the willow close to these baby redwoods, hoping a little shade would relieve the stark conditions for the moisture-loving redwoods. They are really stunted, but at least they are surviving.

Raspberries are growing well and need an occasional clipping to maintain a row to walk through. Thanks for the help, Rainer.

Redwood burl Rainer's got growing on the deck are so interesting. They sprout multiple new trees from the smallest little chunk of burl.

The coyote bush rocked out in January! So many flowers bloomed in January.

Twenty more feet for these eciums to be full-grown.

What is this huge specimen? We couldn't figure it out exactly with our books. We need better books.


We added a blog to the list of resources: Down on the Garm: Adventures in the Dirt, written by our neighbor Colin. He's making a sustainable garden/farm in his yard, doing a more precise job than we are, and he lives down the street! We couldn't be more excited to learn from someone who is as meticulous and conscientious as Colin.

What fun to babysit our neighbor's chickens recently! They just started laying again as the light changes.

Frida was so inspired she sewed a little chicken coop, a hen and a rooster for the one-year-old boy named Leo who lives there.

 So long for now, family and friends! See you next time for an update on the wildness, the art, the science and the ants!