Saturday, May 24, 2008

a saturday walk in the woods

This morning was glorious weather for exploring the land surrounding these deer-fenced fields I spend most of my time in, so I pulled my socks up over my pant-legs against the ticks, and went out.
There's a swamp in between the two lower fields, with mounds of ferns & grasses.  And these ever-present rock walls... I like to imagine the livestock they must have been built for-- fields of cows and sheep and horses where now there is only forest.
I like to think about the people who must have lifted these rocks out of the fields & placed them.  For some reason I always picture families-- kids helping out, grampa lifting his share.  These smooth rocks tell you that there is a brook nearby.
The trees all leafed out with that unseasonable heat we had last month, and then all that tender new growth was killed with a frost.  But cold weather should be behind us now, and the trees have pushed out another set of leaves, the old ones withered and brown.  It gives a strange feeling of fall to look out at these brownish-orangish-greens on the trees as I drive by on the Parkway.
I've been trying to pick up on the local ecology of the area a little.  Something I noticed, that is also a Permaculture design principle, is the "Edge Effect"-- there is more life on the edge where two systems overlap, where organisms can access the resources of both systems.  In landscape architecture, this translates into creating spaces that maximize edge-- meaning avoid straight lines!  This will allow you to harvest the most biomass abundance & diversity.  Check out these photos, taken about 50' apart from eachother:

1. The forest
2. The edge region
3. The meadow
I found a patch of wild leeks, or "ramps"!  I recognized them because I actually saw them in a grocery store in Rhinebeck for a lot of money!  I'm going to saute them with burdock root in butter!  Yum.

A successful walk... now it's time to eat!

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