Tag Archives: abandoned

Fabulous discovery

I was cutting down glossy leaf buckthorn (GLB is a terrible, horrible invasive species resembling an alder crossed with a T-rex, but that´s another story), slash moving the pigs today.  I have a combination campaign in progress against the GLB.

I have to clear buckthorn just to make a path to put the electric pig fence through “the woods”, so the pigs have ample shade.  The old growth buckthorn provides shade, and the piglets root up all the GLB sprouts.  Then when we move the pigs along, we can cut down the big stuff, and seed the lumpy, pig tilled ground.

It´s slow, but it´s better than nothing, and the pigs´needs force me to at least do a little bit, regularly.  There´s quite a difference already in the field the pigs have worked all year.

So I was toppling and wrestling buckthorn, and after the pigpen, I drifted a little away from the pigs with my snipping, and ran right into a high-bush blueberry laden with big blue berries.  WOW! 

Right next to it, another, 7´tall, entwined in the branches of an alder.  Surprise, surprise, Mom and the Oreos were lounging beneath said alder. 

Awesome!  I looked around for others in the vicinity, but no luck.  This must be twenty years old.  It´s nice to find survivors from the ambitious planting efforts of the previous owners; so much did not survive the nearly 15 years of vacancy between their occupancy here and ours.  I didn´t think there was anything left to find here!

The pigs have been especially talented at unearthing the glass bottles that they used to mark the fruit and nut trees they planted.  Most of the lids have rusted through so the paper has been wet, but a few survive intact, artifacts of hopeful ambition, although the trees they once marked haven´t.  Survivors to date: walnut trees (magnificently), one hazelnut, two blueberries!, mint, comfrey, oregano, garlic (!), a lilac, some apple grafts.

I got this big bowl of berries off of it, and there´s more to ripen.  Now I have to make jam.

Future pasture

Our neighbour surprised me by showing up in his tractor to till some of our pasture.

Our “pasture” is more a memory of a field.  Abandoned for a decade, there´s very little actual grass left in the former field.  It´s choked with goldenrod, berry canes, scrubby bushes I don´t know, and the local invading species scourge – glossy leaf buckthorn.  Plus the incursion of poplars from the edges.  If we hadn’t cut down 100’s of seedlings the last few years, the former field would be entirely closed.

As it is, we have about one third of the total former field cleared. The other two thirds are worse off.  Two summers ago, we moved the pigs around on this part, they dutifully rooted, and I followed with seed.  I got some clover established but that was about all.  So, our neighbor came and tilled for us.  He says that he will till once more to smooth it out some, I´ll seed, and then we´ll see how much of the “unwanted”s grow back from the roots.

 It always amazes me how much work can be accomplished with petroleum energy.  Massive change to the surface of the earth in a matter of hours. Now, the field is transformed.  For one thing, the view across it is uninterrupted by a bunch of twigs growing.  I look forward to the green mist of germination over it.

Eventually, we’ll get this pasture back to graze-able.