Jun 072017
 
0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Acorn Launch Pad, Cold Water Canyon rock, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, California Valley Oak, acorn, Quercus lobata

Ants!Acorn Launch Pad is an Outdoor Classroom wildlife habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. Date: June 6, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

Management reserves the right to change a name!Acorn Launch Pad, hereinafter at times referred to as “ALP” for brevity, is a 3-season wildlife habitat installation.  The project evolved during the winter, spring, and summer months of 2016 into 2017.  The installation highlight is to plant a valley oak tree between a hubba hubba hulk of a log and a 1000 pound Cold Water Canyon Rock slab.  Will the valley oak (Quersus lobata) live to 500 years?  Will the tree lift the rock slab as it grows?  Not for me to know in 30, 40, 50 years from now, but perhaps the students planting the tree will.

1 Year, 5 Months Before Installation

east view -- Laguna Foundation, Santa RosaDriveway of Laguna Foundation’s LEC (Laguna Environmental Center), east view.  The gate is behind me about 50 feet.  Note the rock patch left of the road, at the foot of the culvert pipe, and the juncus rush clump.  Juncus (Juncus patens), culvert, and ditch — sounds like water to me!  This lower area will make good wildlife habitat, providing habitat’s 4 elements — food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.  Juncus at the site indicates year-round water; the valley oak and critters living in the tree, under the rocks, and in the soil will use that water.

east view -- Stone Farm, Santa RosaSame view as above pic, but along the fence.  Not too early to envision the project; Permaculture principles entail waiting a year (12 months!) before working a site.  This winter’s job is to watch the water — how much water from winter floods will fill the site AND where will the water line be?

driveway road culvertCulvert pipe outlet, north side of driveway, which connects low-lying pastures so the driveway does not flood so quickly.  Will take lots of rain to flood over the road.  Note how thick (happy) the juncus clump is.

7 Months Before Installation

Habitat Landscaper -- Tony McGuiganIt’s been nearly a year waiting on harvesting wood for Acorn Launch Pad.  Last winter’s wet wood (WWW — and nothing virtual about it!) has sunbaked dry, has become lighter.  Lighter wood means we can harvest a larger, bulker, hulkier log or tree trunk.  Took 4 hours to get Hulk (strapped at angle) into the truck.  Note the plywood board under the rear tire — the soft November ground is soft and a tire rut left in the mud would look messy.

Digging bars keep the plywood in place as the truck’s wheel spins right.

Webbing straps secure Hulk to a perfectly placed telephone pole.  Ready?!  Set!

Hulk has arrived homeGo!!!  Hulk, an oak tree trunk section, arrives home, about 50 feet from the installation site, which is close to the fenceline on the left.

5 Months Before Installation

Always set an anchor!So where’s that driveway road?  Winter in Sonoma County means water, sometimes flooding.  Note how Hulk rests in slightly higher ground above the culvert.  Note the lushness of the terrain — hard to imagine that in six months it will be a parched dry golden brown.

Photo courtesy of Brent Reed Kayaking ToursLater that same January 2017 day; the water has risen fast.  Yikes!  Almost lost Hulk to the flood, but now we know where flood level goes to at the site.

2 Months Before Installation

Thanks Stuart!A rock slab is placed on top of 3 smaller landscape boulders.  The rock slab, “Rock”, is a 1000 pound (½ ton) Cold Water Canyon (local to Sonoma County) rock.  Thank you Stuart Schroeder for the fork lift delivery!  The 3 smaller rocks will slow down Rock’s sinking into the soil and will create cavities for critters under Rock.

Installation Day — Part 1 (6 weeks before Part 2)

setting come-a-long chainThe students from Orchard View School have arrived.  Rolling Hulk on its side, we discover . . .

ants!ants!  Lots of ants.  Busy, swarming red ants, that bite.  Obviously, we will be destroying some of their habitat, most likely a nest built under Hulk, as we install another habitat.

Heave!Today’s outdoor classroom project is about mechanical advantage, mostly class 1 leverage.  Left, a long metal pipe is toed into the earth and pushed forward, from the top end, to move Rock more centered on top of the 3 landscaping boulders below.  A student (second from right) pulls Rock at the same time using a come-a-long.  A third student (right) keeps Hulk in place; on the other side of Hulk (far right, out of photo) are digging bars and pipes to anchor the come-a-long.  Note that Rock still sits on the fork lift skid/pallet that helped Farmer Stuart deliver it.  The wood pallet creates a lot of catching resistance — all the more reason to use mechanical advantage.

Almost there!Fine tuning placement of Rock and retrieving the come-a-long chain.

Who left this pallet here?Students begin digging Hulk’s hole, near enough to the rocks so that the tree trunk section will surface and rest on the rocks.

Dig a hole, make a mound.Topsoil and weeds from the hole is thrown into the rock pile to create a rich foundation for planting the valley oak tree.

Sticky, heavy mud!Extra logs are temporarily placed to help create a mound of soil up against the rocks.

Excuse me, what are the Rec Room's hours?A western fence lizard (tail and foot visible under the pallet) inspects the new Recreation Room.

Mount St. Helena to the north.Finished for the day.  Acorn Launch Pad waits for the next work session.  North view.  Note that weeds and mud have been thrown against the rock pile.  Also, the extra logs have removed from the soil-mounding area and are now placed into the hole started by the students to alert anyone walking in the field.

Can we have some quiet, please?!A lizard on its way to the rock pile.

setting sun, day's endThe warm sunny rock has coaxed a lizard out.  Notice the little rock alcove it basks in, complete with overhead shelter from predators.

Habitat it and they will come!

Installation Day — Part 2 — Completion on June 6, 2017

Warm rocks -- lizards have moved in!East view.  Time to finish this job, 6 weeks later than scheduled.  Soft adobe mud has turned into brick hard adobe mud.  Today’s job is a different job than it would have been in soft-mud spring.  Summer’s heat and dryness have hardened the heavy soil.  But we can fix that!

North view.  First order of business — get water to the hole so that the soil will soften.  A garden hose is stretched out in the sun to warm while tools are gathered.  Removing any kinks in the hose now will help increase water flow.  Note the dryness of the terrain.

native plant nurseryCollecting tools and water from the Laguna Foundation’s Nursery.

Habitat Landscaper at work!Spore Lore™ Mobile Hydration Station on truck.  Hoses deliver water into Hulk’s hole started by students.

Close-up view of getting water to the installation site.  The odd-looking dome screen above the barrels is merely to keep the sun-warmed hose from kinking; I ran out of hard pipe to plumb the siphon.  5-gal buckets of water are used to replenish water flowed out of the drums, before the siphon is lost — sure beats carrying the water buckets to the site!

chop wood, (don't) carry waterAnd we have water!

bar marks the spotPlenty of time for the hole to be filled with water.  Time to take in the beauty of this pasture land, and time to imagine how this habitat might contribute to it.  A good time to plan completion of the job, work some art into the finished product.  The metal digging bar represents how Hulk is to rest.   Catching the eye — visitors to the Laguna Foundation will spot the oak log from afar.  Diagonally, and opening away from the road, the log is positioned to welcome visitors.  And as for the critters visiting or living in Acorn Launch Pad, they could care less about such artsy stuff.

Metal digging bar representing Hulk’s position — close-up view.  Hulk and Rock will form a “planting box” for Acorn (the acorns planted to seed the valley oak tree).  Fill canyon (trench between Rock and Hulk), plant tree.  Simple!  Oh, that’s right, no such luck; I’m doing the digging.

Mountain Climber makes it look easy!A lizard climbs rock,

small dinosaurand stops.  Perhaps to savor warmth?  Perhaps to conceal, not give away so freely, its hideout and/or home.  “Who me?  I am not here.  I have disappeared into camouflage.”  Note this camouflage expert’s position.  Is it coincidence that this striped animal rests parallel to a like-colored, bleached grass stalk?

I usually sleep in for BreakfastClose-up of western fence lizard entering ALP.  Note pattern, color, and texture of Lizard’s right arm.  Now do the same for the lichen it has landed on.  This guy is good!  “Where’s dinner?  I heard there were wood beetles, earthworms, and froglets here.”

stay where you are, pleaseLet’s do the Can Can!  Driwater® hydration cans will provide time-released irrigation to young tree roots a year from now.  Acorn is set for launch in Fall 2017.  Winter rains will help mature the valley oak seedling.  Time-released irrigation, using the Driwater® system, will water the seedlings through next late spring and next summer.   [No statement here is by Driwater®.]  Note the twine line — it was used to keep the cans in place and to “chalk line” surface level.  In order words, the twine marks how high the soil will be mounded.  Keep in mind that this view of the planting mound is looking through Hulk — Hulk will be installed up against these cans, parallel to them and will form a “planting box”.  Note how the cans’ tops have been positioned above soil level.  The top will be removed to fill the cans with Driwater® material.  Note the oak limbs under and alongside the cans — mycorrhizal fungi trenches in waiting.  Those small oak limbs will break down, rot, and become food and homes for soil creatures from today till Acorn is planted.  Then, upon planting, the decayed oak limbs will support growth to Acorn through absorbing and holding water and by providing an enhanced mycorrhizal fungi network.

Let water do the workOak Lake fills while weeds/topsoil are harvested into a storage bin (pond liners are lightweight and strong).  The alive weeds/topsoil will be used used to dress Acorn’s adobe hillside.

treasure trashRoadside trash harvested.  These old tree branches are good organic material that will come in handy.

wet mud on a dry dayOak Lake expansion.  The water is about 6 inches below grade, just low enough to be contained in the hole and not overfill.  Time is the most powerful working agent — the longer the water sits in the hole, the softer the adobe clay becomes.  Note the planting of sticks in the center of the soil mound.  Those antennae are broken roadside trash branches — wood that will absorb water, break down, and leave a more alive soil for Acorn.

underwater mud is slow digging More water.  Now the digging is under water, sliver of mud by sliver of mud.  Slow digging but doable.

Hulk flipped into position.  Note the closer (foreground) digging bar — it provides our workhorse, leverage, and will pull Hulk to it.

Ready?!  Set!

Perfect!  Hulk has cleared the end of the hole and can be flipped in.

It’s a flawless half turn nose dive!  Notice how much more hole there is surrounding Hulk.  Hulk will be pulled to the closer shore, toward the red strap.  Doing so will allow Hulk to rest parallel with the hydration cans.

Supporting logs floated in Oak Lake to provide more organic material AND to preserve precious backfill soil.  More wood in the hole means less soil needed to fill it.

16 pound sledge hammer, The PersuaderPersuader (sledge hammer) sinks another supporting log next to Hulk.  Note that Hulk has twisted on its side.  Each flip of Hulk produces a different rainwater collecting surface.  Might not sound like much but every drop of rainwater is a big deal to the fungi, flora and fauna that will call Hulk home.

Hulk lays almost parallel to the can line.  Half of the adobe mound in the background will line the bottom of the canyon wedge, ensuring that Hulk will absorb water/moisture during rain/fog.

Mudworks.  Downhill side of Hulk filled in with Oak Bog (puddle) created to capture rainwater.

Our old friend, Culvert.  A great place to collect straw.

Straw is used to cover the wet mud and to help the habitat blend into local terrain.

Finished!  North view.  Acorn Launch Pad wildlife habitat installation is in.

Closer view of finished habitat.  Acorn will be planted at the blue flag, between Hulk and Rock.

West view of soil mound awaiting Acorn.

South view.  Note that the hydration cans are hidden from road traffic.

Acorn Blast Off coming Fall 2017East view.  Note that the hydration cans are usable (the lids can be accessed) yet blend into the habitat’s features.  The cans will be more hidden in high grass as the habitat fills in with Life.

See you in the fall to plant (Blast off!!!) Acorn.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager; Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor; Asa Voight, Restoration Technician II; Hannah Werdmuller, Restoration Technician; and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

                                                                               Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 212017
 
0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback is an Outdoor Classroom wildlife habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. Date: February 23, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback (now that’s a name!) hereinafter “Saddleback” installation.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumThe Plan, from 2 months before the project.  Name change was inevitable; the students had not been consulted.  Plan is North View.  Our project, Saddleback, is under East Log and the mounding of soil/rock/plants between the two logs.

In a nutshell, Saddleback is a wildlife habitat installation using a large trunk section to shelter an underground tunnel that leads to a rock outcropping and the surface.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback — The Before.  North east view.  February in Sonoma County means mustard!  Note the swath of vibrant yellow mustard in the lush grass-happy cow pasture beyond the Laguna Environmental Center’s fenceline.  The line of trees on the pasture’s north border is Irwin Creek.

Prep — 3 Months Before Installation

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSaddleback is a sister habitat to a previous outdoor classroom wildlife habitat installation: Twisted North Mound.  In foreground, a student removes clay soil from under East Log to build the soil mound behind him.  The trench was then filled with woodchips for easy removal when East Log’s habitat is created (beats digging out clay soil!).

Prep — Installation Day — Before Students Arrive

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTurkey tail fungus on the oak trunk of West Log.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTurkey Tail fungus.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMeadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum) plugs that will be used for the project.  These plugs are leftovers in the Nursery; their survival rate will be poor.  But, some may live to thrive in the habitat.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA plug of meadow barley.  Note the moss “weed”.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumScraping away woodchips from under the East Log.  See “Prep — 3 Months Before Installation“, above.  Note the earthworm at my fingertips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSoil critters thriving in the moist decaying woodchips under (shaded from sun) in the previously made trench.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumScraping away woodchips to preserve their integrity.  We want to keep the soil we move from mixing with the woodchips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumShading the woodchip pile with landscape cloth to minimize soil microbe/fungus fatality.  The partially broken down woodchips are richly impregnated with decomposers, that is, microbes and fungus and arthropods and gastropods that want to eat the woodchips, thrive in them.  Would be a shame to kill off such biota while installing a habitat.  The opaque landscape cloth will keep harsh sunlight from the woodchip dwellers.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum

Taking shape.  The trench under East Log is deepened.  Soil in the tub, from the trench, will be added to Saddleback when the meadow barley is planted.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumShopping for something organic, something ALIVE! at the Habitat Resource Pile (an old woodchip pile with buried treasures).  Note the middle stump, adjacent to the eaten out stump in the foreground — it has lived inside a large woodchip for over 3 years, always covered by chips.  Now it is ripe to pick and place in a wildlife habitat.  The stump itself is alive — it is impregnated with Life.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPrying Middle Stump (think Middle Earth) from the Habitat Garden’s woodchip pile.  Note the dark richness of its bed — Are these woodchips are is this soil?!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumHabitat it and they will come!  Lots of Life, critters seen and unseen, fungi, stored water and its biome.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumStored in a tub, the precious stump is shaded in a plastic barrel.  The stump’s transfer to the habitat will be in a few hours.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumHarvesting compost from Compost Cricket Corral, as mentioned in my last post, Centipede Tunnel Perch.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPrep.  Clockwise from foreground: 4-15 gallon pots filled with Nursery-discarded potting soil (free!), West Log, Cold Water Canyon rock slabs (standing and on garden cart), Middle Stump in white plastic shaded bin, plants (behind East Log in shade), black plastic bin of topsoil from East Log trench, tunnel of corrugated perforated habitated (holes cut in for critter entrance/exit) 6″ ABS, palm fronds, black landscape cloth covered mound of woodchips, wheelbarrow (rusty) of compost with an algae covered log, wheelbarrow (blue) of compost.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA bonus gift!  We have 5 juncus Juncus patens to plant.  Juncus, a reed, loves water; their presence indicates year-round water.

Installation — Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumStudents have arrived and gather woodchips that will be used to finish the project.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumIn goes the tunnel, a custom designed critter tunnel, “Each Exit/Entrance is about 6-8″ long and 2″ wide (2 corrugation trenches).”, as described in Centipede Tunnel Perch.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDecisions, decisions — it is a school day after all.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumCritter tunnel in place.  Note the spaced cut-outs.  Are you [critter] in or are you out?

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumOld palm fronds, salvaged/harvested from the Habitat Garden Resource Pile, are used to line the tunnel.  Accomplishes: 1) keeps tunnel in place, 2) installs Life-alive! biome to project, 3) provides critters with a moisture laden maze of cavities, and 4) empties the palm frond pile.  Turn trash to treasure!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMiddle Stump has a new home.  Saddleback gets an infussion of life.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAdding more wood for the habitat’s cavern-filled mound.  Also, scraping soil to cover tunnel/palm fronds.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumBackfilling to plant up against East Log.

2017020- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum28-DSLWS_81-800Moving a rock slab into Saddleback.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAnd another rock.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumThe goal here is to create a planting mound joined with the plants in the foreground, those meadow barley of Twisted North Mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSoil for the mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumIn comes a cavity maker.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSaddleback’s north side is about to get a rock slab that will create cavities.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumNorth end of Saddleback sealed off with a rock slab.  Middle Stump is really now in Middle Earth!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMounding soil.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAnd the bin of topsoil.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumWoodchips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTime to reclaim the woodchips from the start of the project.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPlanting meadow barley.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumEach meadow barley plug is planted top flush with soil surface.  Then the grasses are lightly surrounded with woodchips, enough to support the grasses but not so much to block sunlight.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPlanting meadow barley and juncus.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback — The After.

1 Month After Installation

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA western fence lizard surfaces from within Saddleback.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSame lizard back inside and out another exit.  Fun in the sun.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager; Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor; Asa Voight, Restoration Technician II; Hannah Werdmuller, Restoration Technician; and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

 

Feb 142017
 

Centipede Tunnel Perch -- The BeforeCentipede Tunnel Perch — The Before.  Northwest view.  Previous installations in the Habitat Garden (nearest to farthest): Cookie Monster Perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Log Pile Apartments, Compost Cricket Corral, Big Splash Hotel and Spa, and Salamander French Drain, the last of which is nearly under the willow to the left.

Centipede Tunnel Perch is a wildlife habitat installed near the Habitat Landscaping Resource Center (otherwise known as the “compost” and “log pile”) at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The installation was an outdoor classroom activity.  Date: January 19, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

In a nutshell, this wildlife habitat installation is 3 tasks at the Habitat Garden.  The Habitat Garden can be considered the collective of wildlife habitat installations, some of which are listed under the photo, above, and all the natural (organic) materials on hand.  Most of those on-hand materials are the compost and branch/log pile.

1st Task — To get a large mass of wood buried deep into the soil so it will provide moisture to critters months after the rains have gone.

2nd Task — To use the soil dug from the wood’s hole to direct water to the wood.

3rd Task — To plant native sedge to hold the soil bank downstream from Centipede Tunnel Perch.

 

Prep — 3 Days Before Installation

left is Santa Barbara sedge; right is Italian ryegrass Northeast corner of concrete slab behind the Nursery.  Right: Garter Snake Ravine habitat with “weeds”, mostly the alien (non-native) Italian rye grass, an annual (per the local farmer, Stuart).  Left: Log Pile Apartments and Compost Critter Corral habitats and Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae).  The students will be sheet mulching over the weeds and planting Santa Barbara sedge to cover both sides of the slab’s corner.

straw used to guarantee moistureA pile of old straw is moved away to dig the deep hole for the habitat.  Ultimately, a perch-like long piece of tree trunk will stand upright in the hole.  The deeper the hole, the more stable the vertical post/pole will be.  Also, the deeper the hole, the shorter (off the ground) the pole becomes.  Grandiose towering structure VERSUS safety — always a hard weighing between the two!  Note the old straw was left there to break down AND to keep the adobe clay soil moist, for digging such a hole.  Wet/moisturize the dry, hard adobe clay soil one day and dig into soft, pliable adobe the next day.

A further note about digging here.  The digging is horrendous at this site — all the more reason to be digging here.  We will be unearthing the nearby road crew’s dumping of asphalt road grading, circa 1950’s, including many book-sized slabs of asphalt.  That “worthless” soil will be our new treasure in creating a berm of soil to direct rainfall to the habitat.

photo ops are take a breather breaksA shovel head deep into the center of the Earth.  Note the straw bale far right and the little berm of hole soil between the straw and the hole.  That berm will help keep rainwater (we are expecting rain on installation day) away from the area.  The installation area will be slippery enough without a running creek!

 Prep — 2 Days Before Installation

wet dayCentipede Tunnel Perch’s perch has arrived, complete with safety cone hat.

Ridge Lake, Middle Lake, Hole Lake -- free camping all crittersLate morning rain.  Perfect time to start work.  Tomorrow, this new wildlife habitat will be installed by Orchard View students.  Note this microcosm canyon.  Our intention here is to capture as much water as possible and store it for as long as possible, so that amphibians would thrive here.  (If amphibians can thrive, most other critter groups will have a fair chance of survival, too.)  So, the adobe canyon, once a road crew dump, has become an adobe-lined, wood-filled water basin with outlet.

Regarding the habitat’s water outlet (mentioned in last paragraph), it is the height of the Santa Barbara sedge thicket, downstream from Centipede Tunnel Perch, that determines how far and wide Habitat Garden Pond becomes.  Alas, a lake is born, on each good rain.  As rainwater sits in the Lake, submerged wood will saturate that rainwater and store it. (Habitat Garden Adobe Canyon if you must have a name.)

water headed to Habitat Garden PondWater!  Precious stuff.  So, rather than allow this road runoff rainwater to escape into the field downstream, through the double gate, a small soil berm will direct the rainwater to the Habitat Garden, to then be drained behind the Nursery and flow into the field.  Either way, berm or not, the downhill field will get the water.  With berm keeps the gate area dryer and brings water to the Habitat Garden.

 Prep — Installation Day — Before Students

custome posthole digger -- Thanks Jim!Installation Day.  The soil is saturated with very little water in the hole.  Perfect!  I like easier digging.  Note the black ABS tape on the posthole digger’s handles at 3-feet and 6-feet.  The hole will be dug to the 6-feet mark.

who cleans out the barrel?Preparing to dig.  Note that the wheelbarrow is lined with straw to cleanly dump the wet adobe soil harvested from the hole.  The metal digging bar will straddle across the sides of the wheelbarrow and provide a knock-off edge for clearing out the posthole digger clams.  Posthole digger in foreground (clams are at collecting end).

stingy mucky wet heavy mud!Muck removal on a bright shiny day.  Note that the wood, blue-painted metal trench shovel (top) has its curve parallel with the curve of the posthole digger clam (below).  The shovel will be flipped to clean the posthole digger’s right side, maintaining curve-curve parallel position.  Note digging bar for banging the mud loose.

Run! giant centipedeDry Run photo op.  Sizing the ABS 6″ corrugated perforated drainpipe Tunnel in the habitat.

do not forget extra battery!Using a Milwaukee HACKZALL® to cut the plastic corrugated perforated pipe to install Exit/Entrance’s in the tunnel.  Centipede Tunnel Perch includes tenancy options for critters using it.  Eat, stay, have a family here, at least take a drink of water (meets the 4 elements of Habitat), then you can enter or leave through the many Exit/Entrance’s.  Each Exit/Entrance is about 6-8″ long and 2″ wide (2 corrugation trenches).  Note my boots are pinning the drainpipe up against the table’s leg posts.

keep doing the same thingHalfway done installing Exit/Entrance’s on this side of the pipe.  The pipe will then be flipped over so that Exit/Entrance’s can be cut into that side, position alternating with the first side’s Exit/Entrance’s.  Note the sawblade’s angle to ensure that both long sawcuts will meet.

Tunnel with Exit and Entrance openningsThe Tunnel is ready for installation.  Exit/Entrance’s cut-outs collected in center.

critters in, critters outView THROUGH the Tunnel to the concrete slab below.

Installation Day — The Students Are Here!

harvesting soil to make a bermRemoval of the adobe berm inside the installation zone.  This soil will be the foundation for the road runoff berm.

love the moss on the Cold Water Canyon fieldstoneWeeding the soil bank before sheet mulching.  Weeds are dropped in place to keep the topsoil nutrients/microbes on site.

transplanting sedge to hold a bank of soilThriving on a damp winter day.  This outdoor classroom rocks!  Takes a Village to support outdoor classrooms.

dig deeper!  dig deeper!Progress of the hole.  A lower platform has been stomped around the perch’s hole.  That’s adobe!  Note the rain workgear: mud boots and work-friendly rainsuit.

plants on top of sheet mulchingYour job (Yellow Slicker) is to stand here.  And teacher Sunny did it so well while students pried Santa Barbara sedge plants from their pots.  The sedge clumps were evenly spaced on the cardboard sheet mulching.  Loose soil fill over the cardboard and between the plants will secure the plants in place on the bank.

Hey down there!   Send up some lunch.Perch has been dropped into its hole.  Note the ropes hanging on Perch.  A triad of ropes was used to upright the tall, heavy tree trunk.  One more rope was used to spin Perch after it vertically rested in the hole.

Square Dancing in Habitat GardenStudents secure/stuff/wedge one end of Centipede Tunnel alongside Perch in the hole.

Looks good to me!Inspection.  And good news — Centipede Tunnel Perch passes.  Note that the left end of Tunnel goes into the hole for Perch, toward moisture.  The other end of Tunnel opens to ground level, under a log pile (or wood causeways if you are a cricket) where food (smaller critters) are plentiful.

aiming for mud bootsStudent stands on Tunnel while it is buried with old straw.

Outdoor Classroom in actionForeground: Finishing touches for sedge transplanting — loose soil to fill in thin spots.

Background: Entire old straw pile is thrown at the base of Perch.

Haircuts 50 CentsTrimming the sedge = twist and cut with pruning shears.  The sedge leaves are used for mulch between the newly transplanted sedge bundles.  Do plants have a feedback system such that dead leaves in the soil trigger growth?  Always questions!

Digging Bar and Sledge CrewStudents installing a temporary soil bank retaining wall.  Short branches horizontal, saved-from-the-wood-bin stakes vertical.  By the time these flimsy materials rot, like next year, the sedge bank will be glad to eat it up, glad to be nourished by the decaying wood.  AND, most of that decay process will be from our Decomposer friends.  Habitat it!

Garter Snake Ravine likes the company.  Cookie Monster Perch might not.Sedge Corners.  Note the tempory retaining wall of mulch material (little sticks, stakes, woodchips, soil).  Perch is the blonde piece of wood on the far right of the tower of perches.

<<< This Way WaterCentipede Tunnel Perch — The After.  Note far right, the pooled water stopped from going to the gate by the new berm.

"Where's the Party?", asks Froggy.  Hop, hop, and a few more.  Wonder if my froggy friends will be at Habitat Garden Lake tonight?

movin' hayFarmer Stuart moving hay for Stone Farm‘s plow horses.

Irwin Creek flooded (in distance)Sedge Corners lookin’ good!

Water -- Slow it.  Spread it.  Sink it.Centipede Tunnel Perch lookin’ good!

 

Time to call it an Outdoor Classroom Wildlife Habitat Installation Day!  Time to give up the habitat to the critters.  Time to go home, watch the receding Laguna de Santa Rosa leave the oak meadows along its banks.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; and Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor, and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Thank you to Aaron Nunez, the then Ecological Project Manager.  Aaron has left the Laguna Foundation’s employment and is currently working elsewhere.  Yay for Aaron!  We teachers, students, and critters all appreciated his work while at the Laguna Foundation.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Nov 172016
 
20161110-tnm-_96-800- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus Thamnophis0cr

Orchard View students with teacher Sunny GalbraithTwisted North Mound is a wildlife habitat installed behind Heron Hall at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The installation was an outdoor classroom activity.  Date: November 10, 2016.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

In a nutshell, this wildlife habitat installation is a wad of clay, organic material, topsoil, and new meadow barley plants shoved up against a very large trunk section of a downed oak tree.  A large rock slab, hovering off the ground, snugs up to the tree trunk and earthen, cavity-filled mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisOctober 2013 (three 3 years ago) Stuart Schroeder, of Stone Horse Farm, uses an “implement carrier” pulled/pushed by a tractor to move West Heron Hall Log into place.

Heron Hall Logs East (L) and West (R)The BEFORE.  Heron Hall Logs East (L) and West (R).  One goal of Twisted North Mound is to have these large hulks of wood look more naturally placed in the terrain, for instance, as if the tree had fallen on site.

Habitat Installation Day — Prep before students arrive

c8-20161110-tnm-_0cr-800Habitat Resource Depot (fancy name!) at the Laguna Foundation’s compost (left) and woodchip pile (right).  Pulled from the depot for this installation: tree logs and small rootballs, rock slab (center), old surface compost with fresh grass weeds, and under-the-pile compost soil.

c7-20161110-tnm-_6cr-800Lifting a rock slab for use in the habitat installation, a millipede is disturbed. Note the wisp of spider cob web lower left — a busy underside of the rock that has rested here only a month.

c6-20161110-tnm-_11-800East view of East Heron Hall Log (there are two; the other is West Log), which is next to the habitat installation site.  Note the sun-protected trays of meadow barley starts that will be planted.  The south face of the log is thick with woodchip mulch to suppress weeds.  Lush green grass and weeds in the background — now is the time to plant in Northern California.  We can plant native plant starts now and the coming rains will water them, increasing plant survival despite no irrigation used.

c5-20161110-tnm-_12-800Clear the table!  Top layer woodchip mulch is scraped away from the work site for 4 reasons: 1) to harvest/collect woodchips that will be under Twisted North Mound (AKA “TNM”), mostly between the 2 large oak tree sections, 2) to access soil from under East Log (foreground), to harvest a thin layer of decayed woodchip-rich topsoil from under the scraped away woodchips, and 4) to keep the woodchips clean and usable as mulch (no soil!) while the habitat site is built.

c4-20161110-tnm-_13-800A western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) is well camouflaged on West Log (center, far edge).

c3-20161110-tnm-_17-800Close-up of wary lizard.  Throughout set-up, lizards darted in and out of the Logs’ thick bark layer that has sagged from the harder cambium wood.  Perfect habitat for these small creatures.

c2-20161110-tnm-_20-800Gathering organic material to create a planted mound, here includes shovel skimming ALIVE topsoil and fresh weeds from a dormant Compost Cricket Corral bin.

c1-20161110-tnm-_22a-800A garter snake escapes from one side of East Log (where I was removing woodchips) to the back side of the log.

b9-20161110-tnm-_23cr-800Ouch!  Now I know these Jerusalem crickets can bite.  Allowing this critter to crawl over onto my hand turned out to be a bad idea; luckily the skin of my finger was not broken by the insect’s jaws.  Note that topsoil from under East Log is being harvested for use, and thrown on a tarp, for the West Log habitat mound.

b8-20161110-tnm-_24-800Topsoil on a tarp (foreground) has been harvested from under East Log.

b7-20161110-tnm-_26-800Mushroom layer has been exposed as the oak-tree-to-woodchip-mulch interface is exposed (at tip of shovel).

b6-20161110-tnm-_36-800Bucket Man collects fresh compost soil from under compost; note shovel under compost pile in background.

b5-20161110-tnm-_42-800Prep for Twisted North Mound wildlife habitat installation.  Starting from west face of West Log, in foreground, moving clockwise: rakes to return woodchip mulch after installation is in, shovels, logs and root pieces (mostly river wood — not salt-cured driftwood), large pond-liner bin of avocado and bamboo leaves, buckets of compost soil, wheelbarrow of old compost and weed surface soil, wheelbarrow of heavy clay soil from under East Log, berm of woodchip mulch, tarp with pile of topsoil from under woodchips, Cold Water Canyon rock slab on rolling cart.

b4-20161110-tnm-_46a-800Site scraped and ready for the students to create Twisted North Mound.  Note the berm of woodchips on the north side — it will be pushed onto the mound when mulch is called for.

b3-20161110-tnm-_50a-800Close-up view of meadow barley plants in waiting.  Note the shelf fungus‘ thriving on East Log’s shady side.

Students Arrive

b2-20161110-tnm-_53-800The students have arrived.  Their first assignment is to figure which pieces of riverwood/driftwood will create the habitat between East and West Logs.  Lots of physics to move the wood around AND not get hurt.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisStudents deliberate while a great blue heron flies by.  Outdoor classrooms rock!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisGetting somewhere — this “T-bone” triangular piece of wood will be the habitat’s foundation.

a8-20161110-tnm-_62-800Instructing that we want to snug T-bone up to West Log and to fill it with soil and to be able to plant meadow barley in the crevice.  Note that these pieces of wood between East and West Logs will be completely buried, slated to decompose and ultimately leave organic material in the surrounding soil and to leave cavities for critters to someday take advantage of.  Are we talking about next year, 2 years from now, or ten years from now?  The answer is yes.  Habitat It And They Will Come!

a7-20161110-tnm-_63-800Flipping up T-bone (left) to allow a small piece of old (ready for insects to eat!) wood to snuggle under T-bone.

a6-20161110-tnm-_64-800Back down goes T-bone, over other hulks of wood.  Different pieces of wood mean different resources for habitat critters — different food, different water saturation, different decay schedules and by-products.  Our aim here is to invite DIFFERENT critters.

a5-20161110-tnm-_66cln-800Orchard View students and teacher Sunny Galbraith at work.  (Foreground) Digging out clay soil from under East Log.  East Log is unashamedly laying with its cut end in full view (a problem).  Following the permaculture principle “the problem is the solution”, we use clay soil from under East Log to cover West Log’s exposed corner and Twisted North Mound.  Stay tuned for what happens to West Log.  (Center) Working the clay soil from under East Log in the crevices of TNM.  We want to pack in the soil so the plants will have maximum soil, no air pockets that would kill the meadow barley starts roots.  (Background) Weeding Torrent Critter Crag, giving the torrent sedge plugs a better chance to survive, thrive.

a4-20161110-tnm-_69-800Twisted North Mound gets avocado tree and bamboo leaves over its clay soil base.  The organic layer will break down, while it is eaten by soil microbes and crawly critters, and leave a loose, cavity-filled layer under the barley meadow root canopy.

a3-20161110-tnm-_73-800Covering the leaves with the soil scraped under the woodchips that were pushed back from the habitat site.  Buckets of compost soil at the ready; that layer will be the top layer that the meadow barley starts are planted in.

a2-20161110-tnm-_74-800The rock slab is moved into position.

a1-20161110-tnm-_75-800And down, with the tip of the rock resting on a short length of rootwood (hard, long-to-decay wood) and the rest of the rock resting on the pile of small rocks that we collected while digging under East Log.  The rocks found while digging, a problem, became a solution when wanting to create a space under the rock slab.

9-20161110-tnm-_78-800Another organic layer — the old compost and fresh grasses/weeds, complete with thriving soil microbes and crawly critters, will make a rich layer under the compost soil.  The goal is to have the compost soil and woodchip mulch kill down any of the grasses/weeds.

8-20161110-tnm-_79-800Compost soil is sculpted to create a planting mound.

7-20161110-tnm-_84-800Meadow barley starts are planted.  Note the rectangular root form to the plant in the foreground — these start plants were touseled, squeezed, massaged, and even roots ripped free to allow the plant a non-rectangular root spread.  Free the roots!

6-20161110-tnm-_85-800Meadow barley starts planted among woodchip mulch.

5-20161110-tnm-_89-800And a little water for the meadow barley,

3-20161110-tnm-_93-800and for rock slab.

4-20161110-tnm-_90-800Twisted North Mound wildlife habitat installation is in!  East view of back side.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisNorth view of habitat’s “front”, that is, the view from behind Heron Hall.2-20161110-tnm-_96-800Students deliberate, time to talk amongst themselves after a successful work session.

1-20161110-tnm-_97-800Brent Reed, of the Laguna Foundation, inspects Twisted North Mound on installation day.  Good thing this habitat was built to meet or surpass the latest Habitat Building Code.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the staff and board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Aaron Nunez, Ecological Project Manager; and Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Nov 202012
 
Anita dumps a new load of soil critter food.

Day 5 in this 6-day video series: Preparing patio pots for winter veggie planting.

First a video  re “Patio Veggie Pots”,  then some animal habitat pics (below the video):

Patio Veggie Pots 5 of 6 (video):

Soil Making in Leaf Trench Highway (pics):

 

Horse manure ages in leaf Trench Highway.

Horse manure ages in leaf Trench Highway, on top of many layers of garden debris organics.

 

Mushrooms pop out of Leaf Trench Highway’s manure after the first rain.

Mushrooms pop out of Leaf Trench Highway’s manure after the first rain. Good stuff! Having the fungi/mushrooms means the manure will break down faster.

 

Harvesting compost from Leaf Trench Highway.

Later that year, Tony harvests compost/rich soil from the trench.

 

Anita dumps a new load of soil critter food.

Anita dumps a new load of soil critter food. These apples were “debris” for a neighbor that wanted under her tree “cleaned up”. The soil critters and we are sure happy to have the mess!

 

A short retaining wall is added to Leaf Trench Highway.

A short retaining wall is added to Leaf Trench Highway. The short wall of re-used fence boards will allow a higher pile of organics to be heaped into Leaf Trench Highway, yet keep the walkway clear. Note how the block keeps the sledge from splitting the dry fence board.

 

Leaf Trench Highway’s short retaining wall.

Leaf Trench Highway’s short retaining wall in place, holding back tulip magnolia prunings (limbs and twigs). Lichens, mosses, and algae so abundant! Does life get any better?!

 

Pics and captions from Tony’s new book, Habitat It and They will Come :

Potato crop in Leaf Trench Highway.Figure 2.11  White Clover and Leaf Trench Highway.  Leaf Trench Highway is about making soil — the 3 foot deep trench is filled with green mulch (for example, a whole lot of pumpkin vine prunings), then covered over with old (cool) manure and compost. Potato starts are dug in. Harvest, 6-9 months later, yields full-grown potatoes PLUS a long, deep trench of beautiful soil to use elsewhere in the garden. The white clover attracts pollinating insects to the potato flowers, adds nitrogen to green mulching, and is a sheltering go-between for critters to travel from one garden bed to another. Laying the slate pavers on soil, and not on sand or cement, allows soil fungi, microbes, and larger animals to pass through the soil, thereby assisting the growth of the clover cover crop.

 

Salamander Resort, the City of Oz for those critters that have travelled the length of Leaf Trench Highway.Figure 3.37  The After of Salamander Resort.  One year later and the resort is still operating.  Driftwood creatures,  a thriving beet crop, and Salamander Sunny Swimhole hide the goings-on eight feet below.  See Figure 3.36 for “The Before”.  Watering the pond waters the beets waters the compost waters the wood chips waters the oak rounds waters tank cavities waters Salamander Shady Shallows, AND waters the adobe clay earth surrounding Salamander Resort.  Water + Cavities + Microbes + Mollusks (slugs and snails) + Worms + Insects =  Happy Salamanders.  The half wine barrel pond, with a 5’ x 5’ sheet of pond liner, was home this spring to Pacific Tree Frogs (and tadpoles).  Many types of insect on the wing visit the pond.  A salamander must be living somewhere in all that!  Note some habitat features: clover on the slate path links this habitat to the rest of the garden, the pond’s surface rocks provide a critter rest stop, the “fedge” (food hedge of fig, pineapple guava, loquat, and pomegranate) along the fence provides flowers and food, and the compost in Leaf Trench Highway at the base of the fedge attracts its own ecosystem of soil makings and critters.

 

Happy planting veggies on your patio and see you tomorrow.

Tony

 

Jan 112012
 
20120108-LTH-retaining-wall

Garden Log (what I did):

071509 LTH -- soil harvest

071509 Leaf Trench Highway. Soil has been harvested from the trench, between the slate walk path and the planting bed. The trench will be prepped for more soil making, starting with a base of straw from the awaiting bale. Since this picture, lots of organics have been composted onto and into the trench. Those organics include: tree prunings, wheat straw, alfalfa straw, oak leaves, carbon harvest (for example, pumpkin vines), twigs and stout tree limbs, wood chips, and horse manure. Beautiful, rich, high quality tilth soil has been harvested several times from the trench.

1. Constructed a low retaining wall to increase the soil volume of a planting bed, Leaf Trench Highway.  Leaf Treanch Highway got its name back in 2007 when we were installing irrigation supply to our garden’s back corner.  The water supply was trenched along a walk path, buried about three (3) feet and encased in 3″ perforated plastic drainpipe.  The depth and casement were to allow “mistakes” in the garden — a shovel could graze the drainpipe and might not break through and bust the water supply.  Lots of digging since then, and no busted trench pipe, yet.  The trench was called a “highway” because, when filled with leaves, or other organics, it’s a corridor for critters to move about the garden.

So, there we were, in 2007, with a sizeable 3-foot deep trench running along the property line’s planting bed.  We decided to use the trench to make soil; we would use the trench to turn compostable material into planting soil.

20110929-LTH-Apples

"Opps! Did I spill that?" No, Anita, Leaf Trench Highway is getting a rotten apple harvest -- Sebastopol's finest for our dear soil-making critters.

About every six months, the trench is dug up for a soil harvest.  That harvested soil is then used to amend the soil in the gardens.  And yes, sometimes waiting the six months or so is difficult.  But having fresh, new, teeming-with-microbe, alive! soil on hand when we do harvest is all that much more a treat after the wait.

20100604 LTH -- potatoes

Potato (broad-leaved), garlic (along fence), red and white clover grow in Leaf Trench Highway in the summer of 2010. The red and white clover serve as both insectary and nitrogen-fixing plants.

This time around,  in 2012, I want to grow a crop above the composting trench.  I want us to produce a garlic and vegetable crop WHILE the trench is composting.  I have also found that new crop love a good compost under it.  BUT, the compost can not be too hot or the new crop will burn.  For this planting, there is a good base of wood chips, green manure, oak leaves, and a recent magnolia tree pruning.  Especially with the magnolia twigs and limbs, those bulky organics will supply microbes, miosture, and nutrients to the growing crop.  Also, as the crop plants grow, their roots will travel the moist, nutrient-rich paths along the decaying wood.  Great mulch for the coming dryer months.  Throughout the spring, we will harvest salad from the composting trench.  By July, the garlic will be ready to be dug up — harvest garlic, harvet soil.  Garlic for the kitchen, soil for the garden.

20120108-LTH-retaining-wall

Low retaining wall built to increase the soil capacity of Leaf Trench Highway's planting bed. Old redwood fence boards were cut in two-foot lengths and pounded into the gap between the planting bed and the vertical slate border. Using a wood block between the fence board and the sledgehammer kept the fence boards from splitting.

 

 

 

20120108-LTH-retaining-wall, close-up

20120108-LTH-retaining-wall, close-up. Note the beautiful mosses and lichens on the old fence board. Not only is this FREE!!! redwood fence board functional (it will last many years in the soil), it is also beautiful. Moist soil from the planting bed was rubbed into the board cuts to instantly age those fresh-cut surfaces -- we are talking art here! I am interested to see if that soil smear will promote moss growth on the top edges of the boards. Stay tuned.

2. Manure run.  Collected both hot (fresh) and cold (old) horse manure from my secret source (nothing personal).  The hot manure was laid down at the bottom of the fence boards to create a little heat for the wintering crops.  The cold manure, which is pretty much a sandy loam soil because it has broken down for so long, was thrown on top of the bed.  That cold manure was thrown into and on top of the magnolia tree prunings, enough of it to plant the crops in.

20120107-manure-collecting

Collecting horse manure from a neighbor's pile. The bins/barrels help keep the job cleaner and easier. Using the barrels, my truck does not have to be washed afterwards and the manure can sit in the bins until ready for use. Sure is nice to load it once (into the barrels) but not have to clear it out of my truck's bed the same day. Note the looseness of the fresh (hot) pile at the rear of the truck. That pile was moved twice -- once to get it out of the way so the buried old (cold) manure could be harvested, then again to fill up the hole that cold manure harvest left. Perhaps in 6 months, that filled in hole will be cold manure soil itself. Just another example of our wondrous revolving World at work.

20120110-LTH-garlic-planting-2

It's late, but the garlic is in. Come tomorrow, I will throw a thin mulch of rice straw over the veggie seeds and garlic starts. Note how the low retaining wall of recycled (reused) fence board allowed enough soil to be added to the bed to cover most of the magnolia prunings. Will be exciting to see what crops actually do rise out of the straw mulch and to see how well they thrive in this compost, soil-making bed. Oh, did I tell you -- it's an experiment. :-)

You, the Habitat Gardener (reflections):

1. Leaf Trench Highway is a major no-toll pathway in our garden.  True, there is often construction along this roadway, but the improvements are always worth it.  This year’s road upgrades include last year’s woodchip pile from Santa Rosa’s waterways cleanup (oak and willow), oak leaves from the neighborhood, our ridiculous Jack-in-the-Beanstalk pumpkin patch green manure, the magnolia tree’s prunings, hot manure, and cold manure soil.  Microbes party down!  All insects and amphibians welcomed.  Just add water, as the soon-to-come rains will do, and the entire length of Leaf Trench Highway will be a mess of healthy fungi, vegetables, flowers, microbes, crawly critters, and birds.  And that’s just at ground level.  The length of the trench, along the fence, is a fedge — food hedge, a permaculture term.  That hedge planting includes fig, pineapple quava, loquat, and pomegranate.

2. Our soil gets better every year as we grow more food each year.  And we share — without an atom of pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide, the trench and fedge will take on a natural balance.  The critters will get some of the planted crop, but by far, we will get our fair abundant share.

Happy soil making to you.

                                                            Tony

 

 

The Next Day and Night:

1. More cold manure soil was added to the bed tocover the garlic and to give the veggie seeds more soil to establish themselves in.

20120111-LTH-veggy-planting

Bowl-O-Seeds. Rooting powder was used to help the seeds germinate, a tall task during these wintery days.

2. The vegetable seeds were all mixed together with rooting powder (only because I didn’t have any mycorizzae spore on hand).  Life is good!, especially when I get to open dozens of seed packets that I prepared throughout last growing season.  Round and round, mixed in a large stainless bowl, or bucket, and dusted with a little love (spore or rooting powder).  Then I’ll carefully toss the seeds out onto a prepared planting bed — a dash here, a dash there, some over my right shoulder, some underhanded between my legs.  Most importantly, I get to have fun being ridiculous.  I get to plant way too many seeds.  Yes, I work hard to collect seeds all year long so that I can have a Chia Pet garden.  Too many plants that grow too much means I will eventually get to havest them, in whole or in part, and reap the green manure they are.  I will be harvesting carbon — all that alive, green plant material is merely bottled up sunshine to be poured onto the compost pile.  Sun >>> plants >>> photosynthesis >>> juicy packets of carbon >>> Tony’s compost >>> SOIL MAKING.  And with that carbon-rich soil, we will grow more STUFF, whether it be flowers, food, or fodder.  And we will live happily ever after.

The seeds I grew and collected and mixed together are cilantro, parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, bok choy, gopher plant, impatiens, fennel, round zuccini, calendula, “Primo” danelion, and chard.  Store-bought seeds that also became part of the mix are broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce.  SOMETHING ought to grow!

3. The seeded bed, also with its garlic starts, was mulched with rice straw to keep critters away from the seeds and to keep the seeds moist for germination.  The mulch will also help the seeds receive waterings and/or rain without being washed out of the planting bed.  Perhaps too heavy a cover of straw to be left on the young sprouts.  BUT, I will keep an eye on the bed and will thin off some of the straw in a week or two.  I will be curious to see what plants actually do come up during these frosty nights and cool days.  Nice to have some ground warm perculating upward toward the seeds from the hot manure below.  Even if nothing were to germinate now, surely some seeds will germinate further down the year when the sun warms the soil and spring rains moisten it.  How fun to wait and see.

20120111-LTH-veggy-planting-mulched

The seeds have been sown and the rice straw mulch is in place. A little water. A lot of waiting. Soon enough, though, a forest of food and flowers.

 

Nov 242010
 

Chapter 5 (by Anita Smith)

Resources for You, Your Neighborhood, and Beyond

One need not sit very long nowadays with unanswered questions about the garden, the environs surrounding it, anything, really.  There is so much information available.  In fact, the real challenge might not be finding information on a subject, but rather acting, doing, or creating.  Regarding your garden, eventually you will want to take a leap, and what better place than in the garden.

-Tony McGuigan

Introduction

Has Tony’s passion or sense of humor infected you yet?  What Tony’s doing in the garden and offering the world through his writing, I believe, is unique.  Watch out, his perspective and playful approach is contagious!  By this point in the book I bet that you’ve at least smiled and giggled some.  I hope you’ve felt your heart expand and warm, and your childlike excitement and curiosity about the natural world reignite.  I hope you’ve also been touched by hope; a sense of hope about the possibilities for a more healthy, equitable, and sustainable way of living.  There are countless things we can do—no matter who we are or where we live—to make the world a better place for everyone and all life on this precious blue orb.  The resources in this chapter are intended to help further tantalize and support you on your journey.

There are a few things I want to mention before jumping into this offering of resources for You, Your Neighborhood, and Beyond.  First, I’m operating on several assumptions here.  One is that biodiversity is a good thing.  The more biodiversity on the planet—on our continents, in our watersheds, and around our homes—the better.  It’s like having a well-stocked toolkit for keeping things running smoothly and fixing things when they break.  There are, of course, some ecosystems that naturally have lower biodiversity than others and have evolved unique and intricately balanced dynamics.  As a dominant species though, we’ve done WAY too good a job of messing with those dynamics nearly everywhere on the planet, and we have significantly and alarmingly reduced Earth’s biodiversity in the process.  If everything is indeed connected—as nature shows us it surely is and many wise people have intoned—then that diminishment of biodiversity is bound to plague us.  We would be wise to proactively address this rather than ignore it or wish it away.  Recent advances in the study of human ecology, specifically reconciliation ecology, are part of the resource toolkit we can draw upon to help inform our proactive response.  Reconciliation ecology is the science of inventing, establishing, and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work or play.

For more of Anita’s chapter,  Resources for You, Your Neighborhood, and Beyond, see Tony’s book, Habitat It And They Will Come .

Cheers.

Tony