Jan 282015
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,

Students pull up Garter Snake Ravine’s barn owl perch using a block-and-tackle.

Garter Snake Ravine is a wildlife habitat installation that incorporates a deep hole cut into adobe soil, a water reservoir, a large-branches heap (BIG stick pile), a Fungus DreamWorld, and a Science Experiment.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, operates the Laguna Environmental Center, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. This wildlife habitat installation borders the LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) Native Plant Nursery, which is used for the Foundation’s Restoration Program.

As mentioned in Spore Lore’s post,  Prep for Garter Snake Ravine, 1-3-2015, the adobe hole, AKA “Ravine”, was left full of water to soften the hardpan adobe soil in the bottom of the hole.  Sure enough, a week later, we were able to dig the hole another foot deeper — that much more space/capacity for the new habitat installation.  The deeper hole will also give the owl perch more vertical stability; the upside down poplar tree will be buried deeper.

A long-handled posthole digger at the ready in Garter Snake Ravine after a week of soaking the hole with water.

The dug-out adobe soil was used to raise the compost’s ground level to help keep the compost out of winter’s wet.  Garter Snake Ravine is two doors down from Compost Cricket Corral; Log Pile Apartments is between them.  So to review, in the photo above, the water is overflowing Garter Snake Ravine, flowing under Log Pile Apartments, and moistening the raised banks of Compost Cricket Corral BUT not saturating the compost pile because of the now raised soil level of the compost piles.

A tree has fallen!  No one was there to hear it but the crushed fence leaves a reminder.  The poplar tree split at its crown with the snapped-off trunk landing into the adjacent horse corral.  Problem: tree in corral.  Solution: we just found ourselves an owl perch.

A 16-foot section of this poplar tree trunk will become an owl perch in Garter Snake Ravine wildlife habitat.

Because the tree is a poplar, we want to use it in a way that it will not sprout, thrive, and eventually shade the compost piles which are west (shady side) of Garter Snake Ravine.  Poplar (Populus) trees are similar to willow trees in that they are both riparian species widely used for stream/watershed restoration.  Both Poplar and willow have high levels of rooting hormone.  And that’s a problem here — the Ravine habitat will be a water-/moisture-filled vase, like that for table flowers, during the coming wet months.  Solution: “plant”, or install, the poplar tree upside down to prevent the rooting process. Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,And don’t forget the trunk stump.  This hulk of poplar wood will add to the habitat’s hugelkultur mass.  Also, heavy, bulky pieces of wood like this one and others will help stabilize the owl perch, keep it from falling.  Note how a staircase of skids was used to roll the stump into the bed trunk.  Great to have a helping hand.

The poplar trunk stump waits on the sidelines until the owl perch is placed into the Ravine.

Our initial desire was to raise an owl perch high in the sky to encourage barn owls to hunt and feed at the compost pile.  A perch that the barn owls that live on Stone Farm can use.  That pair of barn owls (Tyto alba) can sometimes be seen in the palm trees below the Office’s front porch.  Hoo called in Rodent Management?

IPM, a Permaculture term, stands for Integrated Pest Management.  Rodents can be pests around a farm and Stone Farm is no exception.  IPM is a way to handle one of Nature’s jobs by Nature.  Traditionally, by introducing, a cure animal.  Problems arise when the cure-all species becomes a problem — no other species is well suited to control the alien plant or animal.  Such is part of the reason that Native Plants and IPM are considered solutions to removing pests ecologically. Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,Palm fronds are not accepted in the local Resource Center, which makes soil additives from the garden debris (resource!) brought to it.  But the fronds will be an asset in the hugelkultur — critters will seek the nooks and crannies between the slowly decomposing fronds.

A bird cam is installed — the camera will be trained on the perch to view owls hunting and eating their meals.

Students create a small retaining wall made from stones and heavy clay removed from the Ravine’s hole.  This berm will direct runoff water under the adjacent wildlife habitat installation.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,The poplar owl perch is here!  Students walk the perch up the woodchip pile to gain height advantage for installing the perch into Ravine’s hole.

Here comes the perch, heading for Ravine’s hole.  Note the thinner tree limbs in the foreground; the tree section is being flipped upside down.

The poplar tree section’s thinner branches are tied together to better fit the upside down tree into the Ravine.  Note the green rope crossing back and forth — the block and tackle is being threaded for pulling the tree vertical.

Students, on top of the woodchip pile, wait for the signal to assist the block-and-tackle’s raising of the owl perch.

Signaling to the rope puller, “Pull in the slack, batten down the hatches.”

“Pull!”, and up the perch goes with a little help from the top of the woodchip pile.  Two safety lines were used in case the perch was accidently pulled past vertical. Note the safety line from the right-most student (right of the woodchip pile). The left-sided safety line is being held by a student standing behind and to the left of the woodchip pile.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,The owl perch is edged into place.  The poplar tree section has been up-ended.

Students stuff driftwood logs, the poplar stump, palm fronds, and smaller poplar braches (upside down) around the perch to stabilize it.  Plenty for all hands to do now; we want to vertically secure the perch and remove the block-and-tackle lines and safety ropes.

Safety check!  Lookin’ good; keep packing the hole around the perch.

Still more materials to pack around the perch as it approaches standing on its own, without stabilizing lines.

A breather while the owl perch is finalized.  This outdoor classroom rocks!

Students are busy planting Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae), programming the bird cam, and packing the Ravine.

Garter Snake Ravine wildlife habitat installation is completed.  Note that the habitat has three major elements: a deep moist adobe hole that will fill to a small pond during the rains, a pile of branches and sticks, and an owl perch.  That’s a lot of nooks and crannies for critters to hunt, hide, cool-down, and LIVE! in.  First will come the wood-eating fungi and decomposer microbes, then higher trophic critters, then perhaps a mammal (an even higher trophic animal), like a skunk or a possum, that wants to reign over the habitat.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,Garter Snake Ravine waits for a perching barn owl throughout the dark night.

Thank you for the wonderful pictures, Jenna.

The students of Orchard View School, teacher Sunny Galbraith, and Cordy and David and I had fun at this outdoor classroom Biology project.  A thank you also to the Laguna Foundation’s staff, especially Wendy Trowbridge, Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, and Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor.  Cool project!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony

 

 

Jan 032015
 
spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pond

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondA garter snake soaks up the sun while Garter Snake Ravine is dug.  I worked not more than ten feet from this snake, banging and chopping at the rock/stone/gravel hardpan surface for a couple of hours till I spied it under the coyote brush.

This month’s project with Orchard View School at the Laguna Foundation’s property, the Laguna Environmental Center, is called Garter Snake Ravine.  The  name was inspired by the many garter snakes that have been seen at this wildlife installation’s site.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondThe wood chip pile to be moved/shaved off a dozen feet or so to create space for Garter Snake Ravine.  View from behind Compost Cricket Corral, looking past Log Pile Apartments.  Habitat it!  Note the coyote brush at the pile’s left edge.  Coyote brush is a very important native, drought tolerant habitat shrub in our environs of Northern California.  The coiled garter snake in the first picture was basking under that shrub while I worked.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondFront view of the wood chip pile to be moved away from Log Pile Apartments to make way for the new wildlife habitat installation, Garter Snake Ravine.  Note the coyote brush (large shrub, right) and the ceanothus (smaller, left) behind the wood chip pile.  Those native plants will be good habitat components of the adjacent Garter Snake Ravine.  Ultimately, the wood chip pile will work together with (right to left) Garter Snake Ravine, Log Pile Apartments, and Compost Cricket Corral to support wildlife habitat — food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.  As for water alone, the wood chip pile will store moisture and wick it to the habitats’ grateful critters during the long, dry summer months.  Critters feeding daily/nightly in the compost will seek refuge in the many (too many to count!) nooks and crannies of these habitats.  Microbe- and nutrient-rich soil amendments will made by those willing habitat critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondThere’s a wood chip pile to be moved!  Note the Laguna de Santa Rosa is cresting in the background.  By tomorrow it will flood Sanford Road (the white station wagon, top left, is heading south on Sanford).  This is tree frog, salamander, and newt weather.  Rain, rain, rain!  The Laguna floods its banks every year, providing the services of the wonderful watershed it is — to allow water to spread out and return to the land before rushing down river and out to the sea.  A great place to kayak!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondStuart from Stone Horse Farm gave the pile a shove and scrapped the top soil layer off to one side.   Thanks for the tractor (top right) work, Stuart!  Note the packed gravel and stone soil base that was uncovered from under the wood chip pile.  Unlucky for us and the critters, the small area seems to have been a road surface debris pile at one time.  Lucky for us and the critters, the habitat microbiome will eat up the asphalt debris.

 

20141210-GSR--b6(sfw-18)The coyote brush, a sacred plant (especially to the snake living under it), is roped off to protect it during the wildlife habitat installation.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondHoles are dug into the packed gravel, hardpan adobe clay, and stone surface.  Water soaking in the holes will soften the surrounding ground to allow faster digging progress.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondLooking south to the Hop Barn, with manure pile on concrete slab.  The Foundation’s Native Plant Nursery is off to the right.  Currently, the manure is too wet because water from the road (left and alongside the barn) runs downhill, past the barn, and onto the concrete slab.  The soaking water displaces oxygen in the manure pile; an anaerobic, poorly composting pile results.

Note the grass swath behind the wheelbarrow that runs up to the barn.  SOME DAY a ditch might run along the concrete slab, diverting the road runoff away from it.  Garter Snake Ravine, a pond (during winter rains) and deep hugelkultur (during dry months) habitat is designed to make use of the ditch water before leaving the immediate area.  The deep-hole and bermed soil landscape will also help keep Compost Cricket Corral dry and maximize its aerobic composting function.  The deep hole of Garter Snake Ravine will be underneath the wheelbarrow in the above photo.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondI like this wildlife habitat installation design!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondA hole is dug and filled with water for further digging.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondLake Mead and the Hoover Dam come to mind as water fills Garter Snake Ravine.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondGarter Snake Ravine, using hose water during this installation trial run, drains into and under Log Pile Apartments.  Good thing that the Apartments’ rents are stabilized now that the habitat installation will have running water.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondI will be back to finalize the prep for Garter Snake Ravine next week.  Please do not fall in!

Sunny Galbraith’s Biology students from Orchard View School will be here in two weeks to complete the wildlife habitat installation.  At that time, we will install an owl perch, a hugelkultur, a water-collecting soil berm, and a many headed creature writhing out of Garter Snake Ravine.

Enjoy your habitat installations and outdoor classrooms.  Habitat it!

                          Tony

 

Nov 142014
 
amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation. 

Big Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation that is an art installation. 

Big Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation that is a seat, a resting place.

Big Bunny Seat wildlife habitat installation is an outdoor classroom project.  School: Orchard View School, located in Sebastopol, California.

Big Bunny Seat wildlife habitat installation, AKA “Big Bunny Seat”, AKA “BBS”, was fun!

 

The Before

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, located in Santa Rosa, California, operates the Laguna Environmental Center, on Stone Farm, Stanford Road. The LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) path to its Observation Platform and adjacent viewing bench terrace wanted something artistic.

 

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBBS (Big Bunny Seat) will be created here in two weeks (from photo date). It will be a seat alongside the path, so that someone just leaving the bridge over the LEC’s Pond will have a place to rest. This habitat installation (because all this effort is about habitat installation foremost!) will be a solid, secure, trustworthy seat for the weary traveler. In other words, while considering the safety and comfort of the sitter, we will be considering this art installation’s ability to nourish wildlife habitat.
amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenAlas, a lone log lays.  This log will be removed to create BBS and will ultimately be dug into the woodchips under the Observation Platform’s ramp.  Note!: A student from Orchard View’s Biology class (Teacher: Sunny Galbraith; school located in Sebastopol, California) found 2 praying mantis cocoons on the log’s underside.  We also saw an empty paper wasp nest.  When relocated under the ramp, care was taken to protect the cocoons.

Note also, in the pic above, the irrigation tube (exposed), and the easy, smooth slope of land, particularly in the middle of the young shrubs.  The shallow bowl of woodchips and the exposed black tubing will change during this project.

Installation Day

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig Bunny is a hulk of redwood, perhaps a chip off a great redwood tree’s top crown to early trunk. In other words, the bulky “head” wood grain is swirly like root wood, while the other end is more linear, like a tail.

Habitat feature: Redwood loves water. The soft, moisture-laden wood will work in tandem with the adobe soil to create a moist soft interface, mud. That’s a great amphibian, soil microbe, crustacean, gastropod place to be. Biodiversity is likely to thrive in this proposed wildlife habitat. Note: The Sonoma fieldstone (local rock) on the skid in background waiting for the installation to start.  Thanks for the delivery Stuart!

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenFungi hunting grounds at the LEC – Heron Hall’s back slope mulching woodchips. The woodchips are a habitat restoration resource. Heron Hall was recently built.   The woodchips will allow the native plants and seeds, provided by the Laguna Foundation, time enough to establish, to thrive, before weeds take over. Race between Weeds and Native Plants aside, we get to harvest mushrooms. Those mushrooms will be used to inoculate the new habitat’s (Big Bunny Seat’s) new woodchip mulching. Note: White polka dot irrigation flags (pretty fancy stuff!) mark mushroom colonies.

 

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden Beginning of class. Today we will be making an art installation as well as a functional bench. And, it will be a wildlife habitat.

20141112-BBS--aamphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden2,cr(1000)The 10-foot trench for the redwood branches starts at 6” (six inches) deep and gradually surfaces. The longest branch will rise out of the trench and become a small snag below the Observation Platform ramp. Small snag to you, nice perch for a field mouse or Pacific tree frog.

2014amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden1112-BBS--5(1000)Water to the rescue! A quick hosing and the trench’s adobe clay will become easier to dig.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudent digs hole for the “praying mantis head” alongside the packed granite path.   The Sonoma fieldstone rock is roundish up top and angular on bottom. It will sit firmly in the small hole dug for it. Besides providing a pool of moisture, the rock will prevent Big Bunny from tipping when the next traveler sits.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenSpades and trench shovels and digging bars, oh my! Students eke a trench out of the stubborn adobe soil.

20141112-BBS--4.89Student levels the Sonoma fieldstone. The rock has a dip on one side, which is facing skyward in the pic. Water is used to determine “level”, or better, that position of the rock that holds the most water. The goal is to create a mountain lake for tiny critters, like amphibians, reptiles, and crawly creatures smaller.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenA student and I have the redwood hulk balanced on its head, resting before the final flop.

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amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenSonoma fieldstone offers a shallow hillside lake to the critters inhabiting Big Bunny Seat. Newly planted grass will add to the installation’s richness.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenCovering the spore-covered redwood branches with straw.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudents plant native grass plugs. Note: The facing side of Big Bunny has been covered with woodchip mushroom harvest. Those old chips will inoculate the new wheelbarrows of chips in queue.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThis student knows plants, and this one is the native California fescue, Festuca californica.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThis biology class is outdoors. Exposure to soil, Nature, time off campus are among the curricula. Note: Adobe soil from the trench is used to create a new grass hill. Mix things up a bit, change the terrain. The trench, topped with a layer of moisture-loving straw, is ready to be covered with new woodchips.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudent unwinds the flexible black irrigation tubing (plastic python).

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Oops! Forgot the irrigation. The flexible black emitter hose, which was watering the young coyote bushes (4) and the larger ceanothus, has been hijacked. Those five emitters will now irrigate the mulch woodchip bed that encompasses:

–drought resistant native grasses

–a clay trench that is filled with a lasagna of redwood branches, puffball spore (Found by redwood roots as whole dried puffball.), and straw.  The straw will hold moisture, perhaps nourishing the puffball spore.  Maybe we’ll see fungi emerge from the trench this winter.   (Outdoor classroom.)

–a hulk of redwood that wants water.

Any time soon the irrigation can be removed; BBS is a drought tolerant wildlife habitat. In the meantime before the piping is removed, the new grass plugs will be in Water Joy.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe day Big Bunny Seat was installed. View sitting on the redwood seat, or standing very close to it. Mid November afternoon in Northern California. The LEC’s Pond and native plantings and habitat landscaping look beautiful, thriving.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe day Big Bunny Seat was installed.  Late afternoon November skies.  This outdoor classroom rocks!amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig Bunny Seat’s first day. Who will sit on you tomorrow, Big Bunny?

Thank you for the wonderful pictures, Jenna.  To all the Orchard View students, and teacher (Sunny), and Cordy and David, and the Laguna Foundation’s staff (especially Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor), cool project!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Oct 102014
 
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Compost Cricket Corral is a wildlife habitat installation at The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation‘s complex, Laguna Environmental Center, in Santa Rosa, California, 95401.

Compost Cricket Corral, installed on October 8, 2014 (2 days ago at this writing), is also about both creating an efficient compost system for the Laguna Environment and also having students experience working with Nature, in Nature.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsStakes mark the pole locations for Compost Cricket Corral. Nice view of Stone Farm’s northern pasture, Irwin creek, and Mount St. Helena while we work! The above pic is where Spore Lore left off detailing the progress of Compost Cricket Corral, on 9-4-2014: “Compost Cricket Corral“.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsCompost Cricket Corral – The Before. This is installation day, leaving off from September’s prep of the site. The stakes, as discussed in last month’s article, show the location of the 8 posts to be installed. Six postholes have been partially dug.  The 8 posts will create 3 compost bin areas, each roughly 6 feet X 6 feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsSome prep before the students arrive today. The 8 post holes are started and filled with water to make digging deeper in the adobe clay soil easier. Large concrete chucks were found under the soil; they will be used later in the project.  True, the blocks were very hard to extract from the soil but they will come in handy to support the posts upright.  As is said in Permaculture, “The problem is the solution.”

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsThe students are here! Biology students from Orchard View School, in Sebastopol, will be installing Compost Cricket Corral. Lots of posthole digging! Old wood to be gathered and a wood chip pile to be shifted over a few feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsDigging, digging, digging.  Outdoor classrooms include fresh air, sometimes exercise like this one, and kinesthetic learning, or otherwise known as, tactile learning.  Doing is learning!  Note the large wood chip pile (right foreground).

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs5/16” holes are drilled 3″ deep into the top of the posts to encourage insects to habitat in them.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsMeasuring holes to get 3 plus feet deep.   The deep holes will better support the posts without having to pour new/fresh concrete at their bases.  Also, the overkill deep, untreated fir wood posts will hold life-sustaining water for the habitat’s soil microbes, larger critters, and fungi/plant growth.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsA post is placed in its hole, then leveled vertically. Concrete chucks are used to hold the posts in place and to create shelter cavities for wildlife.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs Habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation might be hard work but it sure beats being in the classroom. Outdoor classrooms rock!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsThe Biology students from Orchard View School (Sebastopol, California; teacher: Sunny Galbraith) have installed Compost Cricket Corral’s 8 vertical posts AND have fled. What great work they did! Local materials, especially those that others consider “junk”, will become this wildlife habitat’s treasures.

The compost bins now have defined areas – making compost will now be more efficient for the Laguna Environmental Center at Stone Farm.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNW view. Student-carried oak logs await insertion into Compost Cricket Corral.

Class is over; Tony stays on to finish the habitat installation. Students gathered these oak logs from the farm to be used in the habitat installation. The logs are used to edge the back of the compost corrals and to create a wood pile next to one end bin. That log pile will house gastropods (snails and slugs), insects, other crawly critters, lizards, snakes, and other animals. The purpose of this habitat installation is to maximize the compost area – the animals sheltering nearby will visit the compost and add to its richness. Rich biodiversity at the compost will create better soil, faster.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsW view. Half of this refuse concrete blocks pile was used to support Compost Cricket Corral’s posts. The blocks were snuggled up against all sides of each post, in the gaps of the posthole.  No new concrete was poured/made for this installation.

Stacking functions (Permaculture) – let’s clean this place up, raise the level of the compost, AND create habitat. Old concrete chunks are used to bolster the back edge of the compost. A raised floor to the compost pile will help it drain better, preventing an anaerobic condition (no oxygen to support decomposition) in the rainy winter months.  Besides holding logs in place, the concrete chunks also create cavities for critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs The sun is setting on this project. Posts are in, the soil base is leveled, and the log pile has been started (far end).

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsTime to call it a night. I finalized the project under a rising full moon. Excited to see the finished result in the morning!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNE view. Compost Cricket Corral (CCC) was completed last night and given a good sprinkle of water before being to put sleep by the chill night, enjoying its warm Northern California October night, till the warm fog rolled in this morning.

 

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsE view.  The next morning.  Finished and looking good! Ready to make compost and invite the growing neighborhood of critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs N view.  3 compost pile bins, each roughly 6 feet X 6 feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNW view. Note the sawdust from drilling insect holes on the tarp in the foreground.

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spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsWest view. Critters will travel between the compost, log pile, wood chip pile, and surrounding fenceline.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsVacancy at Log Pile Apartments.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs5/16” holes drilled into posts to encourage insects to live in the wood. These fir posts will invite insects and fungi to thrive in Compost Cricket Corral. Fir wood (#3 rough) was specifically chosen because of its vulnerability to Nature.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsClose-up of post insect holes.

Other Photos of Habitat-Friendly Features of Compost Cricket Corral:

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Nice job, again, Sunny and the Biology students (Uly, Tristan, Nick, Moses, Matt, Lily, Leo, Lauren, Kaleb, Jenna, Hannah, Cordy, Coco, Brendan), and Dave.

Everyone, enjoy your wildlife habitat creations!  Play outdoors!

Tony

Sep 042014
 
The BEFORE -- area behind the Laguna Foundation's native plant nursery before installation of Compost Cricket Corral, which will consolidate the compost pile and provide wildlife habitat.

The BEFORE — area behind the Laguna Foundation’s native plant nursery before installation of Compost Cricket Corral, which will consolidate the compost pile and provide wildlife habitat.

Yesterday, I started prep work for a wildlife habitat installation, Compost Cricket Corral, at the Laguna Environmental Center, which is the headquarters and showcase educational property for the Laguna Foundation.

Staking out Compost Cricket Corral's post locations, which will define three compost piles/bins.

Staking out Compost Cricket Corral’s post locations, which will define three compost piles/bins.  No T-square, but piping with a 90-degree elbow worked fine.

We will be installing vertical driftwood posts to replace the current stakes; the posts are to encourage insect activity.

See:

Insect Hotels — Inspiration Green

Insect Hotels – Encourage Beneficial Insects Into Your Garden

Creating Habitat For Native Bees | Deep Roots at Home

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Compost Cricket Corral, that is, the new and improved compost pile(s), will be within easy access of the nursery’s work stations.

Stakes mark the pole locations for Compost Cricket Corral.  Nice view of Stone Farm's northern pasture, Irwin creek, and Mount St. Helena while we work!

Stakes mark the pole locations for Compost Cricket Corral. Nice view of Stone Farm’s northern pasture, Irwin creek, and Mount St. Helena while we work!

This project will be completed in October by Sunny Galbraith’s biology students from Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Compost Cricket Corral will be our first wildlife habitat installation for this school year.  Chirp chirp!

Enjoy your habitat garden.

Tony

 

Feb 142014
 
Golden Crowned Sparrow in Tulip MagnoliaTwig Pile

Twisty Toad Tunnel is a hugelkultur wildlife habitat in our Northern California garden.  I severely pruned back a lichen-covered and overgrown tulip magnolia tree and stuffed the cut-down limbs, prunings, and cutting into The Bog — a hole in our garden where we make soil by winter and grow crops by summer.  Much of the magnolia cuttings are elegantly draped with lichens, surely a beneficial source of wildlife shelter and food for animals microscopic to crawling to larger.

The beginning of this post focuses on video installations of Twisty Toad Tunnel.

The last paragraph provides you with a link to learn more about Twisty Toad Tunnels’ rich lichen contribution to out wildlife habitat hugelkultur.

Installation of Twisty Toad Tunnel


Learn more about Twisty Toad Tunnels’ rich lichens

Today (the 14th) is my monthly blog post at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.  This month, my blog article discusses how lichens support wildlife habitat in our residential gardens.

Enjoy!  And please comment me under my NP & WG article if you have any comments or questions.

Tony

Apr 022013
 

Contest Entries

During each calendar month, Spore Lore will accept postings of residential wildlife habitats to Spore Lore’s facebook page, Habitat It and They Will Come.

click to post your Habitat of the Month entry

Click to post your Habitat of the Month entry.

Contest entries must include:

1) The name of the garden habitat.

2) The 4 components of wildlife habitat:

SHELTER =

FOOD =

WATER =

SPACE TO RAISE YOUNG =

3) At least one picture of the the wildlife habitat.

Entry Awards and Contest Winners

All Habitat of the Month Contest entries will receive a “Habitat It!” bumper sticker.  Habitat of the Month, as in the The Winner, will receive a signed copy of Tony McGuigan’s book, Habitat It and They Will Come.  The month’s winning habitat will be chosen from a review of Comments (facebook) posted to the entry AND ALSO from Tony’s impression of the contest entry.  In the case of a tie, two (2) winners, both declared “Habitat of the Month” will be announced.

Contest entries (postings to the facebook page Habitat It and They Will Come) will be accepted till noon (Pacific treefrog time) of the 28th day of the month (26th day for February).  Contest winners will be announced by 6PM (Pacific treefrog time) on the 30th day of the same month (28th for February).  Contest winners will be announced primarily at Spore Lore’s website (sporelore.com\Blog\Habitat of the Month Contest) and at Spore Lore’s facebook page (Habitat It and They Will Come).

To receive your contest entry “Spore Lore” sticker, and/or receive a book if your habitat is chosen as Habitat of the Month, please email your postal address to habitatofthemonth@sporelore.com; please include the name of your habitat in your email.

Please enter your garden habitat one time only.  However, if significant changes have been made to the habitat and/or significant documentation (like pictures!) of the habitat is available, then the same habitat may be re-submitted as a new contest entry. 

Create wildlife habitat and have fun.

Post your habitat to Habitat of the Month.

Good Luck!

Fine Print — Other Rules

There is no cash value for any contest rewards or contest prizes.

Participants/Entrants of the Contest give Spore Lore permission to leave contest posts on Spore Lore’s facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HabitatItAndTheyWillCome, and to post Contest entries and Contest winner announcements to Spore Lore’s facebook pages (Habitat It and They Will Come, Spore Lore, and Tony McGuigan), as well as Tony McGuigan’s/Spore Lore’s other social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube) and Spore Lore’s website (sporelore.com).   Spore Lore reserves the right to use the winner’s name (if provided in the contest entry), habitat name and habitat location (if provided in the contest entry),  for publicity purposes only in connection with the Contest and for no other reason.

Spore Lore is not bound to announce contest entries/winner/winners. 

GOVERNING LAW: Contest governed by the laws of California and subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Accordingly, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Contestant and Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of California or any other jurisdiction). The Contest is void where prohibited by any applicable law. Contestants, by participating in this Contest, hereby waive and release, and agree to hold harmless Spore Lore and all of its respective officers, directors, employees and representatives and agents, from and against, any and all rights, claims and causes of action whatsoever that they may have, or which may arise, against any of them for any liability for any matter, cause or thing whatsoever, including but not limited to any injury, loss, damage, whether direct, compensatory, incidental or consequential, to person, including death, and /or property, arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from their acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, or their participation in this Contest, or any prize-related activity. By participating in this Contest, Contestants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor. Except where prohibited by law, by accepting a prize, winner agrees that Spore may use the winner’s name, address (state), photograph, likeness, and/or prize information for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes and to the use of statements made by or attributed to winner relating to Spore Lore or to this Contest and grants to Spore Lore any and all rights to said use without further notice and/or compensation except where prohibited by law.


Feb 232013
 
Food Ridge West before final layer of garden mix.

It’s now Friday, so my back and body in general are nearly recovered.  On Monday this week, I spent the whole day shovelling manure and compost on top of Food Ridge West, our raised veggie bed and animal habitat.  Veggie bed — because the debris pile covered with manure/compost/gardening soil will be plantable this late spring.  Below are three videos of this week’s progress with the hugelkultur Food Ridge West.  Enjoy!

 

20130218 Food Ridge West Hugelkulture 1 of 3

Food Ridge West Hugelkulture now has a layer of pine tree limbs in the center of the better, more growth-supportive wood debris pile.  Horse manure will be used to “burn” the pine and help it become a good veggie bed resource faster.

 

20130218 Food Ridge West Hugelkulture 2 of 3

Eleven yards of manure/compost are now on the hugelkultur.  The compost corral is empty, almost — the rest will go to another site.  Now, we are ready to give the hugelkultur a new hairdo.

20130218 Food Ridge West Hugelkulture 3 of 3

Cousin It has been hangin’ out at the hugelkultur!  The compost/manure pile is on the hugelkultur!  A bale of rice straw has been scattered over the compost to avoid erosion from the coming rains.

 

Food Ridge West before final layer of garden mix.Food Ridge West before final layer of garden mix.  The shredded rice straw bale is used to reduce the soil’s erosion from the coming rains.  The final layer, of organic garden mix, will be added in a couple of weeks and by then the compost/manure under-layer will have settled some.

Happy habitat creations and don’t forget to sniff the daffy’s.

Tony

Feb 162013
 

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, was the start of  new layers to our animal habitat/veggie bed hugelkultur, Food Ridge West.  The new layers are pine tree prunings, horse manure, and organic vineyard compost and can be seen in my post  Happy Valentines Day AND Garden What You Love

Final touches to the pine limb layer are shown in this video:

 

A straw bale holding bin was constructed on our driveway to stockpile soil-making material till moving them to the hugelkultur.  Also, the rectangle box, or “corral”, would be a good place for the compost company to dump the ordered organic vineyard compost.

Soil corral reinforced with cardboard corner.Soil corral reinforced with cardboard corner.  The cardboard gives structure to the straw housing and prevents leakage between the bales.  The rough concrete driveway is lined with a cardboard floor and folded up the sides of the bales.  Easier cleanup of the concrete and less leakage of the corral’s contents.  The manure and compost impregnated cardboard will be composted, perhaps thrown in the bottom of another hugelkultur after we clean up this project.

A couple of pickup truck bed loads of manure were used to line the bottom of the corral so that the vineyard compost could be dumped on top.  Shoveling out the pile into wheelbarrow loads then mixed the two soil additives to be dumped onto the hugelkultur.

Early stage of manure and compost bin.Early stage of manure and compost bin.  The bin was expanded with more bales, and a second tier of bales was added, to fit the incoming vineyard compost mix.

And here comes the dump truck!

 

Have a happy hugelkultur habitat day!

Tony

Dec 142012
 
Heavy limbs weighing down the lighter sticks on Food Ridge West.

 

Today is my fourth posting of rebuilding hugelkultur Food Ridge West.

Go to Hugelkultur to see a description of this European garden art.

Today’s video shows the final stages of building the base of the hugelkultur.  Its “keyhole garden” shape is discussed.

Hugelkultur 4 of 4 (video):

 

From Tony’s project (pics):

Heavy limbs weighing down the lighter sticks on Food Ridge West.  Heavy limbs weighing down the lighter sticks on Food Ridge West.  This woody mesh of twigs, sticks, and limbs makes a good base for organic debris layers to come.  Note all the nooks and crannies that will be available to garden critters.  HABITAT!!!

 

Entrance to the keyhole garden hugelkultur, Food Ridge West.Entrance to the keyhole garden hugelkultur, Food Ridge West.

 

Close-up view of entrance to the keyhole garden hugelkultur, Food Ridge West.Close-up view of entrance to the keyhole garden hugelkultur, Food Ridge West.   The added layers of organic debris will rise over the vertical log (left, inside the keyhole garden bed), only to settle back down again next year.  Each year’s added layers mean better soil for crops.

 

Some images of hugelkultur.

For a detailed discussion,

clear graphics, and lots of pics of hugelkultur,

see Paul Weaton’s blog at:Click to go to Paul Weaton's blog entry on Hugelkultur.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy hugelkultur habitat making.  See you tomorrow.

Tony