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.

 

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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.

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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 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.

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 gardenLowering the redwood seat into position. The Bunny’s tail will rest on the water-holding fieldstone, ensuring a stable seat.

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.

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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 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.

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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 logsVacancy at Log Pile Apartments.

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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 logsClose-up of post insect holes.

Other Photos of Habitat-Friendly Features of 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 logs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Aug 032013
 
Cozy Cottage Egg Farm 1st Egg
Cozy Cottage Egg Farm 1st Egg

Cozy Cottage Egg Farm's 1st egg, layed by our Bard Rock hen, Marmalade. The coins are used for relative size: a Norwegian 5 kroner coin and a U.S. quarter (25 cents) coin. The eggshell was very thin and split open in the coop. Still yummy out of the fry pan!

Cozy Cottage Egg Farm 1st egg was layed!

Watch the video:

 

 

Happy habitat food forest!

Tony

May 142013
 
Sambucas mexicana in Elderberry Pond wildlife habitat.

I posted my monthly blog article (due every 14th of the month) at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens:

 

Sambucas mexicana in Elderberry Pond wildlife habitat.

Sambucas mexicana in Elderberry Pond wildlife habitat. Perhaps the cutting shrub propagation will be successful. The young shoots look promising.

 

Enjoy your wildlife garden.  Habitat It!

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 172013
 
Multi-graft apple tree.

Multi-graft apple tree.Multi-graft apple tree.  Note the 5 different tags on the tree: 1) Multi-Graft, with code for root stock; 2) Gravenstein Apple, 3) Red Delicious Apple, 4) Yellow Delicious Apple, 5) Granny Smith Apple.  Keeping the tags on, at least till the fruit is well identified, helps to sort out which apples are which.

 

Today was a beautiful day in sunny California, with a warm afternoon reaching 65 degrees.  Good napping in the car at work weather.  And, also good weather for planting bare root fruit trees before warmer weather stimulates the dormant trees.

Bare root trees are trees that have been pulled out of their growing soil/sand medium with most of their roots clean of soil, and no leaves or even buds.  These trees look like not more than a few sticks off a main, thicker stick (the trunk) with a straggly mop of roots.  Having planted a bare root tree previously to see it thrive and leaf out helps one to appreciate their dormant abundant life waiting for your garden.

My friend, Mark, recently lost his Papa.  Mark’s Papa, Louis, died January 27th this year and Mark decided to remember him by planting a tree in his honor.  I was lucky enough, and honored, to be part of Mark’s tribute to his Dad.  So we planted a bare root multi-graft upright (not for espalier) apple tree in Mark’s back yard this afternoon.

Simple task to plant a bare root fruit tree.  Dig a hole and put the tree in, right?  Well almost.  Our job today was not so simple.  Luckily, it was also not so hard.  In the end, Louis got just the right amount of work out of us, and Mark and I got to clean up and have sunset to ourselves.

The first challenge was to plant this apple tree so that its feet would not be wet, that is, so that it received good drainage and its roots were not sitting in water.  The planting spot just happens to be the lowest part of the back yard, to the side of a large water-run-off paver patio.  Sitting water was under the plywood sheet we cleared out of the way to start the tree’s hole.   The soil is the famous adobe clay of the area BUT I was pleasantly pleased that Mark had enriched it well over some years.  The tree will be very happy in the spot Mark choose for it but let’s get it up out of the water!

Aha!  Not only is the soil adobe heavy, there’s a plastic sheeting under this part of the yard.  What a pain!  What a blessing!  Better to find a problem now (that can be fixed) than to have one later with no solution in sight.  As we dug out the outer trench for the tree, we cut the plastic liner.  Wala! (tried the old pull-out-the-tablecloth trick but it didn’t work) and a mess of soil later, and we could now plant the tree.

Four stakes were driven into the soil to center the tree.  A Norwegian Tree Box1 was created to raise the soil level by placing thin scraps of wood, two parallel in one direction, then two on top and parallel in the other direction.  The slat wood will hold up the soil till it settles, yet allow roots to escape, adventure, and fully support the tree. 

Slat wood used to raise the soil level.Slat wood used to raise the soil level.  A little help, buying time, till the steeply mounded soil settles in place.  The wood will quickly rot, returning to the Earth wence it came.

 

A root-spreading rock was placed on top of the soil mound and the tree’s roots were spread over the rock.  The roots were then covered with soil and mounded to the correct crown/trunk level.  Mulch was spread to enrich the soil, retain moisture, provide microbe and critter habitat, and to protect the new soil mound from the coming rains.  The tree is planted! 

Mark (right), tree (left).Mark proudly stands by the multi-graft apple tree, his tribute to his Papa.  “Look Dad, there will be blossoms on your birthday!”

 

A few instructions to Mark, one of which is to bulk up the mound a little; the height is good but the roots could use a little more soil to expand into.  On top of that “more soil”, some wood chips to mulch around the tree and to encourage mycorrhizal root growth.  And beyond the mound perimeter, maintain a watering trench which can also be filled with mulching material.  Especially for the dry months, no sense in having precious water pour off the mound and away from the tree.  Permaculture’s water mantra: Slow it, Spread it, Sink it!

The author and fellow tree hugger.

 

Take care, Louis.  Glad I was there.

Tony

1 There is no such thing as a Norwegian Tree Box, but I thought it sounded very woodsman-like at the time.

 

 

 

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

Feb 082013
 
Side view of Grandpa’s Apricot Root Worlds Fair animal habitat.

This is the third of three videos showing a garden animal habitat created when our apricot tree was almost entirely uprooted and partially buried on it side.  Features of the completed project are explained:
–The up-ended rootball serves as an animal habitat.
–The buried tree trunk acts as a retaining wall for the wood chip path.
–The retaining wall allows a watering trench to be dug into the garden bed slope.

 

20130130 Grandpa’s Apricot Root Worlds Fair 3 of 3 (video):

20130130 Grandpa’s Apricot Root Worlds Fair (pics):

Grandpa’s apricot tree is snug in the ground.Grandpa’s apricot tree is snug in the ground, upside down between the slate wall and the pineapple guava tree.  Note the also up-ended apricot tree rootball, which remains partially buried.  Some of the roots may thrive and send life to shoots reaching for the sky (like a tree!).

 

Woodchips are scooped aside to create a watering trench for the garden bed trees.Woodchips are scooped aside to create a watering trench for the garden bed trees.   The pineapple guava is tan-colored and the mission fig (thicker, in back) is a pale green.  The buried tree trunk serves as retaining wall to the left, allowing a deeper watering trench to be dug.

 

Side view of Grandpa’s Apricot Root Worlds Fair animal habitat.Side view of Grandpa’s Apricot Root Worlds Fair animal habitat.  Note the mix of Medusa-like roots and soil in the up-ended rootball.  The mass of roots and crown wood will become homes for wood-loving critters.  As well, the fingers of soil converging into the root mass will become homes for soil-loving critters.  In the end, ALL ARE WELCOME!!!

 

Enjoy your habitat upside down creations!

Tony