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.

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.

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).

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

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
 
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

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.

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. The log pile, Log Pile Apartments, will house many 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 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:

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

 

Jul 042013
 
Cynipid Wasp on Ceanothus.

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

Cynipid Wasp on Ceanothus.

Cynipid Wasp on Ceanothus.

 

Enjoy your wildlife garden.  Habitat It!

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.


Dec 042012
 
Tony’s last conversation with Monica Mannequin.

First a video  re “Planting Salvia spathacea next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin 2 of 2”,  then some  pics of “Monica Manzanita  Mannequin animal habitat installation” (below the video):

Planting Salvia spathacea next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin 2 of 2 (video):

Monica Manzanita  Mannequin animal habitat installation and planting Salvia spathacea (pics):

The west end of Cacti Caverns is cleared of lavarock.  The west end of Cacti Caverns is cleared of lavarock.  The “Monica” (species name) manzanita (Spanish for “little apple”) shrub will be planted on top of Cacti Caverns’ terra cotta flat roofing tiles.

 

The lower tile is slide under the top tile.The lower tile is slide under the top tile to make room for Monica Manzanita Mannequin animal habitat.   Poor quality soil (high percentage of adobe clay) is removed to make room for planting (better quality) soil.

 

Tony’s last conversation with Monica Mannequin.  Tony’s last conversation with Monica Mannequin.   Note the wavy wood grain, identifying the mass as a tree root burl.  The “nose”,  or upright projection (Hey, work with me here!), is the base of the trunk, which starts out a straight grain.

 

Monica Manzanita threaded through Mannequin.  Monica Manzanita threaded through Mannequin.   Soon critters will inhabit the inside vaulted ceilings and come and go through Mannequin’s crevices.   A pole planted next to MMM serves as a handhold while traversing the walk path.

 

Monica manzanita a month after being planted.Monica manzanita a month after being planted.  Looks happy to me!  Not over watering is probably the biggest challenge this manzanita shrub will offer here in California,  where it is a native plant.

 

Monica manzanita 2 months after planting. After two healthy months, the typically very slowly growing shrub looks to be establishing itself.  Grape Overpass is sporting bunches of green grapes that will ripen in a couple of months.

 

Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) planted next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin habitat.Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) planted next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin habitat.   The salvia, like the manzanita, is also a native plant that will thrive in the dry hydrozone garden bed.

 

Both hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin habitat.Both hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) pose for a photo op next to Monica Manzanita Mannequin habitat.  The critters will be happy!, especially in years to come when the manzanita tree canopies its undergrowth of hummingbird sage.

Happy animal habitat installations.  See you tomorrow.

Tony

 

Jan 142011
 
Last season's artichoke is overwintering insect habitat.

Garden Log (what I did):

1. Scattered red and white clover seeds and fava beans on Straw Bale Recliner Bed in front garden.  Harvested potato crop soil from The Bog; see http://sporelore.com/food-forest-gardening/caterpillar-winter-resort-next-to-our-front-door/.

2. Pruned the gravenstein apple tree in our front yard.

3. Staked up rotting artichoke stalks (last season’s crop).

You, the Habitat Gardener (reflections):

red and white clover seeds with fava bean

Red clover (small brown), white clover (small yellow) seeds with fava bean (large flat).

1. A light, misty rain this afternoon.  Time for me to get another crop in the ground.  Last season’s green mulch supplies are still on hand; might as well use the seeds up while they are still viable.  Found paper bags with fava bean and both red and white clover seed in our cold storage (sealed plastic bin in unheated shop).  Perfect!  The fava bean will both enhance the soil and provide veggies in the spring.  The red and white clover will also nitrogen fix the veggie bed’s soil AND the insects will love the flowers.  Bees and other polinator insects will be buzzin’ in the front garden — our little pollinator helpers to ensure all those fava bean flowers develop into pods.

fava bean, red and white clover on straw mulchThe front veggie bed was just recently half planted with garlic cloves.  It was then covered with a light mulch of old straw.  Even though that straw mulching was mostly to protect the garlic starts and the new soil that was used to plant the garlic, the entire bed was mulched with straw — even the unplanted half of the bed was mulched.  I figured that the straw layer over the unplanted half would bulk up the organic matter in the bed and be ready and waiting for a new crop.  Well, now that new crop is here.  I mixed all three seed types (fava, red and white clover) in a large bowl and sprinked them out onto the bed’s unplanted half, the half alongside the sidewalk.

potato soil harvest from The BogA thin layer of soil over the beans and seeds will suffice as “planting” them.  Luckily, the rich soil from our harvested potato crop is avalable to throw over the planted bed.soil layer over beans and seeds on straw

I’ll feel lucky when the garlic on the other half of the bed comes up.  We used straw to mulch over the planted cloves and soil layer.  The expected hard rains demanded that the soil be covered, that is, not exposed and vulnerable to harsh rainfall.  The downside of that mulch is its insulating nature — the weak winter sun will have to warm both the straw mulch and the garlic to germinate it.  So, for this half of the bed, the fava bean crop, we are not mulching over the soil.

2. Pruning time for our dwarf Gravenstein apple tree.  We want to encourage the tree to provide fruit low to the ground — no sense in having to pull out a ladder just to pick an apple.  So hard to prune this already small tree but our patience will be rewarded some day with a full-figured, strong-limbed, laden apple tree. The prunings were chopped into small bits and placed around the trunk; every plant is entitled to its decaying minerals.  Just a hunch, but I bet that the tree, and perhaps its co-existing fungi, will appreciate dead wood of a similar species, if not from exactly the same plant.

chop and drop at base of apple tree

Chop and drop at base of apple tree. Note the limb prunings left as small apple tree "wood chip" mulch.

Lastly, the base of the tree was chopped and dropped.  In other words, the resident dandelion (has been living for many months) and a new arrowhead plant was chopped at their base, BUT NOT PULLED.  Doing so, the plants’ roots will die back and leave loose organic matter in the soil.  Yummy!, says the tree’s roots.  The greens left on the wood chip surface will mulch the surface, with the organic matter in the leaves feeding the top layer of soil.  Then the “weeds” will grow back, Tony will chop them again, over and over and apples and apples again.

artichoke bed on Dragon Spine Ridge3. I once heard that artichoke plants ought to be cut to the ground in winter in preparation for the spring’s new growth.  Well, another “ought to” that I am not getting to.  I have enjoyed witnessing the full cycle of these enormous thistle-like plants.  Up. up, and up grow the stalks, bulking thicker and thicker as they grow.  Heavy duty veggies!   Then, the joy of the flower bud, which is the “artichoke” itself.  And sometimes I don’t want to harvest that bud.  I egg on the magnificent flower that follows.  Come butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, and all pollen lovers to Artichoke’s purple carpet in the sky.  But, alas, the end is then near. The flower dies back, bleaches silver in the sun, and becomes a highrise insect commune.  But beware — spiders are the landlords and the rent they charge will suck the life out of you!  Soon the entire shrub-like plant, both stalk and spent flower, takes on a sun-scortched, wind-twisted tangle of gracefulness.  Art in the garden.  And all I did was plant an artichoke plant.  And, the best is yet to come.  This decaying artichoke stalk is both GARDEN SCULPTURE and HABITAT.

decaying artichoke stalk holding nursery tagA couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the plastic nursery tag for the Green Globe heirloom artichoke planted on Dragon Spine Ridge had fallen away from the plant’s base.  Not wanting to throw away the tag because the perrenial artichoke lives on, I thought to stick it into the plant’s spent stalk.  Amazing how nicely the pointed tag cut into the vertical fibers of the old stalk.  Wow!, that’s habitat material.

Last season's artichoke is overwintering insect habitat.

Close-up of old artichoke stalk. Note the thick vertical veins of the stalk. The stalk's pulpy interior seems the perfect insulated over-wintering habitat for insect eggs and larvae.

If the thin plastic nursery tag could penetrate the artichoke’s stalk so easily, you can bet for sure that some insects have bored holes into this plant.  Sure, some of those insects will thrive inside the plant stalk to emerge, as larva or adult insects, and eat next summer’s artichokes.  But, we have plenty to share.

If we focus on growing biodiversity, and not just this plant and that plant, we will have strong gardens.

Stay warm in your over-wintering habitat.

Tony

Dec 022010
 
Anna's Hummingbird
Male Anna's Hummingbird

A male Anna's hummingbird at our back deck.

Garden Log:

1. Not much in the garden today, on this near-winter day.  A brief hello while moving our 4 small potted citrus under a jasmine vine thatch along the deck lattice.

2. Divided up the kitchen washbasin water between the  citrus, avocado, and paw paw tree pots.  All the trees are young and small.  The 4 avocado and 4 paw paw are patiently waiting to be unpotted and are residing in Anna’s Avocado Aviary alongside are back deck.

You the Habitat Gardener:

1. Our back deck has lattice along one side to increase privacy from the next door neighbors.  Then, we planted jasmine at the base of the deck to grow on the lattice — awesome privacy,  EVERGREEN plants and beautiful, fragrant flowers.  Great cover for brave nest-building birds, wasps, and spiders.  Habitat!  Nowadays the jasmine could use a trim, but I knew there was a reason I didn’t get to it.  Okay you young citrus trees in pots, wanting to escape the night’s frost, hide under here.  So the citrus pots were pushed up against the lattice wall and are tucked under the overhanging jasmine thatch.  The frost, which falls straight down, will fall directly below the canopy line of the jasmine and won’t leaf damage the citrus.  Mission accomplished and I didn’t have to move the trees and cover them with a sheet elsewhere.

Jasmine Gondola Apartments alongside back deck

Jasmine Gondola Apartments alongside back deck. Since this pic (last March), the jasmine has grown much thicker. The citrus are resting comfy tonight up against the lattice, protected by the jasmine vine thatch overhead. The empty gourds hanging in the jasmine thatch provide shelter for spiders, crawling insects, and wasps.

2. Our Sunset zone here in Sebastopol, California is 15.  Pretty cushy weather-wise.  Dry summers with morning fog, cool winters with some frosting, almost no snow.  So we are going to grow avocado and paw paw (the largest native North American friut, native to east of the Mississippi).  Frost protection, especially during the trees’ young years will help them get to the old years.  And some work may be worth it — both tree species deliver exceptional fruit and the trees are long-lived and attractive.

In order to more easily throw a tarp above the trees, they will be planted alongside our back deck.  The deck structure will enable an easy secure point to toss a tarp above the trees.  Note that I say “above” and not “on”.  The covering, whether it be a sheet of cloth or plastic, should not rest on the trees wood or foliage.  If touching like that, the cold above the tarp will transfer through the covering directly to the tree.  So the key is to provide a covering AND an air space above it.  And because I envision an aisle of avocado, paw paw, guava, and honeysuckle, all in bloom some day, the habitat is called Anna’s Avocado Aviary.  Anna’s frequent our garden, even beyond the hummer feeder that hangs on the back deck.

Anna's Avocado Aviary alongside deck lattice frame.

Anna's Avocado Aviary alongside deck lattice frame. The area was chosen because a frost-protecting tarp can be easily spanned, on especially cold nights, from the high lattice wall over to the honeysuckle trellis. The large potted trees alongside the deck are avocado, the smaller are paw paw.

A closeup of Anna’s Avocado Avairy’s guest of honor:

male Anna's hummingbird at feeder

A male Anna's hummer wants to know, "Do I bother YOU when you're eating?"

That’s all folks!

Tony