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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Edge of Endless

Foxgreen Farm and jiovi Agroecology

As you can see, if that's nowhere, Foxgreen Farm is in the middle of it.  Fourteen years ago, while looking for a place where infinity was the rule,  I threw three stones at the stars and the whole sky fell right here, our edge of endless is in the middle of nowhere.
The wilderness has its wonders and challenges.  Seaberry production seems to be a successful choice for wilderness locations.  The 500 plants were planted 15 months ago in a newly created field in the middle of the wilderness.  Just to recap a bit.  This particular forest was clear cut about 30 years ago. It is regenerating nicely and the baseball field shaped field was created about 6 months before the Seaberry plants found their new experimental home.

What existed before the field was a jumble of trees which sprouted from the cut bases of the original and much larger hardwood trees.  It was a thicket of thin trees, tightly spaced and in desperate need of thinning or, in this case, cut, chipped and recycled into a new grass habitat.  A grass based habitat for many species including male and female Seabuckthorn Plants!
Initial Seabuckthorn planting May 2013

Part of the wilderness Seabuckthorn Orchard experiment is to see how the plants integrate with the existing plants, animals, microbes and insects.  So far, so good.  Last year I talked about some damage from grasshoppers and Japanese Beetles.  This year there was nearly no damage at all from those pests.  A couple of likely reasons.  One is that the plants are settling in and less stressed.  Stressed plants send out chemical signals which turn make the chewing insects think they are smelling BBQ or lobsters boiling and they feast on those leaves sending out the stress signals.
The other likely reason is there has been a number of wild turkeys feasting on grasshoppers and beetles.  They have eaten thousands and thousands of them!

The moose have not bothered the bushes at all.  There are deer in the area as well and they have not chosen to browse the bushes either.  It could be the thorns that are providing the protection or maybe they just have not yet figured out this potential food source.
Taken on the farm a week ago
As part of the ethics of Permaculture, caring for the earth is a big and important goal.  Craig and I are investigating "companion" uses for the permaculture/seaberry farm.  Sadly the roadkill of mother moose leaves orphaned baby moose in a difficult situation.  

 We are investigating including a wildlife rescue for these animals.  Our 100+ acres of wilderness would be a perfect transition place for these saved baby moose.  Stay tuned.

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