Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life On the Wild Edge - Part II

(Continued from the preceding post)

During the fall of 2005 we built a concrete structure at the outflow of the pond in order to stabilize the outflow at a constant rate.  This relatively unobtrusive structure, now moss-lined, has also allowed us to estimate the approximate production of the spring at the outflow at greater than 22 gallons per hour.  Given that water produced by the spring evaporates and also percolates into the surrounding soil, we know that production from the spring itself has to be greater than the water that exits the pond through the outflow.

In any event, the pool provides habitat for a healthy, noisy population of frogs and other amphibians.  The frogs attach their egg clusters to the loose branches that float about the pool.  They spawn throughout the late winter and are joined by other species as the seasons advance. The Southern Appalachians are incredibly rich in amphibian species. In addition to the frogs, we have noted three species of salamanders and I'm sure there are others. 

There are times in the spring and summer when I think that the local bear population outnumbers the local human population. The black bear is quite an impressive creature capable of doing a bit of damage.  We are fortunate that the black bear is also a relatively peaceful species.  The bears will surrender their normal shyness in pursuit of the seed that many of our neighbors offer to the rich bird population that visit and, in some cases, live on these ridges.  At Hidden Springs we don't we don't intentionally feed birds or other wild species.  We are, however, replacing exotic vegetation with native vegetation that produce food for the birds and other animals.  By the way, the bears like the spring pool and frequently use it as a ‘wallow’ in which to bathe.  Nothing smells quite like a bear dripping wet from its bath. Here at Hidden Springs we are using many of the restoration techniques we applied and experimented with at White Oak Cottage in Georgia, and subsequently published in Countryside Magazine, Permaculture Magazine, and other outlets. 

Human populations will continue to push out against the wild land edge.  Where we cannot contain ourselves, we must learn how to make that push as gentle as possible.  Here at Hidden Springs, just as at our previous homes we are trying to learn how to do that.

Additional material on sensitive Earthcare may be found as follows:

Baugh, Tom. 1995. Restoring Spring Meadow. American Horticulture 74(12) :12-13.
Baugh, Tom. 1996. Beating sidewalks into gardens. Organic Gardening 43(2) :72.
Baugh, T. and P. Baugh. 2001. A hole in the forest. Countryside 85(1):93-96.
Baugh, T.  2003. An American Meadow.  Permaculture Magazine. (35):23-25
Baugh, T.  2003. Members of the community. BackHome Magazine. May/June 2003.
Baugh, T. 2003. Defensive gardening.  Countryside 87(3):37-40.
Baugh, T. 2003. Build and log ‘n limb fence.  Countryside. 87-(4):62-63.
Baugh, T. 2003. Native shrubs that won’t impress the neighbors.  Countryside 87(5): 67-68.
Baugh, T. 2003. Waterhole at White Oak.  Countryside 87(1): 52-53
Baugh, T.  2003. The Rain Catcher.  Countryside. 87(6):36-37.
Baugh, T. 2003. Half Time Creek.  Permaculture Magazine. (37)19-22.
Baugh, Tom. 2004. Ripples in the stream. Countryside. 88(6):52-53.                                   
Baugh, Tom. 2004. When a tree falls in our forest. Permaculture Magazine. 42:52-54.
Baugh, Tom. 2006. Life on the wild edge. Countryside 90(3):79-81.