Showing posts from January, 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 sur…

Life On the Wild Edge - Part I

For decades now, my artist wife Penny and I have practiced a form of restoration ecology whether we were buying previously existing homes or, on one occasion, building one of our own.With respect for their beauty and uniqueness, we have generally removed nonnative vegetation and reestablished native vegetation.We have made as many energy and water saving modifications to the house itself as possible and as we could afford, including establishing rainwater holding tanks and installing tubes that bring sunlight into previously dark rooms. We recycle, we repurpose, and we compost. Mostly, we try to live quietly in our neighborhoods and in unity with our non-human neighbors.For example, our mouser, for the areas above and below the living quarters is Bill, a five foot black snake. Black bears visit the spring at the lower end of our small patch and the cubs play in the spring pool.The bears often pass under my study window and their wet, gamey smell lingers for some time along with their …