What does Duffy Meadows look like 10 months into its restoration? Let’s take a look….
The pasture is gorgeous! The pasture is home to many snakes, turtles, and birds. We cut trails for easy travels. As of July 2017 – it is dominated by purple love grass, yarrow, and milkweed. The height ranges from 1-3 feet tall – with the majority being around 2 feet. The vegetation is there, but it’s still pretty sparse.
As the prairie matures, we will spread more of the hardy native species to the pasture and hope to have it much more diverse and much thicker by the time we bring cattle. With the cattle – we will able to mob stock graze and improve the pasture at a much faster rate. This fall, we will plant shade and forage trees into the pasture for future cattle.
Speaking of the prairie….
This is NOT how you want your prairie to look! This is almost 100% horseweed and some yarrow. We planted the prairie on May 26, 2017 – over 49 different native species. None of them have shown up. The seed company has said that it will take over a year for the seedlings to poke above the ground! This is scary. What if they never show? The restoration cost thousands…. Talk about a leap of faith!!!!
When the prairie is up and running (3 years +) it should be gorgeous and will be full of plants that benefit wildlife, pollinators, and will revitalize the soil. As mentioned above, we will seed from those plants into our pasture as we go along.
Here are a few more shots of the prairie from different angles:
Almost all of the trash is gone (we still have some old pipes lying around just in case they might be useful) and the trees are holding in there.
There are many unique species of plants on the property, and it’s been exciting to find them all!
Bristly locust and Wapato were two of the most exciting. They are both rather rare and have unique properties.
There is still much work to be done, and a lot of challenges. Some are the good type of challenges – where progress leads to success. Some are the endlessly frustrating type that seem to take ages to resolve (the well, the lack of topsoil, etc.)
Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but we were reminded of all our adventures over the 4th of July holiday. As we visited with friends and family, we had so many stories to tell. Great, exciting, unbelievable stories! It was a good reminder of why we took on this challenge in the first place. Where others saw dirt, garbage, and a lot of work – we saw possibilities! And we are having quite the adventure!!
“Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior can not complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge.”
“A warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
Beyond the dirty work, we have also been busy on the “thinking” end. With the prairie taking so long to progress, it puts some of our upcoming bee projects in jeopardy. We have been busy working on grant proposals and strategies both for the land improvement aspects and the research concerns.
Our cat has been lovely about helping during all grant writing sessions. We have also toured other farms and apiaries to get ideas and advice. That has been a fantastic learning experience – and a lot of fun! We are on the right track – just at the beginning of the race.