Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolved: Projects for 2011

It being 1/1/11, we "naturally" are drawn to the notion of making new year's resolutions. Here they are:
  • Build and place more bluebird houses. We appreciate the presence of bluebirds as they are excellent insect hunter/gatherers, and undoubtedly contribute to moderating the number of mosquitoes and wasps in our back yard. Habitat Home has at least one bluebird family in residence every season. In 2010, one pair had two broods, and there were bluebirds flying about through late fall, although it is hard to say if these were all local juveniles or birds migrating through. But the houses need to be watched during the May through July nesting season, and sparrow nests must be removed as they occur. We resolve to be more encouraging to returning bluebirds.

  • Invasive species removal. We have written about this issue at length before, but it cannot be overemphasized. We did not accomplish our goals for removal in 2010, but then the job will never be finished. So this year we resolve to be out at least once per week with the chain saw, clippers, and spray bottle of glyphosate (to apply sparingly to the stumps and/or plant leaves as appropriate) to remove the Habitat Home "Big 4":
  1. Bush Honeysuckle
  2. Autumn Olive
  3. Lespedeza
  4. Yellow and White Sweet Clover
  • Remove old fencing. This is not so much a habitat improvement goal as an aesthetic and safety improvement. We'll leave the ten foot corner marking the section boundary (Habitat Home occupies pieces of two sections of South Homer township) but remove some of the remaining fence separating the old tilled fields from the hillside woods and older pig grazing areas.

  • Enhance the meadow. The hillside east of the house started as four garden beds, which have slowly evolved into a meadow by some minimal introduction of native plants. Our plan this year is to intentionally manage this area by increasing the diversity of natives (providing sources for seed for propagating elsewhere on the property) and to group them (better serving as a showcase for the different plants for visitors and ourselves). We patiently await our 2011 catalog from Bluestem Prairie Nursery (Hillsboro, IL). A major spring project, this!
Sounds like quite a bit of work, eh? I'd better stop writing and get outside!

No comments:

Post a Comment