December 18, 2015.
Devin Floyd and Rachel Bush are into garden design now–walking the site, sizing up views and opportunities. This week, Devin reported finding the largest colony of pipissewa he’s ever seen.
Pipissewa is Chimaphila umbellata, rarer than striped wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata). Growing 3-10 inches tall in dry woodlands, with glossy green leaves year-round and tiny fragrant white to pink flowers in summer, it receives a significant portion of its nutrition from soil fungi. Its Cree Indian name means “it breaks into small pieces.” It has been used to treat a host of disorders from kidney stones to rheumatism to blisters to aching eyes, and was included in the United States Pharmacopaeia during the 19th century. With its sweet-bitter-astringent oils,it continues to be a conventional ingredient in root beer. We’re glad to have it.
In other news, the most visible progress is in the placement of Bridge #1. The photo below is several days old, and much more has already been accomplished. Ought to be finished by New Year’s Day. Many tons of #3 gravel have also been placed and rolled onto the perimeter road.
December 6, 2015.
The past couple of weeks have seen more rain, but also some interesting developments. We had a visit by a delegation of folk from the Quarries Eco Village (off Schuyler Road just north of the stone company) arranged by Martin Schulman. Among the visitors was Fred Oesch, an eco-architect (if there is such a thing) with whom we became re-acquainted, having met him many years ago when we first came to Schuyler. As a result, we have commissioned Fred to draft a design for the adaptive reuse of the Quonset building as our administrative center, display area, gift shop, and classroom space, as well as storage for Henry the Model T and whatever other transportation devices we may add. We hope to get a design finalized during the winter so that we can start construction next spring.
Also, despite the rain, Frankie Graves was able to complete widening of the entrance road, installation of three new drainage pipes, and removal of several large rocks from the roadway bed around the site; Charles and Dean and Allen began construction of Bridge #1 in the Quonset building (it will be moved into place when completed); and Fuzzy’s crew finished installation of stone stairways at points on the walking path so that now most anyone ambulatory can navigate the site if they can negotiate a few steps.
With winter fast approaching, it’s not likely that there will be much construction or planting news during the next couple of months, so I decided to give you a photographic tour of highlights of the entire walking path, from the entrance through the parking lot down to the overlook and all the way around the quarries—a distance I noted this morning to be just about exactly one mile. So here we go:
Newly widened entrance road
Using one of the 18 defined parking spots.
The entrance path.
Path’s end at the side of the administration building.
Viewing platform overview.
Swale on the road side of the platform.
View down to the south quarry.
Beginning of the walking path proper.
Reindeer lichen above the south quarry.
Steps to the south quarry southern overlook.
What that overlook overlooks.
Main stepping stair down though the rock pile.
Where bridge No 1, at this time under construction in the Quonset building, will be located.
Spur stair to the northern overlook of the south quarry, where we used to shoot corks.
Path to the dividing wetland
View of the bog garden between quarries, already planted with some 364 plants.
Wonderful little black willow over the wetland.
Then the north quarry.
Bridge #2 is elevated to allow maintenance boats to go under it. Skyla seems happy with it’s shape and use.
Another overlook, at the northern end of the north quarry.
The overlook platform.
The “hard way” stair from the northern overlook platform to the top path.
View of the north quarry from the top.
Stair-steps to the top path.
The top path.
The last flight up.
Back to the viewing platform, completing the circumnavigation.