Treleven in August

28 Aug

The long-awaited bat habitat tours began taking place on the first Saturday in August, with ten hikers showing up from far and wide to walk through the woods. Since then, the numbers have dropped off…but with fall foliage now in the offing, we expect business to pick up. And so far, this has been a marvelous way to meet new people and share the Treleven vision with them. There will always be a “bat walk” leaving Don and Cheryl’s house at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning, from now until the first weekend in November. Even if only one person shows up, we will happily show that person the woods! Thus far, everyone who has come to share this experience has left feeling well-rewarded.

don on back cliff

One of the famous sayings of Yankee farmers—along the lines of “Rain in May means a barn full of hay”—is that “A dry year will scare you, but a wet year will kill you.” Kill your farm enterprise, that is. We’re not going to be put out of business by the unprecedented rains of the first half of this summer, but the consequences have certainly been daunting. In a wet year, the growth of forage crops in pastures and meadows explodes…but grazing livestock trample much of that feed into the muddy ground, and haying machinery is unable to harvest wet crops on soggy ground. We now finally have a hay crop, but it’s so over-mature that the nutritional quality is much poorer than we’d like. Then, too, with the first cutting of hay delayed by over a month, various weeds that ordinarily get nipped in the bud have had their day. Of particular concern at Treleven is the proliferation of milkweed, which happens to be a perennial. Milkweed is great for Monarch butterflies—in fact, they require it in order to complete their life-cycle—but it’s not something you want to find in a bale of hay. Hopefully, a second and third mowing before the season is over will at least discourage the milkweed…and maybe next summer we’ll be back to a “normal” weather pattern.

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