Brush Walls at Windhorse Farm

Yesterday I went on a tour of Windhorse Farm, a sustainable farming and forestry operation located up the LaHave River from Bridgewater.

Brush wall at Windhorse Farm
Brush wall and fence at Windhorse Farm

I was most curious to see their brush walls. When I first heard about Windhorse’s brush walls last winter, a light went on in my head. Here was the answer to several of my problems, including the strong north wind chilling the garden, and large amounts of brush available.

Windhorse’s brush walls are piles held in place by stakes 6 feet apart, making a thick wall. As the brush gradually breaks down, more is piled on top. Vines such as squashes and grapes are encouraged to climb over the brush, and in summer, the brush walls can be completely hidden by vegetation.

My picture also shows a higher brush fence that has been woven around taller stakes. In fact, it’s about 7-8  feet high, high enough to keep out deer.

The brush walls contribute greatly to the success of Windhorse’s garden. They enclose and shelter it, holding in heat. The decomposing brush adds to the fertility of the soil. And very importantly, the brush walls provide habitat for all sorts of wildlife, including the friendly critters that help control garden pests.

Click here for a description and a rather old low-res video about Windhorse’s brush walls.

I started building a brush wall last spring and will continue to develop it.

A foxy visitor

An unusual visitor

We get a lot of wildlife where we live, but this was our first sighting of a fox. It came down the road, crossed our front yard and disappeared into the woods. I was lucky to get a photo at all. My husband saw it later the same morning, going the other way.

Spring has surely sprung

Enjoying the tender green grass
Enjoying the tender green grass

Sunny weather is forecast for the next week, with no temperatures below freezing. Time to plant some lettuce.  Not for this bunny to eat, however (I hope).

Only a few weeks ago the rabbits I saw were quite white.  This little fellow has his summer coat on now.  He (or she?) looks quite delighted with the newly greening grass, or perhaps some delectible weed he has found. He was so busy, he didn’t notice me softly walking up the driveway.

Blue jay flies across the lawn
Blue jay flies across the lawn

How quickly comes spring, when it finally comes.  Perhaps even the word “spring” comes from the same root as the kind of spring found in a mattress.  All that life energy is compressed, cowering under winter’s weight, until winter rolls away off the bed and, suddenly released, Spring bursts forth to exuberantly express itself …  Boing … like a rabbit’s hop when it realizes you’re there.