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