by Ruth Ann Grissom
May 31, 2017
Digging a hole is one of my favorite garden tasks. I’ve refined my technique over the years, using a stance that protects my temperamental back. The work is satisfying on many levels. I appreciate an upper-body workout that doesn’t require a trip to the gym, and the earthy smell of topsoil enriched by decomposing leaves can be intoxicating. When the soil is just right – moist but not soggy – the clay yields to the shovel and clods break into a uniform crumble. When the weather is pleasant, I can dig for hours on end.
During the cool, wet spell we enjoyed in early May, I couldn’t resist the urge to plant a few new shrubs and relocate a few others. I needed maybe half a dozen holes. As I moved methodically from spot to spot, I noticed I was being followed by a robin. Since his head was slightly darker than his back, I figured it was a male. He appeared fearless, getting within a couple feet of me. Nearby, a spotty juvenile lurked around the base of some existing shrubs, fluttering its wings and emitting plaintive chirps. I felt as though I’d transcended my species. I fancied myself at one with nature, recalling statues of St. Francis with birds perched on his shoulders and in outstretched hands. [Read more…]
Early in the morning, you’ll find Mary Cridlebaugh diligently tending her colorful flowers in the garden behind her house. You might find her brother Michael nearby setting sweet potato slips near beautiful broccoli and kohlrabi, cauliflower and cabbages. Mary takes the produce and handcut flowers to the Thomasville Farmers Market on Saturdays. This deep seeded love of the land inspired their dream of conserving their Davidson County Farm.
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has had the great pleasure of working with Mary and Michael to ensure the conservation of their 164-acre farm in Davidson County became a reality. This beautiful pastoral property is a combination of rolling agricultural fields and mature hardwood forest and is located along Rich Fork and Payne Creeks. [Read more…]
by Crystal Cockman
Approximately 30 people came out for the fifth annual Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend, put on by The LandTrust for Central NC. This event takes place on our Low Water Bridge Preserve, 1300 acres on the Uwharrie River, in Montgomery County. Ornithologist John Gerwin joins us for this great event every year, and we go slowly and identify birds by sight and sound along the way.
This year we saw and heard a variety of neotropical migratory birds. We were able to see the Louisiana waterthrush, black and white warbler, northern parula, Acadian flycatcher, red-eyed vireo, and spotted sandpiper.
There were actually a pair of spotted sandpipers and they put on a show on the opposite side of the river on the riverbank from us. They walk with a distinctive teeter, bobbing their tails up and down constantly. In breeding season they have dark spots on their white breast (these go away after breeding season), and a bright orange bill. Their habitat is nearly anywhere near water – rivers, ponds, lakes, beaches. They are a shorebird, but are not only found at the coast, they are inland as well. A female may lay eggs of more than one male partner in a breeding season, as she leaves the nest and the male takes care of the young. [Read more…]