Margie [my neighbor across the street and also a member of the Garland Urban Agricultural Center and Community Garden planning committee] and I hiked around an area of the site today that is located in what I call the "panhandle" of the property. The mission was to find an old abandoned cistern that Margie thought was on the site in this area.
Turns out that Margie was right. The property does have an old abandoned cistern and it is not filled in with dirt--yea! It will be easier to restore. Still, there is a lot of repair needed to the brick and morter work of its interior. It will be Mark Farley who is in charge of researching sources for our water supply, and the team who join him to determine if the system is salvagable. I'm hoping that it will be. If so, we could run PVC pipe from the cistern down into the area where the gardens will be located. The cistern looks fairly large and deep--about six to eight feet in diameter.
A Gnome Home
Near the abandoned cistern (about 15 feet away) we saw a gnome home. Margie and I discussed at some length the possibility that the gnomes, second cousins to trolls, were responsible for the damage to the cistern. I knocked on the door, but no one was home. No doubt the gnomes were out making more mischief.
Lessons in Nature from Margie and Nature Today
We saw Beggars Lice.
During our walk, I noticed a lot of white things sticking to my legs. "Oh that's just beggar's lice." Margie informed me. At first I was horrified at the mention of lice, but it turns out that beggar's lice is the name for small sticky seeds from some plants that attach to clothing. I can see how they got their name as they are white (but much larger than lice).
I did a little more research on beggar lice when I got home (just to make sure Margie was right) and learned that it is a great forage crop, especially for deer. Desmodiums, better known as a large group of plants called “beggar’s lice,” “tick-trefoil,” or “stick-tights,” deliver comparable nutritional value as soybeans, are naturally-occurring nitrogen-fixing legumes available to deer at the same time as soybeans, and are among the most important native forage species for a variety of wildlife across eastern North America. [SOURCE]
Who knew? Certainly not I. Below is a photo I took of the beggar lice on my pants leg.
We saw maybe Virginia Creeper?
If you can identify this one, let me know.
We saw a mushroom.
I looked in my mushroom book when I got home but I was unable to identify it. Can you?
We saw lots of horse apples.
In fact Margie brought about 15 of them back home with her. Margie's home is not on a slab, thus she has crawl space underneath. Apparently cockroaches, other insects and even mice are reported to dislike the smell of horse apples. Thus people toss them in their crawl spaces as a pest deterrent.
Have I mentioned yet today how excited I am about being a co-creator for the Garland Urban Agricultural Center and Community Garden?
Well, I am. We still have room for 7 more people on the Planning Committee. At the moment we have a baker's dozen. If you are a Garland resident and would like to be on our team, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our second meeting is tomorrow night: Wednesday, October 30 at 6:30 at my home.
After we have the full 20 people, people will still have the opportunity to join one of the subcommittees headed up by members of the planning committee.