Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fertile Soil = Community Garden

Fertile Soil = Community Garden

Hurricane Creek 08/29/12

While out walking the creek yesterday, the darkness of sunset caught me off guard and 1/2 mile away from Watson's Bend where I had parked. Dusk is a bad time to be walking the creek banks because as the light fades things can hide among the shadows which can be potentially dangerous. Snakes, and other reptiles such as the Common Snapping Turtle can render a painful bite if stepped on or cornered in any way.

I approached very cautiously when Smokey Joe started barking uncontrollably at a large greenish object lying in the tall grass on a point bar. I called Smokey Joe back to keep him safe and slowly walked up to the menacing shape... 

You silly dog, that is a Watermelon!

Smokey had spotted, and treed, a full grown and perfectly ripe watermelon!

After I calmed down a bit, I tried to think of how it may have gotten there. It was Kenny Robinson's doing!

Last year we hosted an Americorps Volunteer work day and Kenny surprised us all with an iced cold watermelon for lunch. All of us ate and spit watermelon seeds all over the camp grounds. I have seen vines in and around the work area but they were trampled and torn up by the ongoing work. Not this one! This one was on the beach and had been under water at least 4 times this summer. Even high water couldn't kill it!
It is the perfect Labor Day feast given to us by the creek we all love. In order to keep any other unsuspecting hikers from being startled, I quickly dispatched the menacing melon with my trusty Buck Knife! 
I now have it in cold storage for the Labor Day weekend coming up. It takes up 1/2 of the bottom shelf in the frig.

All of this has brought up an idea I had last Summer. Why not create a community garden here on the creek bank for people to come and till a garden for food? It will obviously grow stuff. A few select people could begin a garden like this for personal food supply and give away all excess to local food kitchens in the area who feed those in need. After the tornado of Apr. 267th, 2011, we lost 100% of the tree canopy along the creek. The soil is now prime for a food garden since we have been adding wood chip mulch from downed trees to the soil. 
UofA Outdoor Action Group, 2012
Now it is almost black and composted into some of the best soil I have ever seen.

I am a fair hand at gardening with several successful seasons canned, frozen or dried to eat all year long and sometimes even 2 years if the rains are good.
Perhaps over the winter a handful of volunteers could come out and set up a garden spot for next Spring planting and a Summer full of good organic food.



Monday, August 27, 2012

UofA Outdoor Action Group

University of Alabama

Outdoor Action Group

2012, Hurricane Creek

 For two years in a row Dr. Fran Oneal and Randy Mecredy have hosted the UofA Outdoor Action Group work day on Hurricane Creek in Holt Alabama. Your Hurricane Creekkeeper has been busy all year clearing and trying to get the place back in condition after the Apr. 27th, 2011 tornado that destroyed most of Holt and our camping grounds at Watson's Bend.

This year the group came in twice the numbers of last year and accomplished far more than I expected. We cleared 3 new fire breaks that will double as walking trails with overlooks placed in strategic locations for viewing features  like "The Watcher"

The Watcher 2011

Working in split crews, they managed to also completely side the wood shed and whitewash it and the sawmill shed. Created new trails to the creek and a small frame for a pavilion next to the "Story Tree" where parents will be able to sit and watch kids in the creek on a shaded bench with a 135 year old White Oak to be marked with historic events from the area. Hopefully it will help people understand the significance of these great specimens throughout history. 
I can't say enough good things about UofA Outdoor Action Group! 
All photos can be seen here