All posts by Brian Edmond

New Management Database

I recently created a new database to track management activities at Pearl Creek Farm. Primarily, I was interested in having a single place I could check for a) when and where I collected seeds to sow at the farm, b) what year I established various restorations, c) what year I planted trees. Since I had decent records for a lot of other activities, I went long and put in everything I could think of that might be of interest at some point in the future. Obviously, there are tons of things I’ve done (particularly with controlling invasives) that I wish I had better records of, but those will just have to remain lost in the distant past.

The web page that displays the database can be accessed from the menu above. It’s called simply “Management“.

Native Restoration History

Spring Native Plant Landscape

This restoration was from seed and this is its seventh growing season. The random, unkempt look is intentional. Except for removing invasives, I don’t try to control where the plants grow. I’m happy to let them do the thing they’ve been doing for millenia and just enjoy them and the fauna they attract.

This area is about 6/10 acre in front of my house. It started as a typical rural lawn with tall fescue, Bermuda grass, Kentucky bluegrass, and other non-native cool-season “lawn” grasses. It also had a lot of winter annuals like chickweed, henbit, dead nettle, etc. It was mowed by the previous owner but not doted over and cared for like a lawn in the suburbs.

Continue reading Native Restoration History

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush

This Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) has been blooming for more than a week. I thought it was a little early for it. Sure enough, there are probably a dozen more that we found today that are in varying stages of blooming. It’s going to be be our best year yet for them in the restored prairie!

Buzzard’s Roost, Pike County, Missouri

This post is not about Pearl Creek Farm, but about another great place in Missouri: Buzzard’s Roost in Pike County. This area, scarcely a half¬†mile from the¬†place where I was born and raised, is unique in its own right, but is also fairly unusual for areas outside of the Ozarks. Included are two significant cave openings, at least two permanent springs, several minor cave openings, and a sheer, north-facing bluff that harbors at least two rare plant species, considered glacial relicts, for Missouri. The area also harbors some interesting habitats for northern Missouri and has some history and lore associated with it.

Much of this area is for sale in a 70-acre tract from a landowner who logged part of it and kept it as a hunting playground. The karst and sensitive habitats are protected by a lengthy hike from the main road. I’d like to see this property in the hands of a government agency, land foundation, or a conservation-minded buyer that understands its value beyond the abundant game species present.

Read on to see more photographs of the area, some characteristic flora and fauna (including two rare plant species), or head straight to the real estate information!

Buzzard's Roost Cave opening
Buzzard’s Roost Cave opening

Continue reading Buzzard’s Roost, Pike County, Missouri

New Native Planting

After nearly three years of planning and preparation, I sowed about 1/3 of an acre today with native seeds. Preparation included multiple passes with herbicide, including spot sprayings over more than two years. This year, I spent a great deal of time collecting native seeds from the surrounding counties. Today, right after our snow accumulation, Julian and I sowed them into two new areas (see map). This leaves a small “domestic” area between the workshop and the shed where we’ll have a garden, a fire pit, and continue to keep mowed and semi-manicured.

Julian and buckets full of native seeds
Julian poses in front of three buckets of native seeds and duff collected this year.

Satellite photo with native planting marked
The areas in yellow were sowed with native seeds today. The area in red is now the only “domestic” (read: mowed) area at Pearl Creek Farm (besides trails).

 

Sinkholes Dot the Landscape

Sinkholes are numerous on the karst landscape of the Ozarks, but are often overlooked. After a large rainfall event, sinkholes throughout the area temporarily fill up with water and become ponds. During most events, falling rain percolates through the karst system in these various sinkholes quickly enough that water doesn’t accumulate above the surface. With at least 7″ of rain over 48 hours, there are plenty of sinkholes that cannot drain quickly enough. All of these photos are between Pearl Creek Farm and Cotner’s Corner (US 160 and MO 123 junction).

MO 123 Sinkhole Pond
This sinkhole is bisected by MO 123 just north of the road to Cave Springs. The water here just sits until the underground drainage can catch up from all the rain.

Continue reading Sinkholes Dot the Landscape