American Sycamore – Fortress of the Stream Bank

One of eastern North America’s greatest native trees is the American Sycamore, Platanus occidentals.  Perhaps the most endearing feature of this legendary tree is its bark, especially in winter when the white bark, mottled with green and brown is fully exposed. These trees often exceed a hundred feet in height and stand guard along streams like […]

Swoope Almanac: October 2013: Quail Release on the Farm

  “Just because the problem seems unsolvable doesn’t give us the right to give up”.   I can’t remember who wrote that but it sticks in my mind.  And just like the people trying to find that one blight resistant American Chestnut tree, Bobwhite Quail lovers keep hoping that maybe someday one mating pair from […]

Quail Survive at Cobble Hill Farm Because of Habitat

Cobble Hill Farm in Staunton Virginia released pen raised Northern Bobwhites in December of 2012.   I interviewed Jim Pile, the farm’s manager on October 1st 2013 for this article and I could hear Quail giving their “Hoy-ee” call.  Click on the hot link above to go a website with the call. “We didn’t have Quail […]

Swoope Almanac October 2012

For the first time in my life we harvested figs… which means we either got lucky or the planet is warming.  We sliced them in half and ate them fresh with a dab of creamy blue cheese while sipping a full bodied, peppery Cabernet Sauvignon.   Pair that with a burnt orange sunset over the Allegheny […]

Riparian Plant Feature – False Indigo Bush

False Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa This native, leguminous shrub is one of the best riparian plants for creating wildlife habitat and improving water quality.  It is fast growing and deer don’t like to eat it, so if you want success in your shrub or wildlife plantings this is a winner.  We planted two year old […]

Prescribed Fire Suppression of Succession

A “backfire” is a slow burn This is a prescribed fire manager’s drean.  See the smoke moving off to the right?  The fire is actually burning to the left, into the wind and into the only fuel left to burn.  The flames are low because we prepared the site by mowing the fuel (native grasses/prairie) […]

A Phenological Event: The Spring Surge of Swoope and the Arrival of Tree Swallows

Phenology is the study of the timing of biological events.  February 24th was Spring Surge Day in Swoope.  That’s the first day of the year I notice the Earth is really on the move.  It’s not necessarily the day the first daffodil blooms or the first warm day of spring.  It’s a day when the […]