Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rachel Cunningham showing us part of the nursery.

I went out to Hedgerow Farms near Winters for a tour. I like hedgerows, like I like streetcars. I like public space where people of different classes can interact in non-pressure situations. Everyone's on pretty much the same level in a European streetcar. At least that was the case some years ago. I think automobile culture has been very damaging to the development of a civic sense. Autos separate you from others & I don't think that's healthy.

Anyway for me hedgerows are the rural equivalent of streetcars. They provide habitat & transportation corridors for all sorts of critters, and they benefit sustainable agriculture in lots of ways. I like that they are diverse & semi-wild but also part of the made environment. Like streetcars, they encourage diversity & are, to me, acceptable compromises.

As usual, my romantic imagination wasn't bolstered by any real practical knowledge, so when I found out that Hedgerow Farms did tours, I figured I'd go. The paradigm here in California is a little different than, say in England, which is the country I always associate with hedgerows. Here it's more about grasses & reeds & not as much about building vine structures. I had a good time though. Saw a deer & a bunch of huge rabbits.

Rachel pointing out details of the riparian environment. These green strips of reeds & grasses have all been planted - technically these are hedgerows.

Ponds are important in farming, as places where toxins can leech out of the water supply, as habitat for ducks & frogs etc. Lots of reasons.

Old beaver damage becomes a nice sculptural accent to a riparian hedgerow full of wild rye, mugwort & willows.

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