Field Of . . . ?

P91228KThis . . . was a ball field. It might eventually be one again. The old backstop at the upper left corner of the picture is almost completely obscured under a thicket of blackberry brambles and a fallen boxelder. It would need to be replaced. So would the decommissioned irrigation system, all the bases, the basepath, the turf . . . and everything else that goes into a functional ball field.

The turf had naturalized and overwhelmed the basepath long before last year. I collected wild mustard, radish and turnip greens from around the perimeter last spring and summer. By the time they were finishing, the blackberries were ready. I got stinging nettle from the bank of Zayante Creek in the background of this picture. Dock is already regenerating off to the far right.

There are naturalized wildflowers here too. I got pictures of perennial pea, purpletop vervain, Saint John’s wort, four o’clock, calla, narcissus, teasel, common thistle and California poppy, all within the perimeter of this ball field. Native trees include Douglas fir, California bay, California buckeye, bigleaf maple, white alder, cottonwood, coast live oak, canyon live oak and redwood.

The ball field looks like the moon now only because a construction company used it as a parking lot for trucks and machinery. We dumped excess soil removed from landscapes on the infield, where it was evenly dispersed by the machinery before it left. A low mound of road debris remains just past the foul line in the background. Firewood gets stocked out of view to the far left.

Restoring this meadow to a ball field would be like starting from scratch. The only salvageable asset is the flat space. Even though turf would be the most substantial feature of a finished ball field, a restoration project will involve more engineering and construction than horticulture.

Crop Circles

P90616These are perfect conditions for crop circles. Even without any convenient grain crops, there is plenty of tall grass in unmanaged and ungrazed fields. All this grass needs is to be crafted into crop circles.
The first crop circles that I ever witnessed were made by cows. I was not much more than six, and my younger brother who found them was not much more than five. No one bothered to explain to us that cows were related to cattle who grazed nearby. Consequently, we had no concept of what cows were.
Earlier in the day, we had discovered what was described to us as a ‘cow pie’. Naturally, we were skeptical. It looked just like what cattle leave behind, which was not good. I was not about to try it, so got my younger brother to taste it. Apparently, it tasted about as bad as it looked. It seemed quite suspicious that a cow would made such an unappealing pie, and then just leave it out on the ground like that.
When we found the first of a few crop circles, our older sister and her friend told us that it and those we found afterward were made by the same cow or cows who made the unappetizing pie. Apparently, cows like to lay down in long grass. Although we did not know what a cow looked like, we ascertained from the sizes and shapes of the crop circles that the cows who made them were quite large and somewhat circular.
Furthermore, since we did not see any trails leading to or from the crop circles, we deduced that the the cows who made them flew in from above. We were very intelligent kids.
Of course, since then, I found that baby deer make small crop circles; but because they have such long and lanky legs, they do not leave such obvious trails leading to and from such crop circles either. There is no need to fly in from above.
Rhody made a very small crop circle, and because he is so lean, did not leave much of a trail coming or going. He is not tall enough to step over the grass, but is narrow enough to get through it without disturbing it much.P90616+

Anti-Community Garden

P71217Isn’t this a delightful meadow? It is located right across from the historic Felton Covered Bridge ( The trail to the left goes up the embankment into the parking lot of the old County Bank Building, right downtown. On a warm day, it is a nice cool short cut to the Felton Covered Bridge Park, just over the San Lorenzo River.

You should have seen it a few years ago. It was not such a nicely inviting meadow, but was instead an excellent collection of small garden plots within a fenced Community Garden that deer could not get into. There were about nine small olive trees behind the fenced area. The stumps in the foreground and to the left were two small curly willows. People living in apartments or where the shade of the surrounding mountains and redwood forests prevented gardening could rent parcels here to grow vegetables, flowers or herbs. It really was nice.

Then it was destroyed.

Everyone who rented plots there was evicted. Surrounding oaks, box elders, willows and other vegetation were eradicated. Fortunately, the olive trees were relocated. The whole area was graded by bulldozer; and the Community Garden was gone. Now, the vacant meadow grows only a thicket of thistles that needs to get mown down every summer.

P71217++Apparently, someone thought that there might possibly be the remote chance of the potential for homeless people to maybe engage in activities that could perhaps be determined to be bad, right behind the Community Garden. If you look closely, you might be able to see them back there. Maybe not. (More accurate information can be found at the Facebook page of Felton League at .)

Well, after making this observation, the expert on the sociology of the homeless, and self-proclaimed representative of the thousands of others in Felton, convinced the owners of the property to fix the problem. You see, only by singling out and targeting a particular segment of our Community can we put Unity back into CommUnity. Demolishing a Community Garden certainly helps too. It took a lot of hassling, and a lot of lies, but it was finally done. This is what we have to show for it, as proof that killing a Community Garden helps with homelessness.P71217+.JPG