Place for Land

We must understand and improve our relationship with the land. Land provides the ideal vacation spot and wildlife habitat, and the beauty that inspires dreams. Each of us depends on plants that root into the soils, particularly where prairies and wetlands historically occurred, areas that now produce the deep black soils and lush crops of the midwestern breadbasket states. Dark green to the east of the Missouri River, the grayish green color of sage, bunch grasses, and cacti in the western...

Place to Settle

What I remember most is falling in love with the place. Instantly. I recall the minute details as well the scent of moist hay, the hiss of the radiator as the engine of my mother's 1974 Toyota Celica cooled, the warm July sun against my skin, the feel of rich, fertile dirt under my feet, the rustle of wind through the rows of corn planted nearby. But mostly these particulars blended together into an exhilarating, unexpected sense of being deeply at home on this land I'd never before seen....

Exotic and Invasive Species

Besides the dangers presented by bulldozers and developers, there are other significant threats to the prairie. Various exotic plant species mount one of the most persistent assaults at Stone Prairie Farm. These invaders from around the world make me tense and angry, since they often present serious risks to the health of the local ecosystem. The alien species that thrive often dominate native plants and animals, depleting both soil stability and biological diversity, the very things I've...

Foreword

Of all the memberships we identify ourselves by (racial, ethnic, secular, national, class, age, religious, occupational) the one that is most forgotten, and that has the greatest potential for healing, is place. We must learn to know, love, and join our place even more than we love our own ideas. People who can agree that they share a commitment to the landscape cityscape even if they are otherwise locked in struggle with each other have one deep thing to share. Gary Snyder In the spirit of...

Globally Connected

Wilderness is fragile yet hearty, ever striving to reestablish itself. The persistent weeds springing up on the edges of cornfields are only a small indicator. As we cleared out some real space for wildlife on Stone Prairie Farm, much more exciting shifts began to occur. Before restoration began, we occasionally found the tracks of coyotes, Norway rats, and rabbits, but most of the tracks we saw were those of white-footed mice and meadow voles. Within a few years there were also tracks from...

Gone

Susan and I have had many great successes in the restoration of the farm. Nonetheless we have reason to fear for the future of this land, and to look skeptically at methods of assuring its sanctity over the long term. Despite the best of intentions, the devastation of fragile ecosystems can happen swiftly, often without warning or resolution. In late spring of 2004 I was on the road helping Trust for Public Lands evaluate a potential greenway plan for Camden, New Jersey. While I'm away, which...

HttpebodkA89ueom secnd chance

Birds, and waterfowl pass by, including flocks of red-winged blackbirds flying low over the prairie to their northern breeding destinations. Prairie life starts each spring as a silent flush of new green sprigs emerging from the charred soil left from prairie burns. Within a few months, the vegetation miraculously exceeds the height of a tall horse. Corn plantings also start small and grow to impressive heights, but they allow no room for other plants. The only other life in the cornfields is...

Lively Seasons on the Restored Stone Prairie Farm

Most years spring is temperamental and unpredictable in southern Wisconsin. It peeks through and teases with a few days of unseasonably warm weather in late February. I watch with the hope that an early spring will come, but the weather usually transitions slowly, fading from an engulfing white blanket of snow to a murky drizzling gray, out of which burst pelting sleet and snow squalls. When it seems as though winter won't release its grip, the mornings start to bring scattered clouds with gaps...

Playing with Fire

I hadn't been living on the land long before I began to realize that this ecological recovery project wasn't only about how the land healed. It was also about me my desires and my fantasies. And the process brought me face to face with the demons of ambition, impatience, and uncertainty. In large part this is because the land changes slowly. The story of Stone Prairie Farm has occurred over a period of nearly thirty years. I saw small, incremental shifts during that time, such as the spread of...

Qh105w6a74 2008

Ancient Landforms and Modern Inhabitants 13 chapter 3 Jump-Starting Land Restoration 28 chapter 4 Formative Ideas and Understandings 42 chapter 5 The Past Revisits and the Future Begins 61 chapter 6 Taming the Old House 82 chapter 7 Planting the Seeds of Restoration 96 chapter 8 The Doctor Is In Symptoms of Ecological Health 108 chapter 10 Getting to Know Your Neighbors 135 chapter 13 Exotic and Invasive Species 169 chapter 16 A Healthy Earth Ethic 211 conclusion Land Community Membership 219...

The Doctor Is In Symptoms of Ecological Health

In restoration, as in life, there are continual confrontations. Expectations meet resistance and goals slip backward. The pessimist points at these obstacles and says, See what I have to put up with The optimist says, So what I'll find a way around this setback The restorer empathizes with the land, identifies with its struggle, and heads straight into the breach, cutting through the weeds and sidestepping the erosion in an attempt to find an acceptable ecological balance that is measurable...

Httpebook89ucomsECND chance

Is it ethical to use the latest and best management practices in farming if the erosion of soil continues, or streams still become spoiled We must develop a new land ethic, a way to understand our collective impact on global ecosystem health and to make decisions about our actions in light of this impact. Ethical means what is morally right, not what has been successfully lobbied, legislated, and regulated. This is a critical period in evolutionary history. Our...

Info

This book is printed on acid-free paper that meets the uncoated paper ANSI NISO specifications for permanence as revised in 1992. Text design by Yvonne Tsang at Wilsted & Taylor Publishing Services Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Apfelbaum, Steven I. Nature's second chance restoring the ecology of Stone Prairie Farm by Steven I. Apfelbaum. p. cm. ISBN-13 978-0-8070-8582-0 (hardcover alk. paper) 1. Restoration ecology Wisconsin Anecdotes. 2. Prairie 3. Stone Prairie Farm...

Planting the Seeds of Restoration

Hanging above our porch bed, suspended from a rope and swaying in the breeze, are paper bags with native prairie plant seeds. After work or on weekends Susan and I tour on bicycles or drive the back roads through the countryside looking for interesting prairie plants on uncultivated lands. We seek plants native to the area whose seeds we can harvest for future planting on the farm or AES projects. Each year we've wandered farther afield. Often enough we knock on farmers' doors and ask for...

Taming the Old House

There are big gray mushrooms sprouting in the shower, Steve, Noah said. It's disgusting. It was true. There was fungus growing between the poorly sealed plastic wall and the underlying framing. We love living on the farm, Steve. It's peaceful and beautiful. But it's a bit too . . . rustic, added Susan, as gently as she could. But the point was made, and I knew that it would be wise to acquiesce. I tried to pick my battles carefully, and I was in uncertain territory with this debate. I thought I...