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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Building Bridges

No matter how dry or cold it's been, Kincaide Creek continues to flow, which means we need a way to get across it and, if we want to get to the other side with a vehicle but without using the public road, we need a bridge.

We salvaged these timbers from the old boxcar house a friend tore down. We cut them to rough 20' lengths before dragging them home, and then spent a couple of hours over the weekend removing the bulk of the old nails and hardware that might get in the way of their reuse.

Now that the metal is gone, we have a much better idea as to the condition of our future bridge beams, and can start to work up a plan for construction. It would be nice to get two bridges worth of beams out of what we have, but the condition of some of the beams is questionable. I'm not about to dump thhe tractor in the creek, though, so rest assured, the resultant design will be conservative.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Animal Crossing Ahead, and Behind and Over and Under

We share this land with innumerable other creatures, large and small, most of which are seldom or never seen. This little fellow appeared on the BBQ deck one recent cold day, to snack on the cracked corn discarded by birds at the feeder hanging above. Derith says it's a pygmy possum but maybe it's just a youngster of the ordinary kind. New snow has fallen since, preserving the tracks of mammals and birds. The pheasant spoor are fairly obvious but I can't generally identify the birds this way. More evident are raccoon, coyote, deer, rabbit, mice, squirrel, and even a bobcat.

Kincaid Creek basically bisects the farm but is no impediment to the animals. Their crossings are not random but occur along a network of trails. The larger beasts step down the banks and across, but the smaller ones use fallen trees and branches as bridges. I find this so interesting: the bark and moss on these are worn away on top due to foot traffic, sometimes so much as to flatten the surface – a regular roadway. Last week, for the first time, I followed the creek within its banks from top to bottom, to document these crossings. As the water level has risen and fallen, and the weather warmed and cooled, distinct layers of ice have formed that are not cohered and which have layers of airspace between them. My alternating lumbering and sliding steps often broke the upper layers with crackles, shots, and booms, but I never got my boots wet. (As always, the photographs are better viewed when you click to enlarge, and you can follow the creek on the map linked at the top of the page.)