Friday, February 27, 2015

Beavers and Their Dam Activity at the Farm!

Hello out there to our fellow winter weather warriors, we hope that everyone is keeping warm and safe! Curl up with a hot cup of something (tea perhaps?) and read about this exciting discovery here at the farm!

Flora was not the only thing we observed while we were hiking the proposed nature trail recently, there was also sign of fauna in the form of freshly sharpened tree stubs and shaved branches from a skilled whittler. It quickly became apparent that beavers are settling into the creek near the old dam that once powered the mill! We were very excited to discover these fascinating mammals starting to build their home and will be eager to watch the progress. Although beavers are thought to be nuisances by many, their alterations of a habitat is natural and creates diversity and ecosystem enrichment found nowhere else. 

And so it is, beavers are building a dam near the historic man-made dam. Irony? Coincidence? We'll leave it to the beavers!

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nature and History Collide!

Marble we found near the trail
This week at Mountain Hollow Farm we embraced our inner nature geek and talked trail building with one of the fine educators at Lincoln Memorial University, Dr. Katie Benson. We are very excited to start the process of establishing a nature trail at the farm. Once completed, it will follow the creek to the dam then climb the mountain a bit to an old logging road and loop back to the beginning. It will be a wonderful opportunity for visitors to see rare and beautiful flora that is exclusive to the farm’s ecosystem!

A very interesting gall
Some of the flora we observed (even in winter!) on our hike with Dr. Benson was Walking Fern, Liverwort, Running Cedar, and Climbing Fern. We also observed several galls - an abnormal plant growth caused by insects feeding or laying eggs on a plant - a neat phenomenon that most everyone has probably seen without knowing! But the trail’s most spectacular beauties emerge in the spring, the wildflowers! 

A unique aspect of the trail is that it used to be the mill race that ran from the dam to the old grist mill and sawmill that were once here at the farm. Visitors will be welcome to take photos as they walk along the scenic creek side and will also be able to take part in history as they stand on the trail that was once an operating mill. We are very happy and grateful to continue a partnership with Lincoln Memorial University and look forward to working with Dr. Benson and her students over the coming year to establish our trail system. Check out our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter to track our progress.
Liverwort
(The leaves look like reptile skin)
Climbing Fern (Lygodium palmatum)





Running Ground Cedar (Diphasiastrum digitatum)