Saturday, September 25, 2004

Notes from Friday, September 17th

After a late morning start, we headed out to the site from Cucamonga around 1:00pm. The Jeep was weighed down with over 10 multi-gallon water containers and five cases of DriWater. We made good time getting to the site, arriving at 2:30pm. The temperature, while not cool, was bearable, but the winds were quite bothersome. After almost one year of working on the site, the harsh wind has become a common occurrence.

Upon arrival, we both made a quick inventory of the MOISTURE property, and we soon realized the following: Only the very fit survive the summers here.

On the good news: The Creosote is doing great. The wire cages are protecting larger animals from eating the foliage, and apparently the ground squirrel and kangaroo rats don't find their roots tasty. Two of the 6 Cercidium Floridum will continue to thrive as long as our burrowing friends don’t discover them.

On the down side: The other four trees, still alive four weeks ago, have succumbed to the hungry animals. Only one, of the three, Acacia Greggii has survived the last four weeks. The Cages of the other two trees were knocked down, obviously by highwinds, and the trees were eaten to the root ball. Not one of the Prosopis pubescence has survived the summer.

Of the shrubs, the Bacharis seems to be doing well, seeing how we only lost one plant. Most all the shrubs, which were doing well in Garden #2, have become food for the animals. Numerous shrubs have been carefully 'removed' by unseen critters. There are about 3 remaining Ephedra shrubs in a very unstable state, and even though the grasses at the bottom level were chewed to the roots, there are signs of life in budding new growth. We will wait to see what happens in this garden.

All of the Atriplex around Garden #3 have been eaten down to, approximately, 2 inches from their roots, yet most seem to be alive. All the Yucca Whipplii are still thriving.

We’ve decided that the task of looking after all seven gardens, considering the animal destruction, is almost overwhelming. This coming winter, we will only tend to those gardens with a substantial amount of planted material that has survived the year. We will replace some plant material but to what extent we have not decided. We will construct heartier subsurface cages for the roots of any trees we may choose to plant. We both have discussed ways to provide for the food needs of local animal life at our site, but we must do this while ‘our’ plants are taking hold. Please check this BLOG for decisions on rebuilding, maintaining, and providing for the existing ecosystem already in place.

---Deena and Claude

Additional Notes on the GardenLAb Experiment:

We have currently taken MOISTURE activities inside the GardenLAb Experiment at Art Center’s Wind Tunnel space in Pasadena, CA. Two seed propagation units have been constructed and the following seeds are coming to life under carefully monitored conditions.

The two units are equipped with grow lights and Habba misters. Watering is done daily.

The seeds were planted on the 11th of September and here is how they are doing now:

Acacia smallii (doing best at this time)
Acacia greggii ( has a good number of little sprouts)
Celtis reticulatat (no sign of germination)
Chilopsis linearis (no sign of germination)
Cercidium floridum (3 seedlings, 1dead seedling)
Prosopis velutina (no sign of germination)

The plan is to export the above trees to the MOISTURE site when are big enough to go. Stay tuned for details.

--DC & CW 9/25/04

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