More Greenbelt Mysteries- this time of the Grrrrrr variety

Last week, I wrote a post about an intriguing mystery that happened after a recent Greenbelt work party. While I experienced a myriad of emotions at that time, it was primarily a positive experience.

There were several other mysteries in process at that time. They were different than the one I had written about in that I was very irritated by each of them.

Soon after I came home from India in mid-January, I found that someone had cut down a large tree somewhere and then dumped it in a part of the Greenbelt that we had cleared. I believed it was done by a “professional” company because all the debris had been sorted by size and much of it had been banded before it was dumped.

(Click on the gallery to enlarge the photos.)

A week later, I noticed that someone had pruned a cedar tree and dumped the branches in front of the first stack. The new debris was neither sorted nor banded, so I assumed that this illegal dump was done by a different person than the previous one.

Shortly before our January 21 work party, I noticed that all of our buckets were missing from the site. Most of them were 5 gallon buckets. Many were bright orange or bright blue. How in the world had someone taken 30 buckets without being noticed? And why? We had used the buckets to hold wood chips, trash, glass and weeds.

Some of the buckets in use at a previous work party

Seattle Parks Department removed most of the dump and replaced most of the buckets. The buckets are now chained to the job box that holds our tools. I also placed three Another Future Healthy Forest signs in hopes that it would prevent people from dumping in the reforestation space.

Instead of going out into the snow to take a new photo for this post, I decided to use one that was taken in February of 2017!

The roads were finally clear and dry yesterday so I drove for the first time since the snow began last Sunday. When I passed the area where I put the three signs, I noticed that one of them was gone.

Grrrr. I guess these are all opportunities to practice equanimity and “putting in the effort and letting go of the results”, but I’m not there.

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Mystery in the Greenbelt

The day after our January 21 work party, I was taking photos of our work and was shocked to see a shovel propped up against the foundation of an old house that is in the middle of the site. I was particularly surprised to see the shovel there because all of the team leaders had been standing close-by that area at the end of the work party. If the shovel was present at that time, one of us would certainly have seen it and put it in the job box where our tools are stored.

The fact that the team leader who had gone through the site looking for tools later hadn’t seen it either added to the mystery. Where did it come from? Who had put it there?

On January 23, I was shocked to see an un-potted plant sitting on the ledge not far from where the shovel had been. I hadn’t seen it the day before. Had it been sitting there when I found the shovel? I didn’t think so but I will never know.

I assumed someone had removed a plant from one of the planting areas. The mystery deepened when I couldn’t find any holes that had missing plants. Inside that foundation is the area we call The Rack Zone. Until the January 21 work party, it had contained drying racks for most of the invasive plants we had cut down or dug out since the project began. During the work party, some of the volunteers had taken apart the drying racks and spread the dried debris. We have planned to plant beautiful shrubs and ground covers in that area at some point in the future.

Had this shrub been in one of the racks that had been taken apart? That seemed unlikely, but I called the team leader who had been working on that project. He said, “NO” and that if he had seen it, he would have shown it to me.

It occurred to me that since there was no rational explanation for how the shovel and the plant got there, I should look for a non-rational explanation. The thought that came to my mind was that this was to be the first shrub to be planted in The Rack Zone.

I walked into The Rack Zone and looked for an area where the new “ground” looked higher than the rest of it. Once I found a suitable place, I pulled back the surface debris that hadn’t fully decomposed to see whether there was composted dirt under it. There was, and it was deep enough to plant the shrub. I made the hole bigger and then inserted the shrub. I also made sure that there were no inter-twined ivy vines that would strangle it as it grew.

I needed more dirt to fill in the hole. After thinking about it for a moment, I remembered that I had seen mole mounds nearby. I also remembered a friend once helping me re-frame how I saw the moles in my own yard. She told me that the moles were providing me with free aeration for my soil. I decided to use the dirt from mole mounds for completing the planting process.

Another memory resurfaced when I was thinking about moles. Soon after we started this Greenbelt project, the person who was co-leading the project with me at the time, was sitting on the ledge of the foundation. A mole came out of the ground and looked up at her. While the photo below comes from pixabay.com, seeing it reminds me of that incident.

That shrub is now securely planted in its new home. It remains to be seen whether or not it is alive. There are no buds on it that look alive, but the branches are not brittle. Even though many of the Greenbelt plants are budding, it is only January. Maybe this is a plant that buds later. If it is living, our first shrub has been planted in The Rack Zone!

Mystery, Adventure and Reward

Yesterday I took on  the challenge of removing bindweed (morning glory) and blackberry vines from a thimbleberry shrub.

The bindweed wraps itself around each stem, weighing it down and eventually killing it.

The thimbleberry leaves are beautiful. They have three to seven lobes and are soft and hairy.


I tried to unwind the bindweed from each thimbleberry stem carefully, but the leaves and stems are so fragile that I lost many of them  in the process of trying to free them.  The stems are now free from blackberry and bindweed vines but I’m going to have to get under the shrub and dig out the blackberry roots to keep it that way. We will probably have to deal with the bindweed every year.

It was fun to watch the stems straighten once they were relieved of the weight of the bindweed. The shrub still looks scraggly but it will fill in and return to the beauty it is meant to be.

The density of the bindweed made it hard to tell where the shrub began and ended. The area towards the back had a much thicker layer of bindweed.

As I started to cut it away, I realized that it wasn’t thumbleberry that was under it, it was a gigantic fern. With renewed energy, I started cutting away the bindweed. Before long, the fern was free!

I love doing this work. It is full of mystery and adventure and is so rewarding.

 

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Keeping My Eye on the Goal

When I was showing a friend around our Greenbelt restoration project on May 25, she saw a red flower in the distance. It was too far away, and too covered by invasive plants, to know what it was. We guessed it was a rhododendron flower. (Mystery in the Making).

At the time, I was in the midst of preparing for Amma’s programs so wasn’t able to make my way to the flower. Last Saturday, I decided to do whatever it took to get close. I gathered my tools and headed for the thicket. I took the photo above just before I began to cut my way through the dead branches, blackberry vines, laurel, ivy, and downed trees.

As I worked, I realized how much I missed the excitement of freeing the trees in the Greenbelt and discovering what was under the mass of invasive plants. Most of our recent work has been to dig out blackberry root balls from areas where blackberry vines have been cut down.

Every so often I looked up to see how close I was to the red flowers.

I progressed much faster than I expected. At one point, I realized that a branch I cut was not laurel, it was a rhododendron branch. Soon I saw more rhododendron branches.

There is a steep slope along the eastern border of the property. For liability reasons, the City of Seattle does not allow us to work on slopes that steep. I noticed that the rhododendron was on the last piece of flat land before the slope began. I continued on my way, getting ever closer to my goal.

Closer and closer.

And then I was there. I knew there was no way I was going to free the whole bush, at least not on that day, but I was able to touch one of the flowers. I wish the photo was clearer but I’m glad that I have it. I realized if I had waited much longer to solve this mystery, all of the petals would have fallen off.

I looked up and saw this sight.

I also enjoyed seeing the rest of the bush.

There were so many branches, going every direction. They reminded me of a pretzel.

When I looked through the thicket, I thought I saw more rhododendron bushes. I wonder what other discoveries await me. I look forward to the time when we focus on clearing that part of the Greenbelt. For now, though, I will go back to digging out blackberry root balls!

Mystery in the Making

On Thursday, when I was showing a friend the restoration work we are doing in the Greenbelt, she asked me about the red she was seeing through the trees. It was deep into an uncleared and presently unreachable part of the project and I had never seen it before. We walked as close to it as we could get, but still couldn’t identify it. Our guess was that it is a rhododendron bush. If so, it is a first on that property.

The next day, I walked back to that area to see if I could get closer. I could still barely see the blossoms. In taking an enlarged view, this is what I saw.

I walked a different direction to see if I could get a better view. From that vantage point, I could spot a bit of red, but it was very tiny. See if you can see it.

So much of the property has already been cleared of blackberry and ivy vines and other invasive plants. I am enjoying the thought of making new discoveries when we begin working on the remaining areas of “uncharted territory”!

A Fascinating Plant

I have been anticipating going to Kuzhitura Farms since I came to Amritapuri on November 26th. I decided today was the day for that adventure.

I was so excited to see the wonders of nature I found there. I was particularly fascinated by this plant.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation

Daily Prompt: Fortune
To see all of the posts in this Amritapuri series, click here.

Early Morning Mystery

When I looked out of my flat’s window in Amritapuri, India this morning, this was my view:

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Then I looked to the left and saw this:

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Three suns, one to the right and two to the left. That was a bit disconcerting until I realized when I looked to the left, I was seeing the reflection of the sun in two different windows.

I looked back to the right and this time I saw:

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What was going on?

I decided to go outside to see what it looked like. That way I would be away from all windows.

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But when I took a close up shot, I saw:

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So is that an orb to the right? It certainly isn’t due to a window. I’m done with guessing but I sure would be interested in knowing your theories. This was a fun way to begin my day!

 

To view the rest of the posts in this series click here.

A Mystery… at least to me!

We have lots of gophers in my neighborhood so I’m used to finding gopher holes in my yard. This year, when I came back from India in mid-January, I discovered that the gophers had been very active.  Soon thereafter, I noticed different kind of holes, ones that I wasn’t used to, scattered around the dirt portion of my driveway.

The ground is hard there but something was burrowing out from the earth. I couldn’t imagine what it would be. The holes were miniscule in comparison to a gopher hole but big enough to completely stump me.

Soon after I added top soil to one of my new garden beds, I noticed the holes begin to appear there as well.  I’ve never seen anything go in or out of these holes so I stayed mystified.

One day a tree service employee came to do some work in my yard. I asked him if he knew what created the holes. His immediate response was “Worms.” I wondered if he was kidding but he seemed totally serious.

WORMS?????? How could that be? I knew that my gardens contained a lot of worms, and some of the earthworms I’ve seen are very big, but I had never seen one of them on top of the earth. If his statement was true, I have to assume that there are a lot of worms coming out of the ground during the night.

Does that mean there are giant earthworms roaming the land at night? That question conjured up images worthy of a 1950’s science fiction movie.

So to those of you who know about such things, are these truly worm holes?

Power and Mystery

There is a block close to my house that I love to walk down.  It is lined by six huge trees that feel sacred to me.  I experience the sense of their power and mystery every time I walk under them. (Click on gallery to enlarge the photos.)

What Is Your Guess? (The answer to the mystery has been added.)

Tell me about the photo I used for this week’s Wordless Wednesday.  What do you think it is?

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On Friday I will put the answer here…..

 

Answer:  A few days ago I used half of a small jalapeno pepper from my garden.  It was dark green at the time.  A few days later, I noticed that the remainder of the pepper was turning red and there were tiny fruit flies on it.  I was surprised since it had never occurred to me that fruit flies would be attracted to something that was hot instead of sweet.  If you look closely at the original picture you will see that there are four fruit flies visible.  Two are dark, one is light and for the fourth only one wing is visible.