Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Carolers come to HOWL!

Several holiday carolers arrived at HOWL tonight and sang their hearts out in the sparkling snow. Who would think our little homestead at the end of a dead-end road would be on the circuit. But our steadfast neighbors from Kunsi Keya Tamakoce brought us some much needed holiday cheer...we sent them on their way with a clutch of Christmas cookies to sustain them through their next stops. Thanks, neighbors!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Road Repairs at HOWL

HOWL Grounds Coordinator, Vanessa, works with the town to correct drainage problems on the HOWL property and around the town road. Yogi, the Road Foreman, brought up his big excavator/backhoe and dump truck to clean out all the ditches. They dumped new gravel and re-graded the parking area.

HOWL is the last house on a town maintained, dead-end road. Spring 2011 storms combined with the destructive fury of Tropical Storm Irene last year caused major road damage. We hope to see radical improvement in the drainage around the parking area, walkway and house site.

Thanks, Vanessa!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

HOWL Land Day

Thanks to all the wonderful women who showed up for the HOWL Land Day. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sun and beautiful fall colors.

Most of the rest of the old tin roofing material was pulled out to be hauled away, gardens were cleaned up, the trail to Grandmother Tree was re-marked and the land was posted for the upcoming hunting season.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sue Morse Walks HOWL Land

Sue Morse, founder of Keeping Tracks and a recognized expert in natural history and wildlife tracking in New England, spent several hours with the HOWL Collective walking our land with us to help us identify core wild life habitat and to evaluate our on-going stewardship of the land.

Many important trees were identified such as Pin Cherry, Hawthorne, Apple, Service Berry, Quaking Aspen and many other shrubs and trees that wild life depend upon for food. We identified core habitat through recent evidence of coyote, bobcat, moose, white tail deer, black bear on the land.

The day after our walk, Vanessa observed a young black bear walking along the stream near the south meadow. Days earlier she spotted a red fox on the meadow near the pond. Nightly we observe white tail deer movement across the land. Porcupine, racoons, short tail weasels, bats and a plethora of small critters in the rodentia family as well as hawks, owls and other birds and critters have been observed and make their home with us here.

HOWL land abuts the Camel's Hump State Forest land and benefits from an abundance of wildlife associated with the huge tracts of undeveloped, conserved land. HOWL places a high value on the maintenance and stewardship of the 50 acres of fields and forest that we maintain as open women's land.

Sue discussed the importance of the sustainable activities of Stark Hollow Farm's stewardship of the land. Wildlife corridors are maintained open with no permanent fencing anywhere. Constant rotation of livestock and the use of highly visible temporary fencing which can be seen by deer and other wildlife ensure nature's critters can pass freely and safely through the land. The farm also maintains areas of rough meadow along field perimeters and works to open the crowns of important food trees.

It was a great visit and will support our enrollment in the State of Vermont's new conservation program.

Getting ready to head out...

Rough meadow along the field border...great habitat for fox, rabbit, grouse..

Vanessa leading the crew at the top of the south meadow...

Juniper shrub...produces small berry (cone) that feeds birds, loves the dry sunny top of the south meadow..

Sue Morse with HOWL Collective in south meadow...

Sue Morse and HOWL Collective...

Red eye vireo nest...

Hundreds of Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies adorned this patch of golden rod...

Quaking Aspen...provides an excellent protein source fruit for grouse and even black bears...

Buck rub...white tail bucks leave their scent on the trees...

Vanessa & Sue consult the map at the stone walled edge of a field...

Evidence of porcupine claw marks...

Sue speaking to the collective about food source trees in a field that has gone back to woodland in the last 20 years...

Black bear bite mark pattern demonstrated by Sue Morse on a rural electrification pole in the woods...

A lone eastern red cedar on the south meadow...definitely a keeper!

HOWL crews trekking through fields...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Girl Who (did not!) Kick the Hornet's Nest

Just before moving the sheep to a new paddock, Laura and Vanessa discovered a hornet's nest in the bushes. With detailed instructions from Annie, our resident beekeeper who is recovering from a double knee replacement, Laura braved the wrath of the hornets to remove their nest from the paddock.

Here are some of the instructions:

Think about every spot a bee could get in to sting you and cover that spot.
Always move slowly!
Don't panic!
Smoke them gently and then observe.
If they start pinging your face mask, back off slowly.
Remember: Be Zen, you are One with the Bee!

With bee gloves, hat and double layers of clothing, Laura, praying silently "you are one with the bee", gently smoked the yellow devils and then watched as they came out at first angrily but then increasingly disoriented as they tried to figure out what was happening. With a bucket and gently sniping the branch the nest was attached to, she was able to slowly move the nest away.

Laura in full gear, smoking herself!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Great Barn Caper!

Thanks Laura Smith, Gwen Pokalo, Cynthia Feltch, Elissa Rose, Mary Katherine Studley, Jill Fahy, Jacquie Dragon, Susan Krajac, Ann Ross, Vanessa Riva, Alexis Claire, Kathy Hunter, Crow Cohen for the incredible job you all did getting the HOWL barn cleaned out. We took about 30 rugs, 20 old mattresses, cushions and bedding. We pulled out countless boxes of junk and old wood, windows, doors, cast iron wood stoves, sinks, tents, skis, sleds, washing machines, and one rose colored commode....Amazing work! Thanks to all who brought the delicious food (Cindy, Amethyst Peaslee)...what great work! I love you cats and I know I speak for the whole HOWL Collective in saying that we appreciate your love and commitment to HOWL.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Honey Bees Arrive at HOWL

We are so excited to announce the latest agricultural venture in support of our mission and the covenants of our beautiful women's land: honey bees! Ann Ross, collective member and bee keeper, after a thorough mentoring period, is introducing honey bees to HOWL. Below is a view of the new hive with the HOWL memorial garden in the foreground and Stark Hollow Farm sheep and free range chickens. HOWL continues to develop its "incubator" programming allowing women to develop enterprises which support our mission. The bees arrived late last night and some heavy smoking calmed them down temporarily for Annie to move them into the hive boxes this morning. Annie is the new "Bee Charmer" at HOWL...way to go Annie! We love it.

Honey bees are critical part of the habitat and provide for the pollination of our wild, edible and garden plants as well as put local honey on the table for the health and well being of our residents and friends.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lambs, Lambs, Lambs!

Lambs are being born fast and furious on HOWL's resident farm, Stark Hollow Farm. Laura & Vanessa are busy 'round the clock, checking on ewes, assisting in deliveries, feeding a caring for all the new little critters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some Early Signs of Spring on the Land

Temperatures here in Vermont skyrocketed to an unprecedented 75-80 trend that is expected to hold for a week. Spring is coming in like a lion, while winter barely bleated like a lamb.

Pastures are turning green. Crocuses are up.

HOWL residents have begun annual clean up of the memorial garden. Stark Hollow Farm's resident chickens are extremely happy to be out of the pen free ranging and setting up their "cleaning" pits in the dirt. More to come...