Thursday, 24 May 2012

Floods and gurgles

There is a creek flowing by the border of our lot bringing any excess water from the farmers’ fields behind our place and carrying it away towards the sea. In the summertime the creek is often practically dry but a few times a year – in the spring when the snow is melting or any time when we have extremely heavy rainfall – it will flood over its bed forming a small wetland we call natura, our private little nature reserve.

In recent years, the floods have been quite heavy because we’ve had such a lot of snow and rain and also because the subsurface drainage of the nearby fields have been improved. This means that much of the soil around the roots of the trees and shrubs growing by the banks of the creek bed has been flushed away leaving them more vulnerable to the ordeals of winter: the heavy burden of snow and the storms like the one we had in December.

We do not have any actual forest at our place but we do have quite a number of trees. So each winter will cause some damage toppling or breaking down a few trees and bushes if not elsewhere at least by the creek. In the spring, the horrible truth about the wetland will be revealed and some human intervention will be required to redeem it from its natural state to something you and your neighbours bear to look at every day when passing by.

There is a short window when this clearing up can be carried out: when the flood has disappeared and the soil is dry enough to walk on but the undergrowth isn’t too high yet. This is just the time and the other day we spent a few hours by the banks of the creek equipped with a chain saw and a pair of Fiskars heavy-duty loppers.

My husband cut the trunks and the thicker branches with the chain saw and took the pieces to the woodshed to dry to be burned in the fireplaces next winter. I cut the medium-sized branches with the lopper to be utilized as firewood in our campfire to be. I once saw a Swedish gardening programme where they built a very nice campfire pit covered by natural stones. They even cut some stools out of logs arranging them around the pit. We are planning to implement that later this season.

Our nature reserve is once again somewhat presentable and the kingcups or marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) (rentukka) are free to continue blooming in the mud and the gurgles of the creek without any further disturbance.

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