Rehabilitating the rabbit patch

Ken piles debris onto the brush pile. We hope the rabbits like it.

If I myself had to do the work of tidying up the grounds around Acorn Abbey, it probably never would get done. Ken has been plugging away at this work for a month now. The area most in need of cleanup is a band of thicket on the lower side of the abbey, between the house and the woods. This area had all its pine trees removed in the spring of 2008. The stumps are still there. The soil has not been disturbed. All the limbs and debris were still on the ground. It was a rather unsightly area, difficult to walk through because of the briars and debris. But it’s potentially a beautiful area, and it’s excellent rabbit habitat.

Ken and I negotiated on what would go and what would stay. Ken has a soft spot for the young pine trees, for example, whereas I wanted the pine trees gone to leave space and sunlight for the young hardwoods that are eager to get a start. The pines, we finally agreed, would go. Ken also removed all the briars and vines that were choking some of the young trees. He left the blackberry bushes. All the debris he put into brush piles, which we think will make excellent refuges for rabbits.

Part of the process, also, was identifying and marking the young persimmon trees — fruit bearers. There were three. Ken cleared especially carefully around the persimmon trees to give them room to grow, and to make room for collecting the fruit in the fall.

All of this is winter work. The plan is to get it all done before all the spring gardening and yard work have to be done.

One of the nice discoveries was that there are several small stands of mountain laurel — one of the symbols of the Appalachian range. We’ll mulch around the laurel to encourage it to grow. The area is moist. There also is some fern and moss.

All in all, it’s an ecologically interesting and diverse area. The plan is to let the area return to its default state: hardwood woodland. The woods at present are about 75 feet below the abbey. When this area returns to woodland, the woods will come right up to the edge of the abbey’s yard, 25 and 30 feet below the house.

All the signs of the fact that the abbey was a construction project two years ago are rapidly disappearing. The established, timeless look that I want is beginning to emerge. It’s going to be a beautiful spring.

The red tape marks a persimmon tree.

Mountain laurel

The grassy slope to the left is the edge of the abbey’s lower yard.


A bird’s nest from last year

This will soon be green.

One thought on “Rehabilitating the rabbit patch”

  1. How exciting for you to see the changes you envisioned many years ago. I had been watching a TV docu when humans no longer exist on earth. Basically a story how nature would reclaim its rightful place on earth, repairing the earth back to before modern man started his/her movement of covering it all with buildings and road. I know there is a give an take, but my ancestors and mankind took too much, without considering balance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *