More than a week late Clovelly finally has her calf and its a girl. This is important as the future of the breed is dependent on how many girls there are. Clovelly was bred last August by artificial insemination with semen from a bull collected and sold by the American Milking Devon Association.
Another trip to Red Hill in Hyner, Pennsylvania produced more outstanding 361 million year old fossils. This trip we thought we were collecting more head plates and it ended up we extracted a foot long cleithrum of the lobe finned Hyneria lindae that must have been about 10 feet long. Hyneria was the top predator in this river ecosystem. Here is Ian is extracting the cleithrum from a ledge we cut into the rock. In addition to the cleithrum we also collected many scales and uncovered a massive jaw which will be be retained by the museum. The site is overseen by the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science.
The garden beds are being laid out on the contours this year to try and capture the rain runoff. We also trench each bed so we can bury logs and sticks at the bottom. As the wood decomposes, it releases nutrients but it also absorbs water which is then available for the plant roots. Well that is the theory. Of course we use lots of compost in there too.
One of the driving principles of permaculture is the capture and storage of runoff. Slow, Spread and Sink. By building beds level on contours, water is not allowed to just run down the path of least resistance ending up pooling where there is already too much or just running down the street. Holding the water behind swales allows it to spread across the garden and sink into the ground. These garden beds use the principles of Hugelkultur developed by Sepp Holzer in Austria. We trench the beds and take waste sticks and logs and bury them at the bottom with lots of compost from the cattle, pigs and chicken. As the woody material slowly decomposes it not only provides nutrients to the plants above but also stores water. The beds will be planted not only with food plants but also with herbs that extract and hold mineral nutrients like comfrey and herbs that attract beneficial insects. By balancing the pest and predatory insects damage can be kept to a minimum.