In the year that we have been doing forest restoration work in Seattle’s Greenbelt, we have found many interesting types of trash. During one of the work parties last week, a participant brought a much dirtier version of this bottle to me.
I thought it might be a decanter. I only had a vague idea of what a decanter was, but that was the word that came to my mind. I looked on the internet for photos of decanters from various decades, but didn’t see any that looked like this one.
When I showed the bottle to a neighbor later in the week, he pointed out that the top part didn’t belong to the bottom part. He thought the top was a cologne bottle, pointing out that it had a screw-on plastic top.
I felt embarrassed. I had noticed that the orange part was plastic when I cleaned the bottles but hadn’t thought about the implication of that fact. I wonder if the two parts were together when the work party participant found it. I believe they were, but I have no way to know for sure. Without the top, the bottle looks like this:
(By the way, the cork has decomposed enough that it is hollow.)
Here is a closeup of the top part of the bottle:
It is probably just a wine bottle but I’ve never seen one shaped like this. Have you? Do any of you have any idea how old it is? It could be current or it could be as far back as the 50’s.
Below are photos of some of the other trash we’ve found in the Greenbelt. We have also found more than 50 golf balls and three golf clubs! (Click on the gallery to enlarge the photos.)
You can learn more about this project by going to Greenbelt Restoration Project Update.
Every year at this time, Nimo Patel shares his Empty Hands Music video Grateful. This year he included this message with it:
Grateful for the many blessings that are always surrounding us. When our cup of gratitude overflows, we are inspired to want to give more to others: thanks + giving. May we all continue to be grateful and giving, and have a blessed and safe holiday season!
In that spirit, I am passing his message and video on to you.
On Saturday, November 11, we held another large restoration work party. Two GreenFriends members (Theresa and me), my new roommate (Jamie), and a Forest Steward that normally works on a different site (Susan) led work teams. My neighbor John who has attended almost every work party we’ve offered, and has worked endless hours on his own, did the amazing work he does every time. Blackberry root balls have no chance when they meet his pick ax.
After an initial orientation, twenty-nine awesome students from a University of Washington’s Introduction to Environmental Science class picked the teams they wanted to join and the work began. Our main task for the day was to get our eight designated planting areas ready for the DocuSign corporate group that is coming on November 15. That group will be planting more than 300 shrubs and ground covers. “Getting the areas ready” entailed digging out any remaining root balls and removing the burlap bags that had been laid down when the area was originally cleared. The burlap helps decrease weed growth and prevents erosion. In one area, the bags were covered by a heavy layer of branches and blackberry debris so that had to be removed before we could pick up the burlap.
Normally by now, the burlap bags would have decomposed but since there was almost no rain this summer, most of the bags were still whole. In places there were three layers of burlap, which would make it impossible to dig holes for the plants. With the burlap gone, it will be easy for the DocuSign group to plant the shrubs and ground covers. Once the plants are in the ground, they will replace the burlap and then cover it with wood chips.
While three of the teams did the work described above, the fourth carried 500 cubic feet of new burlap from the street to our restoration site and placed it in two stacks on the property. Once they finished that job, they started distributing the pots of shrubs and ground covers to the appropriate planting areas.
Normally the weather during our work parties turns out to be better than the forecast, but this day was an exception. It rained on and off throughout the work party, more on than off. Taking a 15-minute snack break in the pouring rain was not at all inviting. We decided to carry everything out of the Greenbelt and stand under the deck of my house.
It was during the break that I realized I hadn’t taken a single photo. Taking a group photo under the deck seemed like a good place to start! I think the photo at the top of this post and the one below reflect this work party well; everyone was both wet and happy.
I also took photos that showed the work we had already done that day. In the first gallery you can see what it looked like to start with an area that was covered with burlap covered by branches. (That particular photo was taken in August right after the area was cleared.) The second photo shows many of the branches that were removed on November 11th and the third is the pile of burlap that was picked up. I was astounded when I saw how neat this team’s pile was. It is going to make it so much easier to use than the chaotic stacks we usually create. I will to do their way in the future. The fourth photo is what the land looks like now… i.e. ready for planting! (Click on any gallery to enlarge the photos.)
This is one of the piles of new burlap that students carried in from the street.
The students found some carpet and a fold out bed in one of the planting areas. Work party participants have attempted to dig these items out in the past, but this team was able to do it! When I tried to push/pull the bed, it didn’t move at all. I hope Seattle Parks Department will send a crew to remove them from the site. They regularly carry out trash piles for us, but these items are very heavy and are located at the top of a hill; one where there is no easy way to get the garbage down, especially without damaging newly planted trees.
After the break, some students continued distributing the plants to the areas where they will be planted. Before long most of the potted shrubs and ground covers were gone from the holding area.
Other work party participants resumed clearing the land of branches, blackberry vines and blackberry root balls.
Almost everyone spent the last 45 minutes of the work party participating in a bucket brigade, moving wood chips from the street, down the stairs and into piles on the site.
Afterwards, we celebrated all that we had accomplished, cleaned the tools, brushed the mud out of our shoes and went on our individual ways. What an incredible three-hour work party it had been.
On October 22, our GreenFriends group planted 37 trees in our Greenbelt Restoration site (Tree Planting Day). That was a major development in this project, and another one is coming soon. On November 15, a corporate group from DocuSign will be planting more than 330 shrubs and ground covers for us. We’ve been busy preparing for that day.
Our fall plant order was submitted to the Seattle Parks Department in early May. The plants would be delivered the end of October or early November. Prior to then we needed to decide where to plant each of the plants. I identified eight planting sites and marked them with green and white or yellow and black tape. Then Ananya and I created a planting plan.
In June, I had taken a plant identification course. During the course, the instructor mentioned that when the plants were delivered, they would not be marked. I panicked. How would I be able to identify 360 plants when I only knew a few of them? To make matters worse, by that time we received them many would be in their winter state and might not even have leaves. I calmed myself down by reminding myself that we had been required to order everything in groups of 10 so I only had 26 different plants to identify. I didn’t know how I would do that either, but it definitely seemed more doable than 360. I also knew I could ask for help if I needed it.
As the date drew closer, I made a label for each plant, writing the name of the plant and how big it will get on each of the sticks.
It was possible that our plants wouldn’t be delivered until the second week in November. Since our planting day was scheduled for November 15, I was nervous about how I would do all that needed to be done to identify and mark the plants before that date. I was ecstatic when I looked out my window late in October and saw a Seattle Parks Department truck in front of my house. The plants had arrived!
As I had been forewarned, the plants were unmarked. To further complicate things, they were carried into the Greenbelt by hand and/or in a wheelbarrow. Some remained in their groupings but many were placed on the ground randomly. When the delivery crew left, I started to sort them. I discovered that I was able to identify quite a few of the plants. When I knew what the plant was, I placed the appropriate stick in the pot.
I doubted some of my identifications. Jayanand, a friend who lives on the Olympic Peninsula, came to mind. I knew Jayanand had worked for 18 years as a botanist and ecologist for the National Park Service. I sent photos of the plants I was concerned about to him. He was able to correct some of my mistakes as well as identify some that I hadn’t been able to figure out. With his help, it wasn’t long before all of the plants were labeled.
Today (November 11) we had a big work party to finish preparing the land for the November 15 planting. It was a wonderful work party, one that I will tell you about in my next post!
During the month of November, The Seeker’s Dungeon is publishing posts by guest authors on the topic of Rage Against the Machine. The articles have been so interesting and varied. Today’s contribution is titled Earth Grief. I resonate with everything she said and was struck by how articulately, passionately and from her heart she said it.
I hope you will take a minute and read Rage Against the Machine Day 11: Earth Grief by Sherry Marr.
While you are there consider taking a look at some of the other posts. I have appreciated every one of them.
On Green Seattle Day, Green Seattle Partnership sponsors three hour work parties in parklands all over Seattle. This year Sarva and I agreed to help lead a team at Mountain View, a park that is a few miles south of our Greenbelt restoration site. Susan Zeman, a forest steward who often helps at our work parties, coordinated the Mountain View work party as well as one at View Point park which is located across the street from Mountain View. Susan had gathered enough forest stewards that Sarva and I were able to plant trees as well as being leads. Visala, Haley and Bob, who like Sarva and me are part of Amma’s GreenFriends group, also participated in this event.
This experience was particularly meaningful to me because ten years ago this park was completely covered with blackberries and ivy. Today it is a beautiful, healthy forest. It was inspiring for me to witness a living example what reforestation work can do. Someday our Greenbelt restoration site will look like this one.
Below are several photos from the Mountain View work party.
Here are some photos I found on the Green Seattle Partnership Facebook page. They are from other Green Seattle Day work parties.
On the same Facebook page, I found a synopsis of the work that was done that day. What a testament it is to what can be accomplished when we come together in support of Mother Nature.
A few days later, I returned to Mountain View park. I loved walking through the leaves and gazing at all of the trees we had planted. I felt renewed and excited to continue the restoration work at our Cheasty Greenbelt site.
On Friday, I spent time working in our Greenbelt restoration site. As I turned to go back home, I heard a loud sound. It took a moment for me to figure out what it was. When I looked ahead of me, I saw a woodpecker pecking at a dead tree. It was unlike any woodpecker I’ve ever seen. One of the remarkable things about it was that it looked huge.
I used the burst setting on my phone camera and was able to capture a shot of it in the action of pecking.
I wish I had thought to take a video so you could hear the loud sound it made when it was pecking.
Later, I learned that it was a Pileated woodpecker. which is similar in size to a crow. One of their most notable features is their bright red crest. The males have a red streak on their cheek, so the one I saw must have been a female.
These birds are often found around dead trees, foraging for carpenter ants. They are known for the triangle shape holes they create in trees, holes that become habitat to “swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”
Pileated woodpeckers apparently have bright white underwings. I hope that someday I have the opportunity to see one in flight!