Blazing Trails and Planting Paw Paws with Nature Based
Here in Brooklyn, Fred Wolfe of Nature Based is a trailblazer in his work to bring food-producing gardens to urban schools. But up in Greene County, he is really blazing trails. Like, literally. He showed up at our place Memorial Day weekend with a machete, some landscape fabric, and a dream. He was all ready to work as a bushwhacker and make new trails through the woods on our property and across our wild country meadow.
As our regular readers know, we bought a few acres of land adjacent to my grandfather’s property in the Catskills, and we’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the new land. “Farmer Fred,” as our kids call him at school, suggested that we grow a “wildscaped food forest” and we decided to roll with his idea. He’s helping us add some native plants and install trails to help us enjoy the wild, open space.
After a hard day’s work, there was enough of a trail that the kids could run down and get a better look at the bullfrogs in the pond. They were especially thrilled when Farmer Fred caught a snake.
We’ve been studying the flora and fauna on the new land, and with the help of a plant identification group on Facebook, I learned that the large, thorny bushes popping up all over the place are Elaeagnus umbellata (Autum Olive). They seem to be very invasive (and not native to the Catskills), but I loved the sweet-spicy fragrance of the flowers, and I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to see and taste the little red olive-like fruits that will ripen in the fall.
Farmer Fred also planted some twiggy little pawpaw trees, native plants which he says will bear delicious fruit in, oh, 8 years or so. We’ll wait.
It’s pretty nice to be in a place where you don’t have much to do besides watch the sunset and patiently wait for the paw paw trees to grow.