Crow’s Nest: Patterns on the land, or, how dry is it?

May 27, 2023

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Aerial view of dry turf with outline of a building foundation in dormant grass

Photo: Daniel Barringer

We’re experiencing an extremely dry month of May. Plant growth is slowing and turf is beginning to go summer dormant early.

Looking down at the lawn across from our barn you can see the outline of a building that is no longer there. There isn’t much soil covering the foundation so this grass is the first to go dormant when there is a drought. Usually, though, that doesn’t happen until we have a dry August.

The occasional sighting of these past uses of the land is a reminder of the farming that was done here. We know from early photos there was a stone building in this area at one time, with a shed behind it that appears to be the right size and location. (The larger building footprint doesn’t show up in droughts.) Nearby was a corn crib and garages. There were once two silos, now there is just one. There was a milk house made of concrete along the driveway, as well as a hog house (foundation still found along Piersol Road a little further north). A large chicken house, now gone, once stood near the springhouse which is still present.