Saturday, February 12, 2011

Busy Saturday

This morning I went to a service day at the Manila Dunes, hosted by Friends of the Dunes. Our task today was to remove invasive yellow lupine from the dunes. A huge group of volunteers came out to help, so we accomplished what the coordinator had expected, and a lot more! The lupines have a strong taproot that is difficult to pull out, even in loose sand.
The dreaded lupine! There is a species that is native, but this one, which flowers yellow, is invasive.

The smallest bushes could be pulled, but the big ones had to be chopped down with a brush axe. I brought home a few of the ones that had been pulled because they have huge nodules on their roots and I want to show them to my students as part of our nitrogen lessons. Hiking up and down the dunes definitely made my legs sore, but it felt so good to be out in the fresh air doing something! It's still kind of amazing to me that the weather is nice enough that I was at the beach in February. I'd never dare to step in the water, but it was warm and sunny enough to play in the sand!

Facing west over the dunes.
After the beach I went to the Humboldt Poultry Fanciers show at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. I expected it to be a little dinky--maybe 50 chickens in cages--but it was actually pretty impressive! Along with the anticipated chickens, there were ducks, geese, turkey, and pigeons! Normally I find ducks to be kind of gross and stinky, but there were some little ones that looked like they'd be so much more manageable. They were East Indie and Call ducks, the photo below is a white call duck. The East Indies were a beautiful black with a green sheen, but they didn't photograph well.

And there were so many beautiful chickens! I'm definitely a fan of the smaller breeds. If I was to start a flock, I'd go with Seabright, Old English, and Nankin. Some other ones that might be interesting are Norwegian Jaerhon, Buttercup, and Hamburg.



Old English, crele coloring

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