Friday, May 09, 2008

Humbaba, cherubim, chainlink

until about 150 years ago, the steppes of the Wasatch Plateau were tall grasslands. so tall that they supposedly "would completely hide the sheep and in some places cows were difficult to see." that’s about when the area caught the interest of sheep ranchers. since then, a lot of this grassland has been replaced by sage, pinion and juniper (or “cedar” in local vernacular).
these pinion-juniper forests are what I’m used to seeing around here. so when I was out in Kane Valley this week I was a little surprised to see heaps of newly chainsawed junipers covering several square miles along the base of the plateau. I asked some forest service friends about this who said it was a part of an effort to restore some of the original grasses and habitat.

I’ve also heard that most of Britain’s Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and peat bogs used to be pretty densely forested. but, this being a blog of especially tenuous reliability, I don’t have any primary sources for you. you’re on your own. all the same, whenever we bring in someone new, someone else always gets evicted.

in our case this year it was a monoculture of lawngrass. we’ve got the vegetables basically all planted now at our new place. our old garden plot on the other side of town was about twice as big and, in tilling it over, we used to turn up all kinds of great junk: horseshoes, golf balls, a truck bumper, yards and yards of baling twine. nothing so remarkable here, mostly the usuals: candy wrappers, bottle-glass, old nails, a small paleolithic wheel?!
except that in digging a pit for compost, I disturbed the rest of this armless porcelain cherub, severing his little ankle with the blade of my shovel.

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