Archive for July 13th, 2006

Green Cottage

The Green Cottage in all its majesty.

For something like seventy years, the cottage was wrapped in green tarpaper, and even though it’s now clad in stained siding, the old name survives, a palimpsest and souvenir, and perhaps a badge. There’s no plate for the upper story; instead, the two-by-fours, which really are two by four, extend from the bottom plate at the level of the first floor floor to the roof, even on the end walls. Nice long straight trees made the donation!

The trees were probably pines, and would have come from the sandlands nearby (don’t know the technical term). Much of the terrain in these parts is sandy, and similar to the tropics in that the bulk of the organic matter is in the plants and not the soil. The Botanist has a program to increase the soil quality in the field, by not removing the grasses that grow there, although at least one fellow came by hoping to glean the hay. The B says the field’s already in better shape than it was several decades ago, when it was hayed every year.

There are also sizable areas across the eastern UP with darker soils that support hardwoods, especially groves of hard maples. When they are large enough to canopy over, very little light gets to the forest floor, so it has a few wildflowers and small non-woody plants, but often no real undergrowth, which means you can see across the shady landscape for quite a distance.

Along the margins of bogs and swamps (pardon me if they’re the same!), the vegetation can be thick thick thick. And the flying insects are also thick thick thick, in the summer anyway, so it’s not the best place to try bushwhacking: prepare to accumulate pine sap on your hands and mud below the knees, and lose track of which way is north!