The Spring 2017 newsletter is chock-full of information, including three-months packed with upcoming programs. Click on the cover and read for yourself. See you on the trails, in the libraries, and in the parks.
Lots of things are happening along Road 7L as summer rolls in: Summer Family Day, art workshops, the 3rd Annual Quarry Farm Jam and, looking ahead to autumn, The Quarry Farm 5K. But don’t wait to run or walk that last one; there’s a virtual event starting June 17.
Click on the cover to the left, see what spring brought and mark your calendar to-do list for the months of high sunshine.
The Quarry Farm’s Spring 2016 intern has been working with us for seven solid weeks now. Last week, I suggested that she might like a nice t-shirt with honeysuckle leaves imprinted across the front. Her response was to fall forward on the ground and curl her dancer-like frame into a fetal position.
But Emma has made a break in the invasive’s hold on the forest of The Quarry Farm. She’s shed her long sleeves in favor of cool Ts as the temperatures rose from the 30s to today’s high 80s, so she no longer has to roll up her sleeves to pull bush honeysuckle seedlings. The exposed skin has made her more vulnerable to insects and an overprotective goose, but this Antioch College first-year has accepted the challenge.
Along the way, she’s taken a few photos. You’ll already know that, though, if you’ve been following along. Here is the latest album.
Last week’s rain really brought out the frogs and fungi. It also made for lovely photos, with many fauna raindrop- and puddle-jumping from path to flora.
Then the sun came out. It was like a shade was raised, drawing life toward the light.
And winter undercoat from Lucy.
It’s raining again today and the clouds, wet and call-for-thunderstorms are not due to clear until Friday, just in time for a visit from the third grade students from Pandora-Gilboa Elementary School. Emma is sure to take photos in between activities. We hope she shares the frames.
Can you find the cricket frog above? There’s a free Quarry Farm t-shirt in it for the person who comments here at http://www.thequarryfarm.org with what kind of cricket frog it is.
While Intern Emma has pulled invasive bush honeysuckle this week, she has also been snapping photos. Shuffle through the mosaic below to see at what she has documented in her first two weeks here.
(FYI: that’s a number sign in the title, not a hashtag, although you may see some of this on Twitter. More to come, I have no doubt.)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent a fair amount of time kicking around the wilder areas of The Quarry Farm, traipsing about under an increasingly dense canopy of hardwoods and skirting the edges of the quarry where what appears to be solid ground is, more often than not, more akin to thick, black soup. At this time of the year, the one common element of every off-the-map habitat, whether it’s in the woods back by the Cut-Off or wading through Cranberry Run, are the mosquitoes. They rise in humming clouds so dense that the beating of their wings creates a perceptible breeze. Even so, the very habitats that give rise to this scourge also foster a teeming number of solutions. There are dozens of species of dragonfly and damselfly patrolling the property. During the day, acrobatic swallows and other small songbirds cut the air, while at night, bats chitter a welcome swath of destruction under the stars.
And then there are the frogs.
Globally, frogs and other amphibians have suffered dramatic population declines over the past three decades. Even here, on the quarry, we’ve seen specific species numbers, like the American bullfrog, dwindle. Where there were once multiple waves of small bullfrogs racing into the duckweed-covered water of the quarry, now there is a fraction of that number, their individual voices discernible as evening progresses into night. Even so, they are here, though in limited numbers, as are Northern leopard frogs, the Northern green frog, the Northern spring peeper and the gray treefrog. And one more…Blanchard’s cricket frog. Its presence is cause for celebration.
Twenty years ago, Blanchard’s cricket frog was so common that it was frequently referred to as “ubiquitous” in reports detailing amphibian populations in North America. Now, the species is considered endangered in Wisconsin, of special concern in Minnesota and Indiana, protected in Michigan and extinct in Canada. Universally, throughout its range, Blanchard’s cricket frog is suffering. Although it fares better in Ohio, even here, radical population declines have been reported. Thankfully, on the quarry, their numbers are not only persisting, but arguably growing. While part of the nighttime chorus for at least the past ten years, the voices of the indigenous population of cricket frogs are becoming dominant.
So, in celebration of this little frog (it’s less than an inch-and-a-half in length) and its very big impact on the mosquito population, it’s time to play Spot the Frog. It’s a simple enough game with just one basic goal. So, without further ado…
SPOT the FROG
For those who aren’t already aware, we didn’t come by The Quarry Farm name through sheer chance. It wasn’t a challenge presented by an odd acquaintance – “Hey, you know the letter Q’s not used all that much…Think you can come up with a ‘Q’ name?”
The Quarry Farm is what the Seitz clan all called this particular branch of their dairy operation, this specific geographical spot. It was here that the family grazed cattle and Jersey calves, ponies Cookie and Babe, and cultivated hay. And, because they’re not all completely arbitrary in their actions, they had a compelling reason for calling The Quarry Farm “The Quarry Farm.”
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a string of quarrying operations throughout the area and along Riley Creek and Cranberry Run. Flagstone and limestone, plentiful in this part of the state, were the primary objectives. One such operation was located here and, though several small springs forced its closure, here it remains.
While at one time well known for sizable fish, the quarry underwent yet another change when, in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, local governments opted to dredge and straighten Cranberry Run in an effort to abate flooding in Putnam and Allen Counties. The spit of land separating the two bodies of water eroded to the point where the stream steadily deposited silt into the quarry until, nearly three-quarters of a century later, the quarry bears more resemblance to a wetland than to a pond or lake.
As such, it’s home to a host of animals. There are dragonflies and damselflies in abundance. Water fowl feed and nest here and there is a treasure trove of amphibians, including a thriving community of Blanchard’s cricket frogs. Recently, we’ve discovered salamanders in the area and, this past spring, spotted what we suspect was a river otter in the one area of the quarry that still retains some degree of depth, though it’s failed to make a more recent appearance.
Here it is then, the quarry from which The Quarry Farm earned its name. And, while photos are fine, such as they are, the experience is more satisfying first-hand. So give us a call. We’ll be happy to show you around.