Shane Brown is the caretaker at Big Oak Canyon, Earthroots 39-acre property in Silverado, California. Follow his adventures here!

Garden highlights

The orchard garden is expanding. The apples and nopales are ready and abundant! The Oaxacan green corn that I planted in April and May is tasseling, the peas that Forest Kindergarten planted are ripe for snacking, and the golden giant amaranth, sorghum, popping sorghum, garbanzo beans, squash, melon, and gourd plants are quickly growing. We did an experimental application of compost tea to the garden and fruit trees, brewed from Jodi’s home compost! (For more about compost tea, visit Dr. Elaine’s website)

Golden giant amaranth and garbanzo beans
Flowering squash
Flowering Oaxacan green corn
Compost tea brewing

I harvested and retted my little patch of fiber flax, to be made into linen with future classes! They didn’t grow as tall as I hoped, so next time I’ll try planting earlier and in better soil. To learn more about this process, check out this video.

Wildlands highlights

The Cooper’s hawk chicks that some of us witnessed in the nest in June have fledged and can now be regularly seen around the canyon calling to their parents and learning to hunt. Sticky monkeyflower and Heart-leaved penstemon can still be seen in bloom. Elderberries have started to turn blue, and tiny acorns are starting to grow! We found a smashed and dried carcass of a speckled rattlesnake during the Spanish immersion promo class! The creek is full of all sorts of animals including tadpoles and newt larvae.

Juvenile Cooper’s hawk in an ash tree
Male California tarantula out exploring in the evening
Humboldt’s lily near the creek
One of the biting flies out in the hot weather
Acorns just starting to grow

Craft Project – Straw Weaving

I have almost finished weaving a new hat from wild oat straw. Stay tuned for an instructional video.

Almost complete wild oat straw hat

Trivia Questions

What animal at Big Oak makes wide and flat burrows that go into the earth at a shallow angle?
What planet is right above Scorpio in the evening sky right now?
What wild plant with sweet, edible fruits and nuts will be ripening at Big Oak in the month of August?
How are rattlesnakes different from other snakes in the way they reproduce?

All of these questions will be answered in the next Big Oak Canyon highlight blog by our caretaker, Shane Brown.

Blog post was written by Shane Brown.
Shane is the caretaker of Earthroots’ Big Oak Canyon property. He also teaches the Spanish Immersion in Nature and Ancestral Arts programs. He occasionally helps with other Earthroots classes and leads volunteer days at Big Oak Canyon.

Categories: Shane's Corner