The Second PlantinG

LIB Carpet Crew

The same spring we did the first planting for Burrowing Owl Billows, I met an incredible group of individuals at the music festival Lightning in a Bottle. We had all traveled to the festival alone but became a family of friends by the end. We named ourselves "LIB Carpet Crew" and I invited them to come for the second planting at Burrowing Owl Billows in the fall.

This was Bella, the plush-giraffe's, first festival. I brought her because I'd recently learned that the giraffe's status had changed on the IUCN global Red List of threatened species from "Least Concern" to β€œVulnerable”. Their population has declined more than 30% in just fifteen years (three giraffe generations). [source]

I hoped The Guardian Project would prevent the burrowing owls from following the same fate.

I also met Francesco, at Northern Nights music festival, who came from Italy with a degree in forestry. He helped maintain and prepare Burrowing Owl Billows for the fall planting.

Before the second planting, we collected cardboard from the dumpsters at Google, laid them down at Burrowing Owl Billows, and piled on woodchips in order to suppress the weeds.

The photo below is what the site looked like before we did this work. The flags mark where we put plants.

We created habitats for small rodents by laying down various pieces of wood.

We also fed them using this lock box.

Under the sheet of wood we put down we found evidence that the voles, the best resource for the burrowing owls, had been staying there, from the indentations and tracks in the soil.

Every year, the golf course near Burrowing Owl Billows in Shoreline Park allows the city to capture 300 ground squirrels from the course to relocate to where they can help the burrowing owls.

They poison the rest.

When it came time for the second planting, I invited "LIB Carpet Crew" to stay with me for the weekend. It was like a good ol' fashioned slumber party, but with purpose!

I took them on a tour to see the Google campus, where we posed with the androids, ate at Charlie's Cafe, saw the t-rex, walked through the gardens used to grow food for the Googlers, and rode the conference bike to and from Burrowing Owl Billows!

For the first planting, we bought our plants locally at Summerwinds Nursery, for the second, I decided to try wholesale plants from Capitol Wholesale Nursery.

Even though the plants were cheaper, upon receiving them we discovered some to be very unhealthy and others looked as if they'd just been divided into two separate containers. We went back to ordering from Summerwinds Nursery at the next planting.

At the morning of the second planting, we rented a 2-man auger from Home Depot to drill holes for placing the 120 plants we'd purchased.

As breakfast and a break, I made vegan "Cold Sesame Noodle Bundles" from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.

Cold Sesame Noodle Bundles

  • 12 ounces dry udon noodles (I used fresh noodles from Ranch 99)

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup warm water

  • 2 teaspoons sriracha

  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 16 large romaine leaves

  • Black sesame seeds

  • 16 whole scallions

First, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions.

While that's going on, prepare the dressing. Put the garlic and ginger in a blender and pulse to chop them up a bit. Add the sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari, warm water, sriracha, peanut butter, and brown sugar and puree until it's completely smooth. Add a little extra warm water if needed to thin.

When the noodles are ready, drain them and run them under cold water to cool them completely. When the noodles are cool, transfer them to a large mixing bowl and toss them with the dressing to coat.

To assemble each bundle, place a bunch of noodles down the center of a romaine leaf, leaving a little bit of space at the top and bottom. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Tie each leaf crosswise with a whole scallion to form a bundle. Serve!

Being from music festivals, of course everything we did we made fun and look good. πŸ˜‚

We even planted the plants artistically, in the shape of a slithering snake.

Afterwards, we went to a restaurant that serves both vegan and non-vegan options. Who picked what? But, more importantly, why? πŸ€”

To conclude our sleepover, we played telephone pictionary.

The Game Telephone Pictionary

You'll need:

  • 4 - infinite players

  • (# of players x # players) sheets of paper

  • drawing/painting supplies

  • a timer

First, prepare your sheets of paper. When I play, I usually cut up standard printer paper that's 8.5" x 11" into 4ths to save paper.

Next, give each player a stack of the same number of papers.

Now, set a timer (for 60 seconds - 2 minutes or longer, depending on how much time you want to play) and all the players write down a word or phrase that another player will have to draw.

Once the timer goes off, all players pass their stacks to the left.

Set the timer again and now all the players must draw what the last player wrote on the next sheet of paper.

Pass again to the left when the timer goes off. Make sure all players place the last sheet they looked at at the back of their stacks.

Set the timer again and now the players write their guess of what the drawing is on the next sheet of paper.

Continue setting the timer, passing, and drawing/writing on the papers until there are no more blank papers in the stacks.

Finally, each player will take turns flipping each paper over in their stack to tell the story of its evolution to the rest of the group.

After the second planting, we continued to return to Burrowing Owl Billows to lay down more cardboard and more wood chips to suppress the weeds.

My favorite plant became the rosy buckwheat, because of its fluffy, bright tufts of fuchsia as flowers. Unfortunately, sometimes when you're trying to pull a weed out, you also get the plant you're trying to save!

Rohan, who had the volleyball we played with at Wobble Bauble, stood out as a star returning-player by helping maintain Burrowing Owl Billows, even after the second planting.

In Sanskrit, Rohan means "ascending."

I wouldn't have been able to do this without my mom's support. Her literal, physical, support. She's where I get my knack to be "hands on" when it comes to problem-solving.

The next festival season, at Lightning in a Bottle 2018, Bella was kidnapped from in front of my tent. She'd been kidnapped before, and later found and returned, but this time was different. We took to social media, but no one had seen her. We presumed her dead.

She then reincarnated in Colorado the following year.