Friday, November 18, 2011

Litter Mob 14 - the results

Tuesday the 15th in the Midwood of Prospect Park and it was delightful to walk through the deep carpet of heavy leaf fall. It had the smoothing, soothing effect that new snow does, making the world appear without blemish.

We found condoms, as usual, some on top of the newly fallen leaves, some beneath. But fewer than before. There were enoki mushrooms (second row down, above: edible Flammulina velutipes - identified later at home after a spore print), oyster mushrooms in places we would not contemplate collecting them, loads and loads of bottles on The Slope near the sex log, drug baggies and more all-purpose litter. Also a blue woollen glove, a trashbagful of wet wipes (thanks, Franck) and osage oranges (Maclura pomifera).

Jessica had charge of us and taught us the useful trick of distinguishing between a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and a Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Two of us spent an hour uprooting the invasive Norway saplings, using weed wrenches, which clamp the base of the sapling before you lever it out. I lost count at 34. The others raked leaves bravely, a Sisyphean task* if I have ever seen one. I didn't quite see the point given the ones that would follow, but was told that leaves become wet, become slippery and that is Not Good. Especially when iced over, I suppose.

* Yeah. I just re-read that. Who am I kidding? Why isn't condom and trash collection Sisyphean? We know more will follow. I take some comfort in the fact that the leaves belong there, while our interruption of the litter cycle may have some effect. Maybe.

Elizabeth vs a stubborn sapling.

My weed wrench. I like weed wrenching.

Thanks to Franck, Frank, Fred, Elizabeth, Inge and Jessica.

6 bags of trash. 5 trillion leaves raked. Dozens of Norway saplings defeated.


webb said...

From way out here, it really does seem like you all are making noticeable progress. Yes the condoms do seem to spring from everywhere, but overall that piece of the park seems better.

Is it possible the the "activity" slows down a bit in the bitter cold/snow so that the woods get a small breather and some of you effort will have a chance to produce some change in the packed earth and destroyed undergrowth?? I hope so.

Terri said...

I can appreciate the fight with the saplings. My sister let some shrub take hold beside her deck. I am finally resigned to the fact I'll have to dig it up with a shovel. Nothing else has worked.

Marie said...

webb - Winter does slow down. For one thing, all the leaf cover is gone!

Terri - hm, I wonder what it is. Watch out for suckers and roots left in the soil.