A year ago,
permaculturist Mark Shepard
came to Turtle Rock Farm
and taught us about forestry ag:
building a food forest
on the prairie.
He helped us lay out swales and berms and pocket ponds
on the slope below the “hill”
where we have mowed our labyrinth.
The swales and berms follow the contour,
with the pocket ponds on the ends.
Rain water collects temporarily
in the ponds and then flows into the swales,
where trees would be planted.
With rain predicted the week after the swale-building,
we spread a mixture of prairie grasses on the berms
and were relieved and grateful
that the rain did materialize.
In January,
an Oklahoma City Boy Scout troop
helped us plant drought-resistant varieties
of trees and shrubs.
This spring,
we have barely had any rain. Immeasurable amounts.
Yet, the Yellow Clover is abloom
on the berms
and the swales are green.
Many of the tree starts are growing.

The summer forecast
is that the drought and heat
pattern of the last several summers
will remain.
So Ann and Frank are placing five-gallon buckets
in the swales
and watering the trees and shrubs,
to help them get established
in the dryness.
After the trees are more mature,
the expectation is that this will not be necessary
and the prairie will be producing
increased habitat and food
for bees, animals, humans.
These times call
for creative solutions.
We hope our efforts at this experiment
add to the knowledge.