Turkeys and whitetails and bears, oh my!
We originally bought a fifty-five acre parcel as recreational land and an investment. Only gradually did we realize how the abundance of wildlife captivated us and inspired us to find a way of living with these creatures in peaceful coexistence. Most of our property has been farmed for close to two hundred years already, though the steep ridges and the mountain meadow you see in the pictures here are really not suitable for traditional cultivation. Primarily this is because there is no water source at this height, and cattle would have to tread daily up and down the steep slopes to drink. So we decided to convert this seven-acre upland meadow into wildlife habitat and hold it in reserve as an emergency pasture in the event of a severe drought. Federal programs like Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) helped me to create edges, which are transitional boundaries between open and forested land areas, and hedgerows. These provide important cover for fawning deer, nesting turkeys, and hopefully someday the bobwhite quail. Our efforts have been quite fruitful, as these pictures illustrate.