I am grateful for an opportunity to spend time at IslandWood, an environmental learning center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. I’m especially thankful for the generousity of many people who volunteer and contribute, sustaining the wonderful programs offered here, where young people can experience cultural and environmental lessons firsthand. Today is a great day because I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with my husband, Paul, and our eldest son, Spence. We began work on a special fence at the edge of the IslandWood vegetable garden.
We installed five prefabricated steel wire arbors; anchoring them deeply in the ground, and connecting them to each other. We added rebar rails and posts along the walk-way side so I can return later to weave a fairly solid section of wattle and woven splint fencing. The garden educators are planning to expand the garden up to the fence. The fence we are building will give trellis support for flowering vines to climb up and over, and each of the five alcoves will provide spaces for plantings that target specific Pacific Northwest pollinators. The fence will also provide some privacy for the IslandWood Host who resides in the building adjacent to the garden patch.
I’m choosing to use natural materials to weave into the fence that I know will wear out in five to ten years. Like the wattle fences built since ancient times all over the world, the materials will decompose, but the knowledge of how to weave them and the story of the ancient roots of this sustainable technology, will need to be passed on when the fence needs reweaving in the future. I’m selecting Black Bamboo, Western red cedar limbs, and cedar splints that Spencer and Paul have milled from reclaimed fence-posts. On this winter day, we are happy getting the framework set up so I can come back and weave on another day.
Thank you Jen, Megan, and Karen, for all your help today! And thanks to my great install parnters!