Happenings at Humes – From Gardens to the Garage

We were kept busy with mowing the phase two area of the meadow this year but unfortunately that was more due to controlling weed growth than keeping winter rye from going to seed, (as had been the case with phase one).  Last fall’s seeding of the phase two area was less productive than phase one’s. For this reason, the area will be overseeded shortly. We will follow with adding wildflowers generously provided through a Garden Club of America Partners for Plants grant secured by the North Country Garden Club of Long Island.

The phase one area of the meadow is thriving.  It benefited from the addition of bluebird boxes, which yielded chicks in the spring. Much of this activity was monitored by Barbara Garriel and Jan Guga. We were also graced with daily visits by Judy Rasin, whose photographs document the meadow’s use by butterflies and other pollinators throughout the 2021 growing season.

The fall was planting time for the native woodland demonstration area next to the nature play area. Designed and installed by Spadefoot Design and Construction, the project occupies a 4,000 sq. ft. area that not long ago was a dumping ground for Humes Estate weeds and rubbish.  Now a short path will enable visitors to explore a suite of native trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers typical of the understory of a local woodland.

This past summer, new Land Alliance Board Member Oliver Grace launched a $100 Thousand matching grant challenge for improvements at Land Alliance properties. Excitingly, the grant was quickly matched and seeded multiple projects in need of funding. With the Humes Preserve fitness area heavily trafficked, the Land Alliance felt the adjacent garage needed an overhaul to beautify the visitor experience and provide us with much needed storage for tools and equipment. We hired Tim Lyons of LMW Group to do the work and his generosity exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, no treasure was found during the demolition, only empty wine bottles in the rafters dating back to the 1960’s. The restoration included a new roof, updated electrical, new garage doors, paint, shelving and rotted wood replacement among other things. The refurbishment not only looks great but promises to keep people and things dry for years to come. We would like to thank Oliver Grace and those who took part in his matching grant challenge for their generous support and Tim Lyons for his craftsmanship.

North Shore Land Alliance_Humes Preserve Woodland Garden

Thanks to the generosity of the the Annunziato, Driscoll, Hoyt, Kalenderian and McGlone families a beautiful new flagpole has been installed next to the meadow. These families thought of everything! The new pole has a solar light so the Stars and Stripes can fly over Humes 24 hours a day.

Excitement grows as construction of the new Land Alliance headquarters begins. In mid-November, the retaining wall behind the Tavern House was raised and a sturdy new one was installed. This process required several months of engineering, bidding and permitting. The new retaining wall will solve slope and drainage issues as we get one step closer to the actual restoration of the Tavern House. Simultaneously, the nearby swimming pool was removed to make room for public access to the new Tavern House headquarters. This process began with the removal of all the bluestone around the pool (which will later be used for pathways). Next, the pool had to be pumped of roughly 30,000 gallons of murky pool water. While monitoring the pumping, volunteers noticed the frogs that had called the pool home for so long, were chasing the retreating water. Volunteers sprang into action and grabbed buckets to dutifully rescue the frogs and relocate them to the a nearby pond. Later that week the heavy machinery moved in for demolition and removal of the pool. One thing is certain, there is never a dull moment at the Humes Preserve!

We have more exciting things to come in 2022 as we begin the work to restore the Tavern House and surrounds as the Land Alliance’s first ever HQ!

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