The Little Crew That Could!

07 January 2007

We were but four fearless volunteers on January 7th in Moore Creek but we made a big difference. Seasoned regulars Don Aurthur, John Bono, Val Cole, and Carol Glover of the Land Trust made it out for our first day of ’07, a brilliant, sunny, and warm day in the Cruz.

A decade or more of broom growth awaited us on this fine winter morning.
A decade or more of broom growth
awaited us on this fine winter morning.

But, the ‘little crew that could’ removed all of it, at least what was inside the preserve.
But, the ‘little crew that could’ removed all of it,
at least what was inside the preserve.

Amongst the challenges this day were some overly friendly bovines that appeared to have an acute appreciation for volunteers.
Amongst the challenges this day
were some overly friendly bovines
that appeared to have an acute appreciation
for volunteers.

Here’s Don going at it in the heart of the French Broom Forest.
Here’s Don going at it in the heart
of the French Broom Forest.

Our hostess Carol Glover is shown here with the fruits of our labor -- all the broom in front of and behind Carol was pulled by the team.
Our hostess Carol Glover is shown here
with the fruits of our labor --
all the broom in front of and behind Carol
was pulled by the team.

...and then the piles of broom went flying up into the big, bad truck. Its outta here!
…and then the piles of broom went flying
up into the big, bad truck. Its outta here!

The entire day was focused on the end of the road. The large forest of French Broom at the end of the paved road, down by the main entrance to Moore Creek, that is. This lower area of the park had not yet received the copious energies of the Trailworkers/Land Trust team until Sunday. As you can see from the photos, we had a lot of material to move.

While we had hoped for a larger turnout (perhaps they heard the work was easier down the road a piece at Wilder Ranch), all the rain of the past few weeks, combined with our handy weed wrenches, helped us to make big progress with the small, but effective “Gang of Four.”

John, Val, and Don worked closely together to gradually move along the fence line removing broom, while Carol fine-tuned broom from both sides of the fence. Together, we built piles of broom that before long filled an 18ft. flatbed truck; quite an accomplishment for so few people.

Once we eliminated the Broom inside Moore Creek, our attentions turned to the other side of the fence -- Caltrans property -- as spreading broom knows no boundaries. While working in this section we trailworkers ran across the other invasive specie in these parts, the lovely homeless campers. Our efforts awoke them from a leisurely Sunday morning snooze, and one even stopped by to help educate us about the superiority of Texas barbed wire vs. the wire currently used to fence the preserve -- perhaps he was interested in working himself out of a campsite!

About two hours into our workday we turned our attention to hauling the broom onto the large truck provided by the Land Trust (thank you!). Matt the hauler drove up to the end of the paved road, and the relatively tired crew spent the rest of the day tossing into the truck what we’d extracted from the soil. All in all it was a throughly exhausting and satisfying workday.

Ultimately the crew ran out of time to complete this project -- we’ll need another day or two, and a larger set of able bodies, to fully eliminate the broom from the Caltrans property such that it does not re-seed in the preserve. That is likely going to be a project for ’08. Happy New Year, and come see us up at the other end of Moore Creek on February 11th.