With Spring in the air and the Sun shining bright, we got to spend some quality time recently on the Boquet River which borders the farm.
With most vegetation still laying down from the heavy snow, we could see little green buds starting to grow here and there as they poked through the old growth.
This made it much easier walking through the woods and we discovered some old trails that make a nice path down to the water.
So without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you a small slice of this natural wonder of gravity and geology we call the Boquet River.
Boquet River Info
Map of the Boquet River (Map credit: Dennis Kalma)
“The Boquet River drains a watershed of approximately 720 square kilometers (280 square miles). The Main Stem of the River arises on the flank of Dix Mountain at about 850 meters (2800 feet). It winds through 75 kilometers (47 miles) of forest and farmland, then empties into Lake Champlain at an elevation of 29 meters (95 feet). The Boquet is the steepest river in New York State.” – Dennis Kalma
Before moving here, I always thought it was pronouned “boo-kay” as in a ‘bouquet of flowers.’ On a map, that’s how I always saw it spelled.
(Actually, it was the “Bouquet” River before a 1982 Board on Geographic Names decision changed it back to Boquet.)
After a few searches, historical reports and talking to folks, I found out that it’s pronounced “bo-ket.”
Boquet River Possibilities
With such an awesome resource at the base of the farm, new ideas just keep on flowing.
I have three topics in mind right now:
- Maximize river enjoyment
- Environmental and stewardship responsibilities to support
- Could the forest support another food operation?
River Trail System
Kimmy and I have talked a great deal about ways for guests, friends, and family to enjoy the farm and river together.
For this we want to create a small trail system that runs along the river and loops around a section of the farm.
Looking at the satellite photo above, we want to make a trail that extends from that little loop you can see on the side of the 2nd patch of land we had hayed last Summer.
In addition to the native flowers and milkweed that is already there, we plan to plant additional wildflowers, bird houses and beneficial butterfly and insects seeds.
From there, it would head south and continue along the river and then back up into the south pasture.
Add in a few benches, chairs and direction signs along the trail and we’ll have a pretty sweet system in place for folks to go and enjoy themselves.
Our productivity suffers sometimes because we end up walking the land, taking it all in and getting lost in it for longer than we should maybe.
Just a few acres from the road and it becomes amazingly quiet. It’s beautiful and we are committed to sharing this with as many people as possible.
I’ve talked briefly about this program before on my own blog.
Now having read about it more, I can see that our farm is a good match for the program.
With the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) we’ll agree to keep marginal farmland in native grasses and trees in order to set up riparian buffer on the land that abuts the river.
This protects against erosion, nutrient runoff and safeguards the local watershed.
Contracts run for 10-15 years and farmers are paid a small rental payment by the Farm Service Agency for the number of acres they keep in the program every year.
We have an active, local group called the Boquet River Association (BRASS) that is committed to the enhancement of the “quality of water and life in the 280-square mile watershed.”
Membership is due by June 1st and you can bet we will be joining up.
The forested border along the river full of mostly hardwoods, makes a perfect, natural buffer from the rest of the “working farm,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t produce food from the forest.
Since the farm is a business, it is important to try to utilize the acreage in a efficient manner while making the most of it.
The shelter and shade the canopy provides creates a micro-climate conducive for forest farming mushrooms, like shiitake.
Mushrooms grown from hardwoods have been shown to contain more essential nutrients than mushrooms grown from sawdust blocks.
The start-up time is longer and requires more patience, but logs will produce more mushrooms per year with the same or less amount of labor involved as using sawdust blocks.
When we first started looking for farmland, we had several items on our wishlist that we did not want to compromise on.
One was to have a view. One was to face south. The other which we thought we would never find was waterfront.
Having our farm on the Boquet River is something we appreciate more and more.
I think it will be the feature our guests, friends and family will be drawn to most and become one of the high points of their visit.
We’ll let you know when we make more progress on the trails!