A Volunteer’s 10 Cents Worth

We are helping the environment by maintaining our community shared patch of woodland and waterway. Whether it’s invasive cattails, honeysuckle, wineberries, swallowort, buckthorn, Russian olive, bittersweet, poison ivy, ragweed or honey locust. The Oxbow and surrounding area is an educational resource and can teach others how to control invasive species in other areas. 

Whether it’s one honeysuckle bush or a stray knotweed plant, it’s a start. Once the Oxbow is clear for mowing, volunteers can gravitate further into the woods to help rid the area of plants that choke out what’s beneficial to our local wildlife. We want to protect plants that were here many thousands of years ago, not decades ago.
“The Land Conservancy has hired Applied Ecological Services to remove harmful invasive plants like Norway maple, common buckthorn, tree-of-heaven, and phragmites for the first phase of the project. These invasive species are being replaced with beneficial natives like oak trees, ninebark shrubs and Canada anemone.”

As I camp, hike and visit many state parks, I see first hand what’s happening to the meadows and woodlands all across the state and hope we can open a few eyes. The honeysuckle is such a “sweet” name and people can’t see how invasive it has become. Far more so than Russian olive, but that bush is a close second.
The mowed grass is perfect for the turtles to perform their egg laying duties. The fences, house parts wires and other junk must have made it difficult for them in the past. The junk probably killed a number of adult turtles too.

By Eric Gavelis

Just a note to folks who think they can help themselves to plants, mushrooms and flowers down the Oxbow. You can’t ! Please do not pick the flowers!

And Kids – take note. We love you to come fishing here, but take your paper, bottles and fishing line home with you.

Mike Caswell

PTNY Permit Holder


My Walk in the Park today!

I was up early, did my daily workout, had a swim and decided that I’d take my dogs out a little earlier than usual. We always walk The Oxbow and this morning, I’m glad I did because the air was clear, cool and fresh and it made everything look wonderful!

Today, the Catalpa trees are in full bloom. Being a little breezy, I didn’t catch their scent unfortunately, but I’m sure that delight will be available numerous times over the next few days.

Catalpas are native plants with huge leaves that make a wonderful shade canopy in the summer. They grow one foot long bean pods and the seeds grow quite prolifically around the parent tree.

An Oxbow Catalpa in full bloom – see the flowers on the ground.
Perfection in nature

Nearby, the temperature being right, the carp are busy splashing around as they do their reproductive thing in the shallows. These are some really big fish so they make quite the racket while lovemaking.


The Canal Authority were busy on the other side of the canal, trimming the edge of the canal where the rip-rap is. This is the second pass their tractor has made in the past week, so I guess they’re really intent on keeping it manicured!

Last year, I collected a load of Milkweed pods with their puffy seeds, and in the spring, I dispersed them randomly around the Oxbow. They have just started to sprout and the crop is looking quite promising. I’m hoping we can encourage more to grow because they are the only diet for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar, and that beautiful creature is in peril.

I pulled up all the Ragweed around the Milkweed, to give it a better chance.

We had a heavy rain last night, so the park is a little muddy here and there, mainly because of all the work the Canal Corporation’s tractors did removing all the deadwood our volunteers cleared.

I’ve planted several bags of wild flowers (Home Depot Specials) over these areas, so I’m hoping to see some wonderful results in the next few weeks. My own canal-side garden is awash in color from these packs, and there is such variety, there are flowers all summer long.

Turtle laying eggs on the trail today

These are amazing creatures, and I love watching them swimming near my dock on the Oxbow. We often get babies swimming in our pool that need rescuing.

Goodness knows why she chose to dig a hole in the middle of the Oxbow trail. I only hope the eggs can stand the foot traffic overhead.

It would be nice to move them to safer place, but I’m not sure whether that would be a good thing to do, or not.

Canal Corp Clean Up The Bow!

Yesterday, a large backhoe and a wood chipper appeared unannounced – and the work began.

As the Canal Corporation has now moved it’s operation into Summer Mode, their crews are doing Spring Clean-up and our little corner is getting The Treatment.

What are they staring at? see below–
A huge pile of logs – GONE!
Our new park and trail is beginning to take shape.

The work should be finished today and the Canal Crews will be moving on to other Spring Clean up jobs along the canal towpaths. This sort of work is only done in the summer season when the canal is full.

You can see more about the Fairport Canal Embankment Remediation work schedule here.

Nasty thorn bush
All brush piles GONE!
Lookin’ good!

Our Spring Mowing Session

The ragweed is over one foot tall already and Swallow-wort is everywhere. The Japanese Knotweed is spreading and in places its already four feet tall. I guess this cool, wet weather is just the thing for the spring flush of grass dairy farmers like to boost milk production.

We have lots of flowers, Night Scented Stocks are everywhere and their perfume combined with the Lilies of the Valley and Lilacs make a delightful almost intoxicating experience down The Oxbow right now.

We’ve carefully mowed around the stands of Stocks.
Barkley inspects the freshly mowed area!
Seven Goslings and parents enjoying The Oxbow Lake

We need help to maintain this park. mowing needs to be done at least three times a year to keep the prolific weeds down and allow the grass to grow.

The shorter grass keeps Lyme Ticks at bay, and that makes all our doggie friends very happy.

Barkley and Morgan on a rainy day. Hopefully, that pile of brush will be mulched pretty soon!

The Canal Corporation regard this very small strip of trail as a fairly low priority, so the Erie Canal Neighbor’s Association has contracted with a local business to brush-hog the area for us. It takes about four hours and costs approximately $200 per mow. So we could do with some financial help.

If you’d like to help us with a small donation (say just $5-10) please go to our GOFUNDME web page – here – https://www.gofundme.com/d2mfgs-ecna/donate

A Little Gem just appeared!

I was admiring the daffodils I planted last fall and noticed nearby what I thought was a Forget-me-not, but the leaves weren’t as I remembered them.

Brunella Diane’s Gold

A neighbor on http://www.nextdoor.com soon responded to my request for identification, and a quick search on Wikipedia confirmed she had correctly identified the plant. It originated in The Caucasus and aptly also named Siberian Bugloss.

So ‘False Forget-me-not’ (another name for it) is not a native of our area, is not invasive either. It’s pretty and cute, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s a winner and can stay!

It’s obviously a relic of the Cottager’s Gardens of long ago. I’m surprised I haven’t spotted it before as there is quite the colony growing next to the shoreline.

Clean Sweep today.

Spring cleanup was delayed until today, due to the rotten weather we’ve had just lately. but the temperature and conditions couldn’t have been better. We didn’t get a huge turnout of folks today, but a great deal of work was done. Being Mother’s Day, perhaps they had other things planned. The piles of brush and logs removed were huge.

One really large dead tree trunk was sawn up and placed at the curb, where the canal corporation’s maintenance crew will mulch them up later this year. A huge amount of Honeysuckle was cut down . This is, of course a controlled. illegal invasive plant that can ruin a woodland lot, so we’re well rid of it.

The ladies planted several bags of flower bulbs and wildflower seeds. We just need a little rain now to get them all going.

Our plantings of daffodils last fall are out now, and looking wonderful. I only hope we can plant a ton more this fall. They certainly brighten up the little dells we have.

The Myrtle originally planted by cottagers is in full bloom along the water’s edge, and those folks really liked Lilies of the Valley, because they are sprouting up everywhere. I can’t wait until they flower because you can get drunk on their perfume.

We have so much to look forward to in the way of flower scents. Night Stocks , Honey Locust and Catalpa trees will all add to the enjoyment of this magical little corner of Fairport.

Come and enjoy the views and the flowers!