I have read Mollison's,Sepp's books, watched Lawtons Dvd's and searched the web for tips and tricks to help grow food and shape the land. I have yet to see anyone address what I am going to show/present here. Im not saying in anyway that it is not out there. Just that I have not seen it.
I drive a lot for a living and always have my eyes open to see what people are doing and how they do it. As all the greats preach, "observe, observe, observe"
The other day I saw the hillside in the attached picture. It wasn't untill nearly two weeks later that the light bulb went off. I realized what I was seeing.
We had a foot of snow fall and it was accompanied by a fair amount of wind. Most all the snow melted in 2 days. Not this area! It lasted for over two weeks! I believe two things are going on here. First and foremost, the snow was deposited deeper here in this band. I believe that the wind caused it. The wind blows toward the camera in the picture. The hill caused a vortex as it crested the hill blowing and dropping more snow just leeward of the top of hill. Something like 7 times as much. Remember most of the snow was gone in two days. This stayed over two weeks.
It is in an area that gets morning sun too.
For some people they may be able to spot this sort of situation and take advantage of it, by means of hugle mounds or swales. In effect it is a drift. One that will come back year after year!
I hear you now, not everyone has 80 acres of hillside. Your right, but everyone that has snow likely has a reocurring drift area that they can identify, and take advantage of year after year. It could be an area the size of a patio, who knows. Where I live we get 11.5 inches of percipitation a year. Trapping even 5X that in the form of snow drifts will make a huge impact on specific areas of our land. Why not let mother nature put water where she wants it, then take advantage of it.
The other thing that is happening there in that belt of snow is that there is less dessicating wind. The snow will melt slower and absorb. Im sure many more things are going on but my purpose here is just to make someone aware of a resourse they my not readily see. Not all landscapes are as barren as the picture. If it were covered with brush and trees I doubt I would have noticed it at all.
I have surveyed our area (20 acres) and have already spotted drift areas. Some are more tricky as they are not drift deposits but simply deep shade. I found one that was both! Golden. In this area in the summer the sun is higher and the shade much less. I sang the MC Hammer song out there in the woods... Da,da,da,da HUGLE time! If you dont know the song please forgive my lame ass sense of humor, you did'nt miss much. Also this was typed on a phone with the auto spell check off so please forgive my poor spelling. Spell check is often worse. I once sent pictures of owl boxes to my dad. Titled Owl condominiums. He got Owl condoms! Ahh!
Hope this post helps someone find a new good spot on their land. Maybe it is the same spot a choice plant or tree is thriving in already. Nature is our teacher. We must read from its book and learn...
Jim in Tehachapi CA