Patty, Joe Furlan’s Five Acres
On Crumhorn Now ‘Certified’
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
MARYLAND – When Joe and Elvira DiPeppi first bought the 5-acre property on Lichenburger Road, Town of Maryland, they nicknamed it “Chateau de Weeds.”
“Nothing was here,” said Patty Furlan. “But they did a lot of work, and they left me all these beautiful gardens and schematics.”
Furlan, who bought the house with her husband Joe in December, has a new title for it – National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.
“It was our Easter present to the house,” she said. “A habitat is the best thing it could be.”
To be a Certified Wildlife Habitat, owners must provide natural food sources, clean water, cover and nesting/burrowing places for birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife to raise their young.
“It’s about promising to preserve the land for wildlife,” she said. “I got my love of birds and wildlife from my mother.”
In addition to registering, the couple made a $20 donation and received a plaque to put on their property.
Additionally, the gardens – the DiPeppis’ named them the Sacred Garden, the Holey Garden and the Sacrificial Garden – are part of the federation’s Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, aiming to provide habitat for the declining bee and butterfly populations.
“We call it the Holey Garden because of all the chipmunks,” Patty said. “And the Sacrificial Garden is for the deer!”
The Sacred Garden, meanwhile, is fenced-off in the center of the lawn, with a fairy garden off to the side and a planned vegetable garden in the back.
“I’ve always grown herbs, but it was in a one-bedroom apartment,” she said.
The rest of the land is forest, including a shallow shale cave and a long-forgotten rock wall. “The rumor is that there used to be a brothel up here,” she said. “The madam would go into town, lure men up and then kill them. But that might just be lore.”
She did, however, note that she did find an old foundation. “I’d love to have some forestry students come out and mark trails” she said. “We love to travel to state parks: But this year, this will have to be our state park!”
The Furlans aren’t just letting their land grow wild. “We want to put in willow trees to help soak up some of the moisture,” the wife said. “I don’t only want to maintain the property; I want to add to it.”
Other plans include building bat boxes to help control insects, and providing additional food for nesting seasonal species, such as hummingbirds.
“They got here early at the end of their migration, and they just sat down and ate,” she said. “When I went to refill the feeders, they were waiting there, like they were stalking me!”
As her gardens grow, she wants to expand flower boxes down the driveway and surprises outward into the forest.
“I want to hang picture frames, or maybe invite some art students to do some sculptures or carve a stump into something,” she said. “I love the idea that you could just be out for a walk and there’s some art hidden in the woods, making the woods more interesting than they are already.”
And she hasn’t ruled out additional protections for the property, including forestry and conservation easements.
“We like being in the woods,” she said. “If you can’t give me the ocean, give me the trees.”