Journal for August 29, 2012

It’s been a busy month – we’ve had several sets of visitors, and gotten some new toys and started some new projects.

My cousin Joan and her son Robert were the first visitors, and her Uncle Warren and Aunt Carol stopped for an overnight and a farm tour.

Joan, Robert, Warren & Carol


The family photo on Indian Grass Point




Joan and Mike and I worked on clearing an area on top of Indian Grass Point where I had girdled the birch and aspens several years ago.  Now the trees are starting to fall, and the ground is littered with rotting logs and thick brush.  Underneath it all is prairie/savanna: Hoary Puccoon, Leadplant, Balsam Ragwort, Little Bluestem, and Side-oats Grama.

Here’s the ‘before’ picture.

After we did our cutting.

Joan and Marcie – we piled brush after Mike cut it.


The Barn Swallow pair that has a nest under our eaves raised their 3rd batch of babies for the summer.   It was a smaller batch this time – only 3 babies.  They fledged a few days after Joan and Robert left.  The babies sit on the edge of the nest, getting bigger and bigger, and less and less able to fit in the nest.  It seems like they should fly away at any moment, but it takes days and days of that before they actually leave.  I took this photo on the last day – I checked an hour or so later and they had gone.


One of them came back the next day and sat on the hummingbird feeder below his old nest.


The next set of visitors were Mike’s cousin Patty and some of her family.  We took family pictures on all three benches.

Tom, Mike, Jamie, Kathleen and Patty


Jamie, Mike, Kathleen, Devin, Patty


Mike, Patty, Kathleen, Tom and Jamie


Jamie tried out the powertrack – pretty good fun!

His job was to consolidate the compost pile.


We’re having a great time with our new toy – a set of wildlife cameras that connect to a computer in the house by radio.  We can set the cameras up outside, all over the farm, and they send the pictures they take back to the house – we get emails with the photos instead of having to go out to the cameras to collect them.

So far we’ve gotten photos of a skunk, beaver, raccoon, coyotes, butterflies, people, maybe a flying squirrel (I’m still trying to get better photos so I can confirm this), and lots and lots of deer.




Mike & Marcie on the morning walk


Doe and her 3 fawns (I didn’t know they ever had 3).


And, this morning, coyotes


To get the radios to work well on our wooded, hilly land, Mike put an extra antenna on top of the tower we have on our house.  Here he is, at the top of the tower – clipped on tight, but it was still a tense half hour.



I’ve been putting up my moth lights at least a few nights a week.  Since this is my second year at this, I’m getting many moths that I’ve seen before, but some new ones too.

This is a very large underwing moth  – a first for the farm.  It’s called The Penitent – another in the series of love and marriage themed names of underwings.  It has about a 3 1/2 inch wingspan.


Lunate Zale – another 3 inch moth.  This one was slurping sweet bait that I had painted on a tree trunk.


Slender Flower Moth – this one is usually seen much farther south.  The closest ‘northern’ record I could find was from central Iowa.


Variable Reddish Pyrausta – a very small bright colored moth


Brown Angle Shades


Corn Earworm Moth – a pest on corn and other crops, but still beautiful


One other project we did recently was to inaugurate a new walking path.  For the last few years we haven’t been able to walk from one side of our property to the other on the top of the hill.  Our neighbor owned a little piece of land that divided the two sides.  But it turned out that he was interested in owning some of our woods, so we did a trade, and the transaction was finalized a few weeks ago.  Mike mowed the path, and now we can walk all the way.  Kathleen had an iPhone app that let us measure it – so now we know that if we do the full ‘All Benches’ walk, it’s 4 1/2 miles.

Now we can go from Western Prairie

Along the edge of the woods next to our neighbor’s field

To the Narrows Prairie.

Finally, here are a few late summer views and flowers from the farm.

Swamp Thistle and Tall Sunflower in the wetland


Misty morning


Great Blue Lobelia in the wetland