Journal for December 7, 2013

It really is winter now.  The low temperature last night was -8F.  It got up to -1.5F by the time we took our walk, but with the wind chill it was about -20F.  Brrrr!  But by this afternoon it wasn’t so bad – 0F, but not much wind and the sun was out.   Here we are on an afternoon walk to the Knife Edge – caught by the wildlife camera.

walking on the knife edge


Ice crystals on the door this morning

ice crystals


It hasn’t actually been very cold until today.   A few weeks ago we had a snowstorm that only lasted an hour, and all the snow melted once the sun came out.

snow 11-20-13

Since then we’ve gotten a little more snow – just enough to crunch when we walk, and stick to the driveway and in the woods.


Before the snow we got a little more work done on some of our fall projects.

Our friend Renee came to visit and spent a morning doing some energetic brush-cutting with me.



This is the project we worked on – the east-facing slope of Indian Grass Point.   This is the northern half, just before we started working.

indian grass point before clearing 11-14-13


And this is the same view after we cut away the brush.

indian grass point after clearing 11-19-13

Here’s a slide show of this project – all the work I’ve done on it this fall.  It starts with the first strip I cut down the hillside, from the open prairie at the top, down to the oak woods.  Then I cleared away from that strip – first going south, toward the point, and then to the north.  (It’s best viewed at high resolution – so click on the little gear below the video, and choose the highest quality on the list.)


And Mike and I did a little more on our Indian Grass Savanna project.  This is at the northern edge of the area we cleared last week – a thick stand of brush between our walking path and Ragwort Opening.

11-30-13 next to ragwort opening - before cutting


Here it is after the brush was cut and piled

11-30-13 next to ragwort opening - after cutting


And the way it looks now

12-1-13 east end of savanna - after cutting

Here’s a slideshow of the whole Indian Grass Savanna restoration project that we’ve done this fall – beginning with the way the path through it looked in June, and finishing with clearing the northern piece next to Ragwort Opening.  (It’s best viewed at high resolution – so click on the little gear below the video, and choose the highest quality on the list.)



This is the caterpillar of a Virginia Ctenucha Moth.  They spend the winter as a caterpillar, and on days that are above about 20F, we see them crawling on the road.

Ctenucha virginica caterpillar 11-19-13


Next spring it will pupate and emerge as a day flying moth.  Here’s an adult I saw in June 2010.

Ctenucha virginica 6-3-10


A Bald Eagle – watching over Center Valley

eagle 12-1-13