Journal for November 22, 2014

We spent the last few weeks of good weather finishing up two savanna clearing projects.

The newest project was to connect Hidden Oaks Meadow – a small mesic remnant – with the Narrows Prairie – one of our planted prairies.  There was a narrow line of trees and brush separating them.  Hidden Oaks Meadow also had several old, gnarled apple trees that were shading the prairie and blocking the view out to Hidden Oaks Point.  So we thought we’d clear all that out.

Here’s the view looking from the Narrows Prairie towards the point, before we started work.

hidden oaks meadow project before 1


And here’s the view after we finished.  The big oak is still there – it’s at the right edge of this photo.

hidden oaks meadow project done


Here’s a view from the other direction, showing the apple trees.

Hidden Oaks path - before


And here’s the view after we finished.  We left the stump of the biggest apple tree – it was so big that it would have been difficult to cut it low enough for the mower to get over it.  So it was better to leave it tall enough to see.

hidden oaks meadow project 3 doneIt will be fun to watch it all grow back and fill in with prairie.

The other big project was clearing more brush and trees out of the savanna on top of Indian Grass Point.  We worked mostly on the east side of the path – here it is before we started.  (We did the west side of the path last fall.)

Indian Grass savanna 10-5-14 2


And here is how it looked when the snow put an end to our clearing projects.  We didn’t finish getting all the brush piles moved – that will have to wait until spring.

indian grass savanna work


Here are a few of the last flowers of the year.

Aromatic Aster

aromatic aster 10-26-14 2


Stiff Gentian

Stiff Gentian 11-2-14


Harebell – still blooming just a few days before the snow came.

harebell 11-6-14


We saw two late Monarchs.  This one looked newly emerged – October 26th – warming up in the sun so it could fly south.

monarch 10-26-14


I saw this one on November 2nd – very late for a Monarch.  The discoloration and the crumpled forewing were probably from getting too cold.

monarch 11-2-14


A circular cloud formation above the Narrows Prairie

sky circle


The view from Big View Prairie – before the snow.

10-26-14 big view


Then winter arrived – on November 12th – with a snowstorm and then days and days of cold temperatures.

11-12-14 snowstorm


The driveway – looking south toward Big View Bluff and Maple Ridge

center valley snow


It’s easy to see the bluff prairies in the winter – these 3 are Big View Prairie on the left, Indian Grass Point in the center, and the corner of Sumac Prairie on the right.

snowy farm view


A wintry view from Big View Prairie

11-21-14 big view


Winter prairie sky

cold sunset


Mike has discovered that the drone takes great still photos, in addition to video.  This is looking north across our land.



Praag Valley



Here’s the video from that flight.  Mike composed the music to go with it.


And we found out that the drone still works in the cold.  This is looking west across Western Prairie.



Looking north across our land



And south, down Center Valley to Maple Ridge and Praag Valley.



I’ve also been working on some of my winter computer projects.  I’ve updated all my moth galleries – I’ve put in newer, better photos, and added most of the new moths from this past year.   I now have 709 moths that I’ve found here and been able to identify.  Check them out by clicking HERE.

And I’ve changed the blog so that there’s a new banner photo every time you look at a new page.  So as you’re exploring,  be sure to look at the top of each page to see the new photos.