Journal for January 17, 2016

This has been a very cold few weeks – no big snowstorms, but an inch or two of new snow every few days, and nights that are well below zero. 

Center Valley


I’m working on planting a new prairie, but I can only do it when the temperature is above about 20F.   The field I’m working on is the upper part of Pat’s Prairie.   The lower field was one of the first prairies we planted, in the winter of 2000.

Pats prairie 1

For years the upper part been an ‘old field’.   I think it was cropped at one time, but was too steep for big equipment, so it was eventually abandoned.  Since we’ve been here it’s been a Smooth Brome and Canada Goldenrod field, with a few natives sprinkled in.  We mowed it once but that didn’t make any difference, so we finally decided that it needed to be sprayed and planted with prairie seeds.

Mike mowed it last August, and we had someone come to spray it with Glyphosate in October.

In November I marked out sections with stakes, and divided up my seeds.

Tiger supervised every move I made – he loves big indoor projects.   Here I’m mixing seeds.

mixing seeds


And here I’m dividing them into the same number of bags as the number of sections in my field.

Tiger supervising


Now I’m planting all those sections.  The field is about 8 acres, and I’m nearly half finished.



Here are a few photos of clearing projects we worked on last year.  This one shows Indian Grass Point – the point above the house.  And beyond is the Knife Edge.

house in the valley


This is a closer photo of Indian Grass Point.  It was a very misty day, but it shows how much of the woods on the lower part of the point has been cleared out.

Indian grass point


This is a close up of my work on the Knife Edge.  The slope on the left faces south-west, and is overgrown prairie.  I’ve been clearing it slowly, by hand, mostly on my knees to keep from sliding down the hill.  The slope on the right is woods.

knife edge


Hidden Oaks Point – not the part we’ve been working on recently, but a nice winter view.

hidden oaks point


We had a few beautiful ice storms – not bad enough to break many branches, but enough to coat them with ice until the sun came out.




frost on the pines


This weekend we participated in the annual winter Golden Eagle Count.  Mike and I didn’t see any Golden Eagles at all on our route – but other people saw some.   The highlight for us was seeing a spectacular dark morph Rough-legged Hawk fly right in front of us.

Here’s a group photo from the ‘After-the-Count’ party at our house.   It’s always fun to talk with other counters and hear their stories.

party photo