Journal for February 14, 2016

It’s been very cold and snowy, but the now days are getting longer, and our solar panels are catching a lot more sun than they were in December. 

I finished my big planting project – the top half of Pat’s Prairie.  It was only about 8 acres, so it went pretty fast.  I still have a few smaller areas to plant, but it’s been so cold in the last few weeks, that I haven’t felt like finishing up.

On the few warm days we’ve had, I walked up to the top of the hills.  I miss seeing that part of the farm – when there’s a lot of snow, we do most of our walks along the driveway.

One very warm day I walked up to Big View Prairie.   This is on the way – Pat’s Prairie – with the newly planted part on the left, along and below the trees.

Pats prairie


I walked up the front of the bluff so I could see the rocky outcrops below the prairie point.  I’ve been clearing brush from this area, and it looks much more open now.  Someday it will all be restored savanna.

Big View


The view of Praag Valley from the top of Big View Prairie – one of our favorite views.

Big View 2


While I was up there I planted some savanna seeds in the area that we mowed last fall.    We’ll come back and do more clearing, but in the meantime, I hope these seeds will help start its recovery.

Big View savanna


Another day I walked up the Knife Edge to hidden Oaks and planted a few of the special seeds I bought or collect this year.  I’ve finally decided that I’ve waited long enough for the plants to appear, and if I haven’t found them yet, I can plant some of the species that should be here.  So I’m planting Pasqueflower, Fameflower, Penstemon,  Prairie Lily, Cylindrical Blazing Star, and a few others.

Looking up at the Knife Edge in the snow.

Knife Edge 1


As I walk around, I always think of the way these places used to look – how much they’ve changed.

This is an early photo of the path on the top of the knife edge point, from 2005.

8-28-05 1


This is nearly the same view, from this past fall – September 2015.  The hillside on the left is south-facing, and now it has much more prairie, and less woods.  I haven’t planted anything here yet – this has all come back on its own.

9-20-15 5


And this is the way it looks now – the day I planted my seeds.

Knife Edge 2


The wetland is along the driveway, so we see it twice a day on our regular walks.  It’s fun to see it change as the weather and the sun change.  It’s especially lovely on cold days when there’s frost on all the branches.

frost in wetland


Sumac Bluff – overlooking the wetland

Sumac Prairie 1


A Sharp-shinned Hawk has been keeping an eye on the feeder birds recently.  I haven’t seen it successfully catch anything, but it keeps coming back.

Sharp-shinned Hawk 2-9-16 4


Sharp-shinned Hawk 2-9-16 2