Journal for April 26, 2017

It’s the time of the spring when there are new flowers everywhere.


Sand Cress is always the first non-tree flower I see here.  It grows on steep, dry prairie points.


White Violet comes soon after


Rue Anemone


Blue Wood Violets on one of our mowed paths


Marsh Marigolds are blooming now in the wet prairies and sedge meadows.


Hoary Puccoon is just starting to bloom on the bluff prairies.  These early flowers almost always have tiny bees visiting them.   The one on the left is a Ceratina – a Small Carpenter Bee.


We have big patches of Bloodroot growing in our road ditches.  They don’t seem to care that the road edges are sunny now – no longer wooded.


The ferns are coming up on Maple Ridge.


This is an odd, interesting fungus that I’ve been finding in the woods.  It’s sometimes called a False Morel, and unlike true Morels, it’s poisonous to eat.


First shed antler of the season


We keep thinking we’re finished cleaning up this hillside.  We’re close now – we’ve got all the logs and brush off the steep part of the hill.  The last project is to collect all the logs and brush we’ve rolled down and add it to the giant brush pile at the bottom.


When the hill got too soft to drive on – we worried the tractor would damage the new plants – I figured out a way to get the last of the cut brush down to the bottom.  It looks silly, but it’s easy and works well.  I load a huge pile of brush onto a tarp, tie it up into a cylinder, and roll it down.   Mike took a video of one trip down the hill.


Indian Grass Savanna after its spring mowing


We’ve spent a lot of time negotiating with the beavers about their new dam.  They built it right in front of our culvert, and every night they’d build it higher.   Here’s a view of the flooded creek above the dam.


The beavers’ lake


And their lodge.


We love the lake – it’s beautiful, and attracts many other creatures besides the beavers.  But the dam got so high that the water overflowed our driveway.


We lowered their dam to a more reasonable height, and since then Mike has been spending his mornings undoing the repair work that the beavers did the night before.  The only advantage we have is that we think they’re running out of building material.

Here they are – the nighttime workforce arriving.





Mike doing the morning dam deconstruction


Muskrats like the lake too.


And Wood Ducks


My big project right now is battling Garlic Mustard.  We have patches of it sprinkled through our woods, and it’s spreading fast.  When I first found it, I would pull the plants, but now there’s so much that I spray as much as I can – it goes much faster.  I only start pulling once it starts to bloom – so I can remove any seeds from the site.


It’s been a good spring for Red Admirals.  These butterflies don’t spend the winter here – they fly up from the south every spring.  Some years we see only a few, but this year we’ve seen dozens.  Their caterpillars eat nettles.  I’m hoping this will be like one year in the mid 2000s when every nettle plant was dripping with caterpillars.


Ruffed Grouse


I almost always miss seeing the crocuses that survive near the old farmhouse.  I don’t expect them to bloom so early, so by the time I get there, they’re gone.  This year I barely made it – there were just a few left.


More spring trees


And, of course, a few of my favorite moth photos.

Sigmoid Prominent


Two-lined Hooktip


Artichoke Plume Moth


Linden Prominent


Lettered Sphinx – always the first Sphinx moth of the year