Journal for March 2001

Saw a young Golden Eagle flying over Center Valley.  There were about 20 turkeys in Pine Point Field, and 9 deer in Center Valley – hopefully not eating our prairie seeds.

We planted almost 2 acres of prairie grass seeds on the fields west of the road in Center Valley.  The soybeans were left in the field, so deer and turkeys have been digging in the snow, making the surface very bumpy.  Good for keeping the seed in place, but hard to walk on.  We also walked up the Knife Edge and burned several small areas that were dry, but surrounded by snow.  We’re learning how much duff there has to be to carry a fire, and which direction a fire goes (up and with the wind).

We planted again today – about 2 acres – very slow, but I think we measured wrong and they are actually each more than one acre.  We’re nearly half finished planting the grass (7 acres done out of 15).  Saw the Golden Eagle again – also a Bald Eagle, and lots of crows, turkeys, and deer.  Heard what sounded like a Red tailed Hawk in the woods on Sumac Point, but we couldn’t see it; maybe there’s a nest.

We surprised a flock of turkeys on the road, just before we turned into the driveway.  They scattered as fast as they could go, up the bank, into the trees, and into the air.  It was very funny to see them trying to scramble up a nearly vertical wall of snow – lots of slipping and sliding.  And they are so heavy that it takes a while for the wings to get the body off the ground.  I think there was  a Red-headed Woodpecker on T, just at the bottom of the hill.

We started on the field below the pines and got 2 ½ acres planted.  Whew!  No deer or turkeys until we left and we saw lots of them around the corner in the Center Valley fields.  There were 2 Bald Eagles diving at each other and landing in one of the pines on the east side of Center Valley.

Now we have to keep track of which acre is which, because I’m mixing some of the forbs in with the grass seed – that will make it a little faster, I hope.

Seeding went much faster.  We took off our snowshoes; it was sunny, warm (in the 40s), and almost no wind.  We did about 4 acres.

There were several eagles; we could still hear a Red-tailed Hawk, but couldn’t see it.  The turkeys and deer must be finding more food in the woods, now that the snow is disappearing.  We only saw one turkey that ventured out on the field as we were having lunch in the car, and 3 deer on top of the bluff of Big View Prairie as we arrived.

The snow is disappearing so fast – as we worked.  When we arrived, Pine Point Field was mostly snow covered, except for a few patches of bard ground.  When we left, it was mostly bare, with small snow patches.

We stopped at Easy Creek on the way home and had a nice, quiet dinner.  Saw a Great Blue Heron in the Buffalo River, and several Red-winged Blackbirds near Mondovi.  There was a Mourning Dove calling in the woods at the farm.


We heard a Killdeer, and maybe some ducks, but couldn’t see them.

We finished, or nearly finished, planting the grasses on our 15 acres.  That’s the hardest part.  Now the forbs go on, but that’s like painting – much less picky.

We saw an immature Golden Eagle again, this time along 88, near Praag, sailing over the middle of the valley.  A bluebird was singing at the very top of the Silver Maple at the farm.  I hope he finds our houses.  And there was a pair of Sandhill Cranes along 10, just west of Mondovi.  Wouldn’t it be great to get some cranes on our land!

Ron and Armund came and Mike took them for a tout of the burn area for this year.  They loved the farm, and are excited about helping.  What great guys.  It’s nice to have the land appreciated.

Also, the first butterfly of the year flew up while we were talking to Ron and Armund; I think it was a Comma from its size and the way it flew.  Doug Wood came over with lots of odds and ends of seeds for us.

Planted 6 acres of forbs in a strong NW wind; 20 degrees – very cold.  But now the Pine Point field is done, except for the fluffy seeds which we didn’t want to plant for fear they would disappear in the wind.

There was a woodchuck in the driveway when we arrived.  He stared at us and didn’t move.  We drove toward him, and he still didn’t move.  Finally he ran down the road in front of us, stopping to look back at us.  Finally, just before the creek, he jumped off the road onto the snow and sat there, about 5 feet from the road, and stared at us as we drove past.

Planted 6 more acres of forbs – the west side of Center Valley; a much nicer day –40 degrees and sunny and no much wind.  But 6 acres is enough for one day.

I walked to the beaver lake and saw several large and many small trout.  The pond looks like one in the zoo; perfect for watching; clear water, very deep behind the dam.  Jim and Gail are coming to help plant the last 4 acres of forbs on Friday.

Jim and Gail couldn’t come at the last minute, so we went anyway, worked hard at seeding and got finished with everything except the touching up; hooray!  We worked very hard and got very wet feet on a gray chilly day; just as well that Jim and Gail didn’t come.

We saw several Sandhill Cranes; one pair near Durand, one at Riecks Lake pm the way home, flying close to the road; best view I’ve had of them.  Someone on the birdnet suggested that we’re seeing so many because they’re looking for places to feed that aren’t frozen.  They apparently nest along the Buffalo River.  We’ll have to watch for them now.