Journal for June 2001

Still cooler than usual, but nice temperature for working hard.  It’s the last week of school, so Mike and I are down here overnight – a treat.  We got the tractor fixed, and new tires, and Mike is mowing like crazy before the rain starts.  We found some great new plants:  Prairie Ragwort, Yellow Star Grass, and Liparis lilifolia, and lots of Scutellaria parvula on Sumac Prairie.

We walked the Torks’ trails up to their fields, and along to the way to Sumac Prairie.  He has told us that we can use them to drive on, so it should be good for mowing.  We also walked back to the edge of the bowl.  Torks have a nice, small prairie facing SW, with a wonderful view over Center Valley.

Blue winged Warblers come to “pishing” along the cabin road.  They’re very interested in me.  Also, the Towhee’s come easily, and act interested.  White Camas blooming on Indian Grass Prairie.

There are thousands of caterpillars on the nettles near the bluebird houses – maybe Red Admirals.  They have eaten nearly all the leaves off all the plants.

A Red Eyed Vireo also came to “pishing”, and there are Yellow Warblers in the wetland.

We’re here on our own – the kids are busy and not interested in coming.  So we left them for 2 nights.

There are lots of butterflies this time.  Mostly Red Admirals, especially on the driveway near the road.  Clouds of 50-100 fly up as we drive by.

The scats on the woodpile in front of the cabin have Hackberry Butterflies, and Tawny Emperors, 10 or 12 at a time.  There are some Great Spangled Fritillaries, but not as many as last year.  We’re also seeing Red Spotted Purples, Monarchs, Northern Pearly Eyes, Crescents, Question Marks, Blues, Little Wood Satrys, and Compton’s Tortoiseshells.  There are Red Bellied Woodpeckers feeing young.

For the first time in many trips, the tractor didn’t break.  So Mike got lots of mowing done.  All the paths, and the whole prairie up north of the knife edge.  It looks so different without any brush.  Next year, when the prairie plants come back, it should look great.

And we put up a shower.  It’s just a post with a curtain to shield us from the driveway, and a solar bag of water.  It works very well.  The water got a little too hot in the sun, and even a partial bag (we spilled some), was enough for 2 showers.  A great addition to the domestic arrangements.

There are Black-eyed Susans in the meadow near Torks’ pond – the first I’ve seen around here.  And, best of all, a beautiful, tiny, Polygala on the way up the steep path to the knife edge.  (Polygala polygama)  A Mourning Warbler and an Indigo Bunting were calling in front of the cabin.