Journal for April 2002

4/3, 4/4, 4/5/02
The kids went to Chicago with the school band, so we drove down and stayed at Hawksview Cottages in Fountain City.  Neat spot – incredibly steep hill, surrounded by woods, with a nice view of the Mississippi.  Mediocre restaurants except for the Harbor View on the way home.

It’s starting to get warmer, although still snow covered from the last storm.  There are a few new spring birds – lots of Song Sparrows singing, one Fox Sparrow, Tree Swallows, and several Bluebirds.  We didn’t see any signs of spring flowers.

We explored the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and saw numerous large flocks of Tundra Swans flying up the river.  Great sight!  Also some nice ducks: Ring-necked, Bufflehead, Common Merganser and Pintail.  The Pintail was a Riecks Lake, and we also saw there: 1 swan – I think a Mute Swan, Kildeer, and one Yellowlegs – I don’t know if it was a “Greater” or “Lesser”.  There are lots of Meadowlarks along the roads, but I didn’t see any on our land.

We have a deal on the house – signed.  We’ll drop off the first check to Perry on Tuesday, and he’ll start, hopefully by the end of April.

It was a beautiful warm day – it got up into the 50s.  We were greeted, when we got out of the car, by several huge flocks of Tundra Swans flying over – very high.  At least several hundred birds.  They’re hard to spot because they are so high, but they make a wonderful honking sound.

We searched for Pasque flowers and other early spring flowers, but didn’t find any.  I still have hopes of finding both Snow Trilliums and Pasqueflowers someday.

It’s very muddy and the ground isn’t thawed yet, so it’s difficult to drive – first time we’ve gotten stuck in the Toyota.  Now we know its limits.

4/28/02 note from Jackie
I nominate April 2002 as the most frustrating, punishing month I have known (at least, in many years).  Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!!  It snowed most of the day yesterday, but never stuck — then iced, and total rain amounts were a little over an inch and a quarter.  Good luck with mowing!!  We mowed our lawn Friday night when the relative humidity was 25%.  The local meteorologist said this was a rarity — happening only once or twice a year in our area.  If we hadn’t nabbed it then, it would have been a foot high by the time it was dry enough again.

I wanted to work outdoors today, but the temp hardly got above 40 and the wind was coming from the northwest.  Grrr……….!  I think my tulips got hurt badly by the cold nights — they look really sick.  The rhubarb will be a record late date for eating — and we still haven’t planted peas, potatoes, onions, etc. — when will the garden be dry enough to disk???

It’s a nice windy day – in the 60s.  Driving down to Perry’s we saw a Sandhill Crane with at least one chick – between Tom’s place and T – in the wetland.  The adult was very good at camouflage – it was difficult to find it again when we stopped the car to look.

Mike mowed more brush on the Knife Edge today, and I worked on the stream where the loggers had wrecked it.  I dug out the area where they had had a culvert so it doesn’t look like a ditch, and dug out some pools for frogs.  Then I planted the low areas with wetland plants, and the higher areas with aggressive wetland plants.  Now we’re going to build a bridge.

I walked up the hill behind the frog pond looking for the Goodyera.  I found a small area with 15 plants.  Also, just to the north of the big gully, there’s a wonderful woodland area – Rue Anemone, Wood Anemone, Violets, Starry Solomon’s Seal.  Very brushy with honeysuckle and Prickly Ash.  I need to make a real path through it.

We saw a Towhee at the feeder for the first time.