Journal for September 2002

We took Nancy Heneghan and Paul Gertman to the farm on Wednesday, overnight, and they left for San Antonio by way of Chicago on Thursday.  They loved the farm.  We went on a long walk, up the Knife Edge and down Goldenrod valley; and then a long ride up to Big View Prairie and down the Dugway.  The ride was at dusk, and by the time we got to Big View Prairie it was nearly dark.  It was a beautiful sight – a crescent moon, and a clear sky – very quiet.  And driving down the Dugway in the dark was very exciting!  Later we heard screech owls and a frog – either a Leopard Frog or a Pickerel Frog, calling.

We discovered that Tom had mowed all the edges of the fields very wide – it feels like they’re highways – and was in the process of cutting a new road just inside the edge of the field near the CRP field.  Mike got really mad at him – we felt like he was taking advantage of us – changing things for his hunters without asking us first.  We nearly terminated his contract then and there – but we’ll let him be there this year – and see about it next year.  It would be wonderful to have no hunting there at all in a few years.

The house has it’s roof now, siding on about half of the walls, and the drywall is starting to go up inside.  And it has the electricity turned on.  We left the lights in the garage on, by mistake, and when we came down at the end of the Dugway, we could see them shining across the field.   It looked very comfortable and welcoming.

We took Jackie and Dan on a tour today – up to Big View to see the view and the orchids.  They loved it, and Jackie was excited to go back and look at her bluff prairies – she says they have about 5.  Later we walked up to Hidden Oaks to collect some seeds, and discovered at least 30 monarchs, probably more (I actually counted 30), nectaring on Showy Goldenrod in Hidden Oaks Meadow.  We saw a few monarchs migrating, but the peak of the migration is past, so there weren’t many anywhere else.

Still a few monarchs migrating and nectaring, although all the flowers except the asters are starting to fade.  There were lots of butterflies – mostly sulphurs and commas or question marks.  One Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, and one Mourning Cloak.   I found Fringed Gentians blooming in the wet part of East Center Valley – I had planted the seeds there, but I never really expect that the good ones will grow.  I also saw several plants, not blooming, of Cup Plant.

My big project for the day was to try using the sprayer, and spray the Reed Canary Grass that we mowed a few weeks ago.  It was beginning to come back, and that’s supposed to be a good time to spray with Rodeo.  I did it, and the sprayer worked fine, but next time I think I should let it grow a little taller – there were lots of areas where there was no grass growing, only dead stems.  And it was hard to see where I had already sprayed – I don’t know how to solve that problem.  I did the best I could, and I’ll go back next week and see where I missed.

We sat on the bench at Hidden Oaks Prairie and watched a Red Tailed Hawk, and a small hawk, and a Monarch – all in the same view from the binoculars.