Journal for October 2003

10/4, 10/5, 10/6/03
Kevin and Arlene came to stay this weekend – a great time.

Comptons Tortoiseshells and ladybugs hatched on Sunday – all flying around the house.  Ladybugs cover the walls and windows.  Very few are flying in the wetland – so I was able to escape.  I walked out to see the Fringed Gentians – in full bloom.

The woodchuck still comes out and suns himself in front of his hole in the cliff.  He looks so fat – it’s hard to believe he can fit back in.

We picked apples from the big tree in Hidden Oaks Meadow for Arlene to make something with – Saturday we tasted apples from every tree we came to – most are pretty good.

Two odd animal noises this weekend – one was a short howl, maybe a coyote, but very short and descending in pitch – when we were sitting by the bonfire in the dark.

And the other – a very low growling noise – also at night – outside our bedroom window.

Today, for the first time, I have a computer here – my own computer, with internet access and everything.  It’s great fun.  And it means that I can keep a journal on the computer – much easier for my fingers.

Saturday was rainy and today was gorgeous – sunny and no clouds at all, and 60 degrees.  I collected seeds, and we worked on Buckthorn.  It’s easier to see Buckthorn at this time of year.  I got most of the plants along the cabin road and up to Hidden Oaks Prairie and along the Cat’s Paw.  Mike came up this afternoon and cut the biggest ones with the chain saw.

This evening, about 6:00, I walked up to Indian Grass Prairie.  After all the mowing we did on top this summer, it’s easy to get to the western slope, which is nice prairie, underneath sumac and birches.  Tomorrow I think we’ll try cutting some of that, to ‘liberate’ the prairie.  Tonight, I sat on the slope, and listened to all the migrating sparrows digging in the leaves.  There were so many of them, all over the hillside, and it was so quiet that I could hear them all.  I heard a few calls from a Barred Owl, or maybe two of them calling to each other.  It’s amazing how much you can hear when you sit quietly and just listen and watch the sun go down.

We stayed over an extra night – we worked so hard on a project yesterday that we didn’t want to drive home.  We cut down some of the birches on Indian Grass Prairie.  We cut about 15 of the smaller ones on the west side of the point.  So now the prairie looks wider, and goes down the west slope, as well as the east slope.  It wasn’t too bad – we used the gator to haul the brush into one pile, and then to haul the logs down to the edge of 3 Finger Valley.

There are small birds everywhere – in all the brush and grass and even in the soybean fields.  They are mostly juncos and migrating sparrows.  There have been Purple Finches in the feeders.

It has been a gorgeous weekend – 70 degrees and sunny skies. The Cardinal who was banging against our window has given up, but now we have a Red-bellied Woodpecker doing it. He starts at about 7:00  good thing we don’t like to sleep late, and continues for most of the day. I left newspapers covering the windows last week, for the whole week, and he’s still doing it this weekend. I can’t think of any other way to discourage him.

We tried out our idea of using the old green trailer behind the gator to haul logs, and it worked fine. We cut a wide path to the west side of the Indian Grass Prairie bluff, where there is a nice prairie. Then we cut about 15 birches that were growing in it. It’s very good exercise!

Today we’re going for a walk at Jackie’s and then maybe we’ll try taking a few birches off the Knife Edge. 

We tried cutting birches on the Knife Edge  It was too hot, so we only cut a few.  That point is so hot that we’ll have to do it on a very cool day.  And rolling the logs down the hill didn’t really work.  So we pulled them, and the brush, down to the edge of the woods, where the oaks and the raspberries start.

We saw a golden eagle, I think, gliding over Center Valley.

A big weekend for cutting birches and aspen.  We worked hard on the point below Hidden Oaks Prairie.  It looks much better – more savanna like.  There is a group of small oaks on the end, and a few cherries, and some hawthorns, which are now freed from the birches.  We got our first snow – just a few flurries.  We looked for northern lights, but there were none at all.