Journal for January 11, 2006

It’s still warm and gray – the snow is melting away in the fields and prairies. Snow in the prairies melts faster because each stem melts a hole in the snow around it. But even in the old soybean field where I’m planting, the snow melts as I plant.


During the hunting season the deer are more careful to stay hidden. Now that hunting has been over for a month they’ve gotten braver, and they come out to graze in the fields. One evening at dusk we counted 16 in the field right next to the house.


Moth caterpillars come out on these warm days and crawl around on the snow. This is a Tiger Moth caterpillar.


I finally got all the waste from my seed cleaning operation out into the fields – it still contains lots of seeds so I like to give them a chance to grow. I divide it into wetland and prairie chaff – the prairie chaff goes onto the field next to the house, and the wetland chaff into the big area that was sprayed for Reed Canary Grass. Here’s the chaff scattered on the snow in the wetland.


There are mossy stones in the woods that are still bright green – even in winter. And this one even has a bright green dandelion plant growing on it.


There’s also green moss on a rock in the creek – it must be especially hardy moss because that rock is often underwater. And the creek has lots of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), which also stays bright green all winter.


Watercress isn’t native, and it’s invasive, but there’s so much of it around that it would be difficult to eradicate. We have it in all the little streams that lead from our springs into the creek, as well as in all the edges of the creek where there’s quiet water. Finally it looks like some sunshine is coming our way!