Journal for December 1, 2021

Fall is gradually fading into winter, but we haven’t had much snow, and most days are still warm enough to work outside.

Buffalo Ridge Prairie


We’ve had a few light snowfalls,


but they’ve melted by the next day.


Now that the plants don’t take so much of our attention, we pay more attention to the sky.  These clouds were hovering over us one day on our way back home from a project – moving and changing very slowly.


Hills on the east and west sides of our valley hide the early morning and late afternoon sun, especially in winter.  Here’s the sun setting behind the western hill.


The sun often sets just as we finish our afternoon walk.


Mike finished his part of our fall project – clearing the west edge of the Knife Edge Prairie remnant.  Now that the leaves have fallen, we can get a view of his whole project by looking across the valley from Hidden Oaks Point.


Here it is up close.  When he started it was a dense tangle of fallen logs, buckthorns, honeysuckles, Prickly Ash and Gray Dogwood.  He used two tractors – one with a mower, and one with a bucket to carry away logs and brush piles.


The finished project.


My part of the project is farther out on the point so it’s narrower and steeper.  This is when I’d just started cutting.  This view is looking straight north, so the steep slope on the left faces west. It’s densely overgrown with brush and Black Walnut trees, but there are prairie plants growing underneath.


Standing in the same place, looking south, so the west-facing slope is to the right.  My goal eventually is to clear most of the west-facing slope to restore the prairie plants that are struggling to hang on.


Here’s a before and after of this part of the project – looking north.  The ‘before’ was taken just after I started cutting.  The ‘after’ photo was taken yesterday – after cutting, but before Mike has had a chance to take away the piles.  I’d like to get to the lower part of the slope, but this is the end of the project for this year.

After 11/30/21
After 11/30/21
After 11/30/21
Before 11/19/21
Before 11/19/21


When the weather is too cold or snowy to work outside I’ve been scrolling through old photos  of moths and other insects that came to my moth lights.  I’ve been finding some treasures – interesting creatures I missed the first time.

Here are a few of the moths…

Cosmopterix fernaldella – about 5mm long, with no common name.


Raspberry Leafroller Moth.    I love to see the colors and textures on these tiny moths.


I also have lots of photos of leafhoppers.  Leafhoppers feed on the sap of leaves or stems of plants.  They’re tiny and often very colorful.  Here are a few favorites.

Red-banded Leafhopper – a fairly common hopper that eats many different plants


Prescottia lobata – no common name


Gyponana gladia – no common name

To see more, check out my page of leafhoppers that I’ve found here and have been able to identify.


A few more early winter scenes…

View from Hidden Oaks Point


Grasses and oaks on the Knife Edge Point


Mist in Center Valley


Sunset colors

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