Journal for October 13, 2010

This was a big week at the farm.  A crew of Prairie Enthusiasts came out to help cut sumac on one of our big remnants.  It’s the first time we’ve had so much help – it was great!  We got a lot cut and I think everyone had a good time.

Here we are getting organized.

We drove part of the way.

A pick-up truck full of folks

I forgot something and Mike came, in his all-terrain Lexus, to deliver it.

Here’s the crew working on the prairie. We were cutting those dense thickets of Sumac.

The thickets are pretty dense – we were cutting in crowded, prickly, scratchy places.

The view

One of the cut areas – some of the guys got into felling trees too.

There are big patches of the prairie that are much more open now.   The dead branches should disappear after a year or two.

A break for lunch

Joe eating his lunch in an old oak

The crew

Afterward I took a few hardy folks on a long walk to see some of the other prairies.  Here we are inspecting Great Plains Ladies Tresses – an orchid that grows in dry goat prairies.

Sunset – after the crew went home

Another – smaller – project Mike and I did was to start clearing one of the areas where I’ve girdled the aspens and birches.  Most of the trees have died, and many have fallen down, but a few are still standing.  Mike discovered that he can drive into dead trees with his bucket to knock them down.  And it’s fun!

Here he is, driving toward a dead aspen.

The tree is falling……

And it’s down.

I’m still putting up lights once in a while to see which moths stay out this late in the year.   There are some familiar ones.

Dozens of Bent-line Carpets

The Gem

And one new one – a Nameless Pinion (thanks to a bugguide contributor for help with the id)

These insects were all sipping sap from the branch of a honeysuckle bush.  I didn’t realize that honeysuckle had tasty sap, but it looks like sometimes it does.  There were actually several butterflies flying around, but only one landing at a time.  The insects are: an Eastern Comma (butterfly), a fly, two Asian Lady Beetles, and some kind of stink bug or shield bug.

Sunset in Buffalo Ridge Prairie

A Red Maple in the woods

We took another long boat ride on the Mississippi River.  It’s still flooding, but it’s gone down a little from last week.

The fall reflections are wonderful

As it started to get dark, we saw thousands of Common Grackles.  They sat in the trees, clucking and chattering, and then flew across the water to roost in the trees.

Sunset over the marsh that we drive through to get back to the boat landing