Journal for January 12, 2007

We’ve been going in and out of winter for the last few weeks – first the ground froze, and then thawed; we got two snowstorms and they both melted away. So we still have a very brown landscape and I haven’t gotten much seeding done.

One of the snowstorms was a wonderful one on New Year’s Eve. We woke up New Year’s Day to about 3 inches of soft white snow and brilliant sunshine.

Beaver lake


Center valley

Footprints – mouse and rabbit

I walked up to Western Prairie and did my first seeding for the new prairie.

Here are some of the trees on the way up the hill.

Unfortunately, the snow didn’t last long. By last weekend it was completely gone.

The ground has been thawing during the day, and sometimes even at night, so we’ve been hesitant to do any logging. But it’s good weather for working on the part of Hidden Oaks Point that’s too rocky to mow. I’ve been clipping and spraying the cut stumps of mostly Prickly Ash and Gray Dogwood. I’ve cleared a large area now, and liberated 6 or 7 small Burr Oaks.

The next part of the project is to clear the clump of trees at the base of the point (at the left in the picture). That will mean cutting some small trees, but then I hope we’ll be able to mow the rest.

I took a long walk at dusk one night and heard two owls – Barred and Great Horned – and saw a buck standing on the ridge of Western Field against the sunset.

We had a second snowstorm – just enough to turn the roads white.

The roads are especially visible from above in this weather – we can see them snaking through the woods and across the valleys.

Here are some winter fungi – brightly colored in this warm, wet weather. They’re called Turkey Tails (Trametes sp.)). I think they’re T. versicolor.

I’ve been noticing lots of trees with Pileated Woodpecker holes. Pileated Woodpeckers make large, square, messy holes, with wood chips scattered all around them.

They eat mostly insects, and seem to especially like the aspens that I’ve girdled. The first time I saw this tree it had one hole from each side of the tree, one just above the other, each one going all the way through to the bark on the far side.

The next time I saw the tree it had broken and fallen over

and the Woodpecker had started new holes on the next tree.

Here’s a Fox Squirrel enjoying our birdfeeders.