[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main Indian Grass Point page.]
We did a big brush clearing project on the south-east slope of the point this year. We started on October 1, and finished just before the snow arrived. We cleared out most of the brush and small trees on a big piece of that hillside – it’s much more open now. Eventually we hope to hire some folks to take out some of the trees that are too large for us to handle, leaving just the largest oaks.
I also did some smaller projects, clearing brush and invasives from some of the savanna and prairie areas we’ve worked on in the past. I worked especially hard on the brush and raspberry thickets around the bottom edges of the bluff prairie.
1/1/2016 Indian Grass Point in the foreground with the Knife Edge Point beyond.
2/21/2016 This is the front of the bluff, right above the house, showing our path up to the top. We cleared the lower part of this slope last fall.
2/22/2016 Indian Grass Point and the Knife Edge Point
2/27/2016 View from the point, over Center Valley
3/7/2016 This is the top of the point, with dry prairie right at the top, sloping down into oak woods. I’m gradually working to clear away brush and raspberries so the prairie extends down farther.
3/7/2016 Looking from the point, down through the oak woods to the house. We’re hoping to get this area cleared of small trees in the near future.
4/8/2016 The south-east facing slope – another place I’m trying to clear of brush, raspberries and weeds.
4/10/2016 One of our restored savanna projects on top of the point.
4/10/2016 More restored savanna
4/18/2016 This was taken right after Mike did some spring mowing.
4/21/2016 A drone photo showing the south and west sides of the point
4/22/2016 Wood Anemones
4/25/2016 Wood Betony
4/25/2016 Seed pods of Indian Pipe
5/2/2016 Drone photo of the top of the point – showing the dry prairie and savanna restorations
5/12/2016 Wood Betony blooming on the front cleared slope.
7/8/2016 Common Milkweed, Prairie Coreopsis and Harebell in the dry prairie
8/7/2016 Top of the south-east facing slope, at the bottom of the dry prairie and just above the woods
10/16/2016 This is the path up the hill behind the house. The lower part of the slope is very open, but the upper part still has lots of small oaks that that we need to cut.
10/17/2016 This shows the thicket of small oaks filling the upper part of the slope.
10/17/2016 Just above the thicket of small oaks is the beginning of the dry prairie point. I’m still working to clear it of brush, and the prairie is reaching farther down the slope.
10/17/2016 Restored savanna
10/17/2016 Restored savanna
10/20/2016 The hillside above the house has lots of birch logs on the ground, from all the trees I’ve girdled. It takes a long time for them to decompose, and the bark lasts an especially long time. Last year I slit the bark on a few of the logs to see if that would speed up the decomposition. It worked pretty well.
10/20/2016 So this year I slit some more of the logs. I use the small electric chainsaw – it’s very quick since the interior is often partly decomposed already. I didn’t slit all of them – the logs provide habitat for overwintering insects, so I wanted to leave them some options.
Here’s our big fall project – clearing out the south-east facing woods.
10/1/2016 This is the ‘before’ photo – just before we started, looking up toward the point.
10/1/2016 Another ‘before’ photo – looking along the woods toward the house.
10/1/2016 And another – looking through the woods along the edge.
10/2/2016 After a few days we could start seeing a difference – the edge was the thickest part, and it took us the longest.
10/10/2016 Starting to see some progress – we can see up into the woods a little.
10/17/2016 This is looking into the woods from the top – still pretty thick. We started our clearing at the bottom of the slope, so the view from here didn’t change much until we were nearly at the end of the project.
10/17/2016 A slightly different view from the top
10/24/2016 Working on cutting honeysuckle in the woods
11/5/2016 We tried doing this project in a slightly different way. Always before Mike would cut with the chainsaw and weed whacker, and I would come along behind him, pile the cut brush, and spray all the stumps I could find. This time I went in first and cut the brush with a hand clipper and my small chainsaw, spraying the stumps as I went along. That way I could cut and treat the smaller stems – like raspberries – and I didn’t miss treating any stumps. After I did the initial clearing, Mike went in with his larger chainsaw, cut the bigger trees, and treated the stumps. This way was a bit slower, but much more thorough, and I think I’ll have to do less cleanup next year.
11/17/2016 Finally looking more open from the top.
11/20/2016 The last photo before the snow.