[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main East Center Valley page.]
This photo was taken from the road, looking north into our property, in the summer of 2000.
You can see both halves of the valley planted in soybeans, and the line of trees which marks an intermittent stream down the middle. Pat’s Prairie is the field on the left, East Center Valley is the field on the right.
This photo looks south, so East Center Valley is on the left, and the intermittent stream is next to the driveway on the right.
The southern part of East Center Valley is very wet and hasn’t been cultivated since at least the early 1970s. Wetland sedges and flowers have become established there, and are starting to creep into the cultivated area. The edges of the field next to the driveway (and the driveway itself) are also quite wet, especially in the spring.
The field is steeply sloped, and the soybeans had only been planted on the bottom half. The top half is much steeper, and hasn’t been cultivated for a long time except as a hay field. The story we heard is that one of the farmers rolled a tractor there, and since then no one has farmed it. The upper area has vegetation typical of old fields – Field Brome (Bromus inermis), Quackgrass (Agropyron repens), Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense), and Raspberries (Rubus sp.).
Fall 2000 – looking across Pat’s Prairie to East Center Valley Prairie. The soybeans are dry and ready for harvest along the bottom of the field. Along the top is the old hay field.