[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main Hidden Oaks Point page.]
3/27/2004 Mike burning some of the brush piles we made when we cleared the point last fall. We don’t do this any more – it takes too long. Now we make piles out of the way in the woods and let them decompose.
8/2/2003 The oaks behind the bench
8/2/2004 This summer it was hard to tell where the burn was. The burn area looked pretty much like the rest of the prairie.
8/15/2004 Purple Prairie Clover and Leadplant
8/15/2004 Stiff Goldenrod
9/6/2004 This is a ‘before’ picture looking back into the woods from the point. Later in the fall we cleared out much of the brush under these trees, and now it looks quite different.
9/18/2004 Looking into Hidden Oaks Meadow. The apple tree is in the middle of the entrance to the meadow, but it’s such a big, beautiful tree, and unlike most of the apple trees scattered around our land, it produces pretty edible apples, so I’ve never wanted to cut it down. The area just in front of the apple tree has lots of asters – mostly Sky Blue Aster.
This fall we decided to try opening up the overgrown savanna area on the top of the point. North of the dry bluff prairie, the point widens out and becomes flatter, with scattered Black and Burr Oaks, White Birch, and American Elm. Under the trees is a thick growth of Prickly Ash and Gray Dogwood.
10/18/2004 Some of the brush we were clearing
10/18/2004 Here’s Mike working on the brush with his Powertrac – his new tractor that can work on a 45 degree slope.
10/18/2004 He had a pretty good time!
10/18/2004 The savanna is getting cleared out.
10/18/2004 And here’s the final result – lots of space under the trees. We left all the oaks and all the elms. The elms are dying of Dutch Elm Disease, so they’ll provide woodpecker habitat for a few years and then the savanna will be even more open.
10/18/2004 Here’s a series of photos looking south, through the savanna toward the prairie point. This first one is just before we started clearing.
10/18/2004 This is after mowing a loop around the thickest part of the brush.
10/18/2004 This is mowed, but there are still brush piles.
10/18/2004 And this is the way it looked at the end of the project – cleared so that we can see from the north end of the savanna area to the point.
10/18/2004 Looking south from the point
10/18/2004 This is the brush pile from the project. We piled it in the the field that eventually became the Narrows Prairie – just north of Hidden Oaks – so we could burn it in a safe place.
11/6/2004 Now another project – more clearing at the bottom of the point
11/6/2004 We were trying to clear brush from the center of the point – on the left side of the photo.
11/6/2004 Mike (trying out his new tractor) drove up the point, through the woods, mowing out whatever he could.
11/6/2004 He made it almost all the way to the top.
11/6/2004 Looking at the mowed area from the top.
11/21/2004 The point – after mowing, but before we started cutting birches.
11/21/2004 Looking straight up from the bottom of the point. This small area has some interesting dry prairie plants including Hoary Frostweed (Helianthemum bicknellii) and Pinweed (Lechea sp.), which we only have in a few other places.
11/21/2004 Making piles of birches
11/21/2004 The sandy area at the bottom of the point
11/21/2004 Looking down the point into 3 Finger Valley
11/22/2004 The point from across 3 Finger Valley