Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Prairie Walk

When Rog and I walk  through the prairie we are usually accompanied by an entourage: the two dogs and Orange the cat (plus our 6 turkeys last summer.)  The dogs zig and zag ahead and behind, presumably on the trail of rabbits.  Orange usually scampers behind us, occasionally detouring to zip up and down a tree.  Or to imagine he is a mountain lion prowling on the big rock.
About half of our prairie is actually an ephemeral wetland---early in the spring it is marshy and there are scattered small pools, but by summer they seep into the ground and it is grassy and dry unless we get unusually heavy rains.
The other odd characteristic of our little piece of prairie is that it is scattered with many large rocks and boulders that were left by a glacier.  Someday we would love to invite a geologist here to walk the land with us and tell us more about how this land was formed.
Many years ago the land was planted with timothy grass and cows were pastured in it.  I cannot imagine how any farming equipment could have navigated through the rocks. When that idea was abandoned,  was that when the invasives (buckthorn and wild parsnip) had their opportunity to gain such a strong foothold?
We came upon a couple of curiosities during our walk. First, an area where the surface of the ground was riddled with a maze of winding,  tunnel-like paths. Were they created by mice or voles beneath the snow last  winter?
In another area overgrown with sumac there were dozens of mounds of freshly dug dirt at the base of the sumac bushes. Gophers? Moles?  Why in the stand of sumacs?
A self-portrait taken at arms-length on our walk.  My spring plumage is quite red!


Nonna said...

you are just beautiful! So photogenic! Roger's not bad either :) Julia

Jennifer Koski said...

Your pictures make me long to live in the country. :)