Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yellow days on the prairie

We took a quick trip to the prairie tonight and it is really yellow. The goldenrod, stiff sunflowers and maximillian sunflowers are the dominant flowers. Plus liatris aspera, silky aster and monarda togive a little purple splash.

The grass on the new prairie is taller than the jeep. It was like driving through a forest as the sunlight barely reached the windows as we drove in.

My nose and eyes are itching from the ragweed pollen. The plain, ugly, green plant produces billions of grains of pollen that float on the wind to cause hay fever in many people - including me. The poor goldenrod often gets blamed for hay fever. Its showy flowers are full of heavy yellow pollen. But the pollen is too heavy to float on the wind. All goldenrods depend on insects to carry the pollen from flower to flower.

Monday, August 17, 2009


There is a bumper crop of chokecherries this year. I picked enough berries off of the tree in my yard to make 2 batches of juice. There are many more on the tree, I just picked the ones I could reach easily. I managed to boil them down and press out the juice, then add LOTS of sugar and a little Certo to the juice and boil it into jelly.
I had never done the juice part before, Mom always made the juice and I sometimes helped with the jelly. It would have been more fun with her, but it went OK. Poppy helped me find the recipes and all the supplies were still in the basement. I can handle the Hot Water Bath method of canning. We'll see if I get bold enough to take out the pressure canner this summer to preserve beans. That is a much harder process.

We planted a tree in the yard yesterday. It took us 3 days to dig the hole. I chose a spot where another tree once stood, so of course, we hit massive roots. Poppy sharpened his big chisels and brought them over. Tom and I took turns chopping the roots over several evenings. At last, the hole was big enough and the autumn blaze maple is in the ground. Sophie picked it out when we visited Morning Sky Greenery the week before.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Purple phase

The prairie has its purple robe on. Purple prairie clover, leadplant, and wild bergamot are the most prominent flowers right now and they are all purple. There are a few yellows in the mix with the early and stiff sunflowers, a few golden rods throughout and the two yellow coneflowers on the new prairie. These pictures were all taken on the original prairie. It is so beautiful after the burn this spring.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Turtle nest

When we parked the jeep on the prairie last night, I noticed a hole right next to the road. Poppy thought he saw sea shells around the edges. In the past, we have found small bones near fox dens, but sea shells would be something very new. Upon further investigation, the small white things looked more like little curls of plastic. Kind of like what you get when you peel a label off a soda bottle. I also found a ping pong ball - but it had something in it. It had a small dry rattly sound when I shook it. Oh wait - that does not make sense either... Then we realized - it had to have been a turtle nest that had been discovered by a predator. The little white things were the egg shells and the ping pong ball was a dead egg.

Poor turtles - but that is how it goes. Bad for turtles, good for the predator.