September 20th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

A midday walk

Yes, it was warm (hot!) and muggy, but we went out anyway to see a new plant of Big Bluestem, the first that sprouted on its own on this land for many, many years.  We aren't sure if it was from seed we purchased (it's the only one to come up anywhere that we planted seed) or from seed of one of the root transplants we put out three years ago.  But it's a milestone in restoring native grasses to the land.  Big Bluestem is one of the climax grasses of the tallgrass prairie, and 100 years ago it was all over here.  You can spot its few remaining colonies along back roads here in the fall--it turns a gorgeous purple-brown and the flowers and seedheads gave it the country name of "turkeyfoot."  It doesn't show that here (a wind was blowing it around) but you can really see the difference in height and color from the other grasses (here, mostly King Ranch Bluestem, a nonnative planted by the previous tenant.)

It was hot and muggy out in the field, so we went into the woods to cool off--and found marvels.  The south creek woods looks especially beautiful when there's water in the east overflow channel--as there still is.  Leaves are already falling--here, the small gold and brown leaves of cedar elm--and the ones on the trees are softening their summer greens to golden-greens and yellows.  In floods, the water flows over the ground here two feet deep or more.

One of today's marvels was a Pale-faced Clubskimmer, a new dragonfly find for the place.  Believe it or not, the eyes are a deep blue-green (or green-blue.)