Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day after 16th Annual Prairie Burn

The view from our deck this morning.

Yes, we do burn every year because the area is a floodplain and produces so much vegetation. Please note the intentionally unburned areas on the right and very back of the prairie, leaving some bird and insect habitat intact.

Annual Prairie Burn

Prescribed burn (photo by Rachel Smith)This was the 16th burn of the tall grasses (Big Bluestem, Indian grass, Switch grass, and various forb stems) in the bottom floodplain at Habitat Home. We were a little reluctant to do the burn yesterday (Friday, March 25th) as there was not much wind (wind speed 5 mph with gusts to 8 mph) and it was cold (39 degrees). However, neighbors Tom, Sue, Rachel, Jake and friend Phillip, neighbors Betsy and Peter, and Master Naturalist Eileen were all able to help out despite the short notice. (It is spring break after all!)

We gathered together at 1 pm. Lex was the burn boss and explained the plan to the group. Everyone was outfitted in cotton clothes, boots, gloves, flappers and handkerchiefs. Water, both for drinking and fire suppression, was readily available. The local volunteer fire department was notified as were the neighbors. The burn was started against the wind, along the west edge and south borders, then moving to the upwind side along the east and north edges. It was one of the most classic burns, actually putting itself out when the various lines met. We were treated to high leaping flames and the heat from the fire was welcomed on such a cool day. The 5 acres were burned in less than 90 minutes. Thank you neighbors for all your flapping, and thank you Rachel for the photojournalism and permission to use this photo.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trash removal

Or is it Art?

We usually try to remove objects when they first float in, but for some reason this tire has remained in its artful position till today.

Today the weather was great for a spring cleanup. This time of year it is easy to spot trash that has been previously hidden by leaves, plants and snow.

This year there were a lot of plastic bottles, the usual aluminum cans, Styrofoam items and another tire. Unfortunately we were not prepared to haul out the old refrigerator that floated in. Wonder how we are going to get rid of that? It truly is not a piece of art.