Friday, August 31, 2012

Fallen Tree

 Most dead trees at Habitat Home are left standing till they fall. So, we often have to spend a morning or afternoon cleaning up a dead fallen tree that happens to fall across a path.  The job is made easier with a chain saw and the decision to leave most  fallen wood on the ground close to where it fell (but off the path).  The discussion this morning was whether to leave the fallen logs along the bank or move them farther from the river.  We decided to leave them along the  river bank as we noticed more vegetative growth along banks with fallen logs than those without woody debris.  The river path at Habitat Home is shown below.  Before and after our morning's workout. Maybe the remainder of the dead tree will just fall towards the river next time.


Friday, August 17, 2012


Gray hairstreak (Strymon meli)Cloudless sulfur (Phoebis sennae)
We have not seen a lot of butterflies this summer.  The drought and being away on vacation are two good reason why.  So, it was nice to see these two butterflies  out and about today.  A gray hairstreak Strymon melinus and a cloudless sulfur Phoebis sennae.  Besides being photographed on the same day do you know what else these butterflies have in common?  They share a host plant, wild senna Cassia hebecarpa, which grows at Habitat Home.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Iron Weed

They don't call Vernonia noveboracensis Iron Weed for just any odd  reason.  It is tough as iron.  Blooming beautifully despite the severe  drought we are experiencing here in East Central Illinois. We had been vacationing out West.  We grew more and more concerned with the lack of rain reported back home.  When we did return we found a parched and brown lawn, some dead shrubs, but as expected, the prairie plants were blooming, liatris, butterfy weed, sunflowers, and rattlesnake master to name a few others.  One noticeable difference in the prairie is the grasses, mostly Big Blue, Switch and Indian.  They are not nearly as tall as in previous years, but still green and growing.