Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tallgrass Autumn

The "back 80" behind Prairie Hill Farm

It's no longer summer! Well, it still feels like summer...except it's beginning to get dark a lot earlier than I'd gotten used to. The trees are beginning to turn here and there too, but not quite dramatic enough yet.

Probably the biggest giveaway here in NW Iowa is the crops. The soybeans are really turning yellow and then amber as they drop their leaves - this can be quite dramatic when the light is fleeting as cloud shadows dance across the larger landscape.

My favorite autumn effect here however is the prairie. The forbs and grasses here never fail to satisfy; I can't remember a fall without the grasses and the wildflower "plants" turning wonderful vibrant color. We don't have the benefit of the amazing autumn landscapes of the NE United States, nor the wonderful north woods transformation we've witnessed on the north shore of Lake Superior, but we've got something very special in it's own right.

Indian grass and New Enland Aster

Autumn here also means the last flowers of the season - mainly the asters, sunflowers, and gentians. The asters here on our prairie remnant are a real joy to behold. Tuck these great fall forbs between Indian grass, or Big or Little bluestem and they're even more beautiful and vibrant.

Ya the autumnal equinox has arrived and passed here on the tallgrass...this is definitely a time to enjoy, as we did last summer!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Short Note

Just a short note for those who may subscribe to this blog. The video link I gave on the blog yesterday seems to only show on the blog site itself and not on the emailed version for subscribers.

To see the blog exactly as it's formatted originally, just click on the header that is on the emailed version (if you subscribe) and it'll take you to the blog site's original blog.

Thank you!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Late Summer Migration

Monarch on Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

Mid September and it's still barely summer; the mornings and evenings are now sweatshirt or light jacket affairs out here in the countryside! One thing Georgie and I really enjoy watching is the Monarch Butterfly migration. You really know it's taking place when the acreage trees begins to fill with dozens, then hundreds of Monarchs each evening. The pasture is always full of lots of butterflies in the late summer, but when the Monarchs pass through, the numbers really swell!

I videotaped the migration in the yard this year. If you have a decent connection speed, try giving the video a watch here (above)...there's a lot happening now at this time of the year, be sure and drop what you're doing on occasion and go out and look...and enjoy!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Late Summer on the Tallgrass

I may not be alone in this - I do like fall, but I sure hate seeing summer coming to it's end for the year. I also think I've developed this feeling over the years, it's not something I've felt strongly about all along.

With all the work I've been wading through these weeks, I've had to remind myself (or Georgie has) that I need to stop and take a breather outside every now and then.

Dotted liatris

I've been taking breaks out on our prairie remnant lately, trying to glimpse the last plants to celebrate the year. Among what I love the most are the Dotted liatris and the Prairie onions; I'd hate to miss out on theses beautiful magenta prairie flowers.

Prairie Onion

It's a good thing, to stand down during your day and take in the natural world; I hope you're finding a moment during your day to do the same. It'll be fall soon and, hey, it'll be a great time to enjoy as well!