Monday, July 1, 2024

Very Rough Row to Hoe

Our Road when we awakened June 22

June was a surreal month here.  We had been getting a great deal of rain, and were so happy to have it that I guess we forgot to turn off the faucet!  That can happen to a person when they couldn't buy a drop to save themselves for the past 4 years.

But it was too much rain...way too much, and it kept falling - especially to our north and in southern  Minnesota.  We are downstream of course.

We lost our bridge up on the highway; it was washed out underneath on the east end.  The water you see in the photo above was much, much higher before we were awake and aware that there was trouble during the night.  All that you see in the photo and far behind me was under a "rushing" current, for at least an eighth of a mile.  I estimate the water level had dropped at least 18" before this photo was taken.


About 45 minutes later I took this photo of the neighbor's pasture across the road.

Things weren't nearly as bad here as the communities had up along the border and south along the Little and Big Sioux Rivers.  Most notably Spencer, and Rock Valley, but Spencer, being a much larger community, suffered a much greater loss of homes and businesses.  It's been a week now since the flooding occurred and all communities and people affected are still dealing with it and will be for a long time to put it mildly I am afraid.

With all the rain we've had since May (June alone has recorded over 10 inches at our place) all of the pastures in the region look like they're on steroids.  Our north pasture is TALL and filled with plants.  The south pasture seeding just before Christmas is showing a lot of seedlings popping up here and there.  I had spent some time back in late April knocking brome back, but should have continued as its getting tall enough again to shade the new growth out.  Never a finished job around here. 

We've had a good bird population again, but as you can see in the flooded pasture photo, it looks like our Bobolink broods did not survive.  Unlike the other grassland nesters, the Bobolinks do not re-nest, just another casualty of this weather.  Even some roadside nesters like the Red-wing Blackbirds and Dickcissels were set back, yet those will retry with the summer still ahead.  Bobolinks, however are summer nomads and after the first week or so of July, flock together and spend their remaining summer wandering about.


The Bobolink nests were flooded out this year; we hope next year is kinder to all of us!

In trying to keep up with photographing/documenting all the prairie plants this year, I decided to try something different.  I began recording a very short video of each forb, grass, invertebrate, critter, whatever, to give a glimpse into what is sharing this place with us.  I'm calling these very brief glimpses "Prairie Moments".  I've been posting these 1-3 times a week on my Face Book pages, and sharing to other pages for the Iowa Prairie Network, the Flora of Iowa page, the Iowa Wildflower Enthusiasts page and the Iowa Wildflower Report pages.  I have not gone to other social media sites like Instagram and seriously doubt I will...I have enough trouble just doing this blog most months!  And the Face Book entries keep me pretty busy anyway.

If you are not a Face Book user (I do not blame you if you aren't!) then you can visit my You Tube Channel, which I have a couple that I've used since the early 2000's.  The channel the "Prairie Moments" videos (and many others) can be found on are at this link -

I'll insert one of the "Prairie Moments" here too so you can have a quick look!

 (If the video preview above does not work on your device - just click on this link directly to You Tube - )


Rain storms the new "Norm"...photograph - ©Bruce A. Morrison

I was just reading an article on our planet's warming trend.  It seems that for every degree rise (I assume Fahrenheit but maybe they were referring to Centigrade?), the atmosphere takes on an additional 4% of water vapor...the atmosphere so far has had to take on an additional 10+% of water vapor and it cannot hold it.  We end up with more rain and larger rain events.  I guess our current condition  (in our region) is also due to a large heat dome over New England; this moisture cannot pass through that heat dome and it all visits us instead.

So it appears we are still stuck in a storm/rain pattern here for the foreseeable future...hunkering down for a heavy rain even as I type this entry.  We'll all do our best to adjust...what else can we do?  

We truly need to be more in tune to this planet we all share.  We are responsible in the end!

Stay safe out there and be good to one another