Jan 01

Work: winter mowing

Posted: under Activities, Equipment, Land.
Tags: ,  January 1st, 2009

The remnant pocket prairie in the creek woods that we call the “entrance meadow (it’s almost enclosed by woods and is the formal entrance to the thickest part of them)  was for the first six years the best seed bank we had of original native plants.  Little bluestem, Indiangrass, sideoats grama, Maximilian sunflower, pitcher sage, Illinois basketflower, brown-eyed Susan, gayfeather, and others are all found in this small area.  Now that we have established other seed-source areas, we’re not as dependent on it, but we still want to maintain it as a pocket prairie, not let it be overgrown with greenbriar, cedar elm, roughleaf dogwood.

So, every winter, I mow it, on the highest setting the small mower can give (the large mower won’t even get into it.)    Today was a good day for that, so today I got it done.   I don’t try to break down  all the tall stalks of the forbs (that takes repeated passes)  but do try to knock them about and cut the grass at about 4.5 inches.   “About” because it’s not absolutely level.  In the scheme of things, this counts as “habitat management.”

On the way back, I mowed one of the work trails (useful for censusing grassland birds, among other things.)

Other work today (some done by R-) included checking all the wildlife waterers and putting out feed for migrant birds.  That, of course, falls under “supplemental water” and “supplemental feeding.”

Comments (0)

Dec 28

Equipment failure

Posted: under Equipment.
Tags: , ,  December 28th, 2008

If you have land, you have equipment (if it’s no more than a shovel, a clamshell posthole digger, and a fence tool.)    And equipment fails.

I went out today to check the water at both Fox and Owl, put out more feed for the winter-resident birds, and change the memory cards in the two game-cams.  We got those last spring (well, we borrowed a friend’s for a month to try it out) and they’ve been very helpful.   They have a feature that lets you enter a security code so the camera won’t work for anyone else and they have a digital display that has a variety of messages and lets you see that you’re entering the security code correctly.

About two months ago, the display began to “break up”–not all  the pixels of all the letters would show.  The camera still worked, though, and I could still enter the code.   I thought maybe the batteries were running low, so I changed them…but the display still looked spotty.  It’s gotten much worse in the last month (I  change out the memory cards on the last weekend of the month) and today I was unable to get the first camera to accept the code and go back to work.  The second did it, but if it goes the way of the other, it won’t work after the next changeout.

Just in case the local store had old, not strong batteries, I’ll buy new batteries at a store with more turnover, but I’m afraid some internal chip may be degrading for some reason.   It continued to take pictures (I’ve looked at what’s on the memory card–perfectly good video and still pictures, which is why I doubt it’s the batteries.)  These cameras are supposed to be able to handle any outdoor setting and until this happened I was pleased with them and hoped to order a couple more.

Comments (0)