Monday, October 24, 2011

Indian Summer

"Mid October Along Waterman"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
I've visited Indian Summer in past blogs, its such a bitter sweet time of the year (as memories of Indian Summers past are as well).  I can't get over the transformation the landscape undergoes at this time either.  Here, its been very dry, not like drought stricken areas in the south and southwest but dry for "here"; nearly no rain of consequence since July...none measurable here at Prairie Hill Farm since August or early September.

I looked forward to walking the Waterman when fall took hold in the valley here, but it was so dry and windy for an extended period that the leaves simply dried up, turned brown and dropped!  That is when the landscape takes on a new character and visually becomes more elusive for "me".

I like this time of the year.  I enjoy time in the warm sun with a cool/crisp air about, making things very pleasant.  A good hike doesn't seem as taxing in the fall...the usual tormenting entourage of insects have "mostly" abated.  Birds are moving through; the music is different but contemplative.  

On the day this image was taken, the banks and sand bars were hopping with small Eastern Chorus Frogs out sunning themselves, basking in the warmth of an Indian Summer day.  I haven't seen that in many years...what good fortune for me!  

Eastern Bluebirds lined the fence lines when I come up upon a field; their sweet understated conversations were relayed down the line from post to post, wire to wire.  What pleasantry!  

A Beaver dam came into view and I walked around and above it...there laid the cache, or beginnings of one for their winter storage.  It wasn't a high dam but the pool behind was substantial...I'd watched two Beaver downstream from here about 3 weeks earlier, I'm sure this is their lair. 

One thing I found very interesting about this dam was the materials used were largely made up of Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa)!  There was a thick stand of it on the south bank above the dam and this is where the Beaver were cutting dam materials.  I didn't see evidence of it cached for food though...I wondered about that...

I have never seen a stand of Amorpha fruticosa anywhere in this county (O'Brien) until this year, and this section of Waterman Creek south of us has the largest population I've found in this county.  We are just too dry of an area here and our plants are typically lacking in wetter habitat type species.  But this section of Waterman had other "pockets" of wetland species too...rushes, Northern Arrowhead (Sagittaria cuneata), Bur Marigold (Bidens aristosa) and others.

I followed all kinds of tracks along the creek all the way back to the road, a section of ground away; its been a long walk...I hope its not too long before the next one!  Its a tough job but someone's gotta do it!  :)

Happy Indian Summer, hope to see you on the tallgrass! 

No comments:

Post a Comment