Sunday, August 18, 2013

Still August...Still Hanging In There!

"Sunrise at O'Brien No.1"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view

Its surprising how quickly this summer is flying by...but August has been different in some ways.  Kind of like slow motion, yet at the speed of "life" if-you-will.  We've had events of great joy, some not and some yet to happen, it makes for a suppressed level of creativity...I talked sparingly about this in my last blog.  But I have been tending to business and yesterday morning (Saturday) I kicked myself out of bed early and drove down to a spot I hadn't visited for some time.  The sunrise wasn't overly spectacular but very pleasant; a quiet/still dew laden morning with low lying fog in the valley below.  I have talked about this area on occasion in the past; it is part of the Waterman Prairie complex but I refer to it as O'Brien No.1 because the person who first identified it as a prairie of importance gave it that identification in her report.  

Ada Hayden was the first woman botanist at Iowa State University, she has been credited with publishing the best native flora survey of any part of Iowa. And she campaigned for a system of prairie preserves, two of which were later named the Hayden and the Kalsow prairies.  

"Wild Rose hips from O'Brien No.1" 
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Hayden received a grant one summer in the early 1940's to travel the state, make a census of remaining tallgrass prairies and make recommendations for preservation.  O'Brien No.1 was her identification for this site and she recommended its preservation to the state.  It took a while but in the mid 1990's the location was finally purchased by the state as part of the Waterman Prairie complex.  Ada is one of my heroes (OK "heroines") of our nearly vanished Tallgrass Prairie...I have several but she is definitely a kindred spirit at the top of the list.

 "Early Light on Dog Creek"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Its getting into the later part of August and the landscape and plants are showing the signs...I'm beginning to see swelling flower buds of Liatris aspera, the Solidago sp., and the color of wild rose hips are taking on a bright red hue...the warm season grasses are in flower or finishing up.  There is even a hint of yellow in the Cottonwood leaves along the creeks and streams in the valley.

Here at the studio we are seeing more hummingbirds than just our resident nesting pair, the Red-headed Woodpecker's off-springs are sporting their strange black heads, and we're overrun with the fresh crop of youngster Orchard and Baltimore Orioles.  

The dawn chorus had changed permanently till fall; I do not like that.  I already miss the overlapping cacophony of bird song beginning at predawn.  I still catch the Song Sparrows, Sedge Wrens and Dickcissels in the early morning walks or evening respite, but its a sign of change from a season that is just too short even more so at this youg'uns will understand clearly someday.

The other change I led into in the last blog has not changed.  The transmission line process will be a long one, it will shadow us for at least the next couple years.  I will speak more on it after the required "public meeting" next week.  Until then - savor each moment left of summer!

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