Signage

Prairie restorations look messy and “weedy”. We’ve heard second-hand comments from people that some neighbors and other passersby think we’re lazy or don’t care what our place looks like. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and I think our place is wonderfully beautiful! At the same time, I think manicured looks, well, unnatural.

Furthermore, the county comes by at least 2-3 times per summer mowing a wide path along each side of the road. Normally, this is fine as it’s better for visibility. However, it gives the non-natives an advantage over the native prairie plants. Thus, I put up signs to ask the mowers to not mow in front of the house. So far, they are more than happy to oblige.

To help everyone understand what we’re doing, signs are helpful and I’ve had some up for a few years. This Christmas, my folks got some signs made for the place. They are awesome! Thanks!

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Finally, a plant species list for Pearl Creek Farm!

After digging through notes, field notebooks, field guides, and the furthest recesses of our memories, we’ve compiled a vascular plant species list for Pearl Creek Farm. So far, we have 221 species listed, which is not bad for 10 acres. I’ve marked several with codes indicating their native status and whether or not we “imported” them as part of one of our restorations. As you can see, we have some identification work to do on some of the plants here.

With the help of John Atwood at the Missouri Botanical Garden, I’ve also compiled a list of 16 bryophytes for the farm.

Weather Observations at Pearl Creek Farm

I love data. It turns out there’s a lot to track around the farm and I keep a variety of databases to do the heavy lifting for me. My database of choice is PostgreSQL, a poster child for open source software, which probably means nothing unless you’re a geek like me. This post is the first in a series that shows the various ways that we do science at Pearl Creek Farm!

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New Species for 2014

It’s been an interesting year at Pearl Creek Farm. Plus, we also observed some new species to add to the list.

The most exciting find for me was an Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) right at the edge of our prairie. Still, it was totally expected. In fact, it was amazing it took so long. We’d been finding them on the road within sight of our house almost since we moved in. Wait until we find our first Bullsnake!

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Mystery object

I’m sure someone will know what these are. The halves are heavier than they look and fit together to form an imperfect sphere. The whole thing looks like a petrified walnut as the two halves fit together. The smaller globe is stuck inside the larger “shell”. The objects appear to be sandstone of some type (sandstone is abundant at Pearl Creek Farm) and I’m pretty sure they’re natural but not biological in nature. They were found near the creek and we find them or something similar occasionally, sometimes not broken apart. Any guesses?

Mystery objects
Mystery objects

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