The front year prairie gets most of the attention, but there are lots of other great things happening at Pearl Creek Farm. Here’s a few we found today.
After nearly three years of planning and preparation, I sowed about 1/3 of an acre today with native seeds. Preparation included multiple passes with herbicide, including spot sprayings over more than two years. This year, I spent a great deal of time collecting native seeds from the surrounding counties. Today, right after our snow accumulation, Julian and I sowed them into two new areas (see map). This leaves a small “domestic” area between the workshop and the shed where we’ll have a garden, a fire pit, and continue to keep mowed and semi-manicured.
It’s been several months, but we saw the mink again today.
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!
So, I’m a bit late posting this since we appear to be out of the woods, so to speak. Yesterday, we went through some preparation for the ice storm forecast. That included saving back some water and storing the pictured wood in the garage for easy access.
Last year, we converted our gas fireplace back to burn wood again in anticipation of another ice storm that didn’t really materialize. The thought behind this was that we could live through a day or two without power if we could keep a fire burning.
Inexpensive digital camera technology has revolutionized our ability to see all kinds of hidden things. Before, we might catch a fleeting glimpse of a wild animal here or there, but their lives remained a secret. Some we wouldn’t see at all. Here at Pearl Creek, we try to put out cameras every winter to see what is out and about.
Mostly, we photograph squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, and possums. Occasionally, we’ll get feral dogs or cats. Sometimes we get deer and turkey or even a bobcat or coyote. Interestingly, we’ve never photographed (or seen) a fox at Pearl Creek Farm.
Read on to see some of our photographs from this winter!
We went to great lengths to protect the water lines underneath the bathroom. I never dreamed the water lines for the kitchen, protected by a sub-basement, would cause any problems. Boy, was I wrong. The photograph below doesn’t look too bad, but imagine it filled with books and important papers. Luckily, this area was mostly filled with things we were probably going to discard anyway (or might have kept, but probably didn’t really need) and old version of books that I’ve since updated.
Still, there were definitely a few heartbreakers in here. This is a partial pile of them. There will be more to succumb, I’m sure, but I’m holding out hope.
The first thing I saw when I went downstairs was my old TRS-80, still in its original box. It was completely soaked. I have contemplated many times getting it out and taking it for a spin, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I thought this would make the decision for me, but the electronics inside seem untouched.
There was a bright spot, though, for at least one person in the family. While we were cleaning up, Julian discovered Alex’s abandoned toy room in the basement. Even if that area had gotten wet, it wouldn’t have caused any long-term damage except to the carpet remnants.
The prognosis? Michelle called a plumber who also happens to be our neighbor. He’s on-site in Branson right now and hasn’t slept for two days. Apparently, pipes have been bursting all over the Ozarks. The earliest he can stop by will be Saturday and that’s not a definite. Fortunately, we have a shutoff valve for the water lines going to the kitchen so we’re not completely without water for the house.
Is it spring yet?