Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

A Chorus of Song

The Western Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata), now known as the Midland Chorus frogs, are singing loud and clear. Their voices are huge and can be heard from a ½ mile away! Their name was changed when it was discovered that their range was much smaller than originally thought.  [Read more…]

What’s All the Buzz About?

Jim has had a fascination with bees since I’ve known him. He’s now putting that fascination into action with a new hobby!! After talking with some good friends who are beekeepers Jim learned of the Dane County Bee Association. It conducts 4 classes over the course of the summer on how to build hives, locate hives, introduce the bees, care for the bees, and harvest the honey. It’s certainly not a “build the hive and they will come” scenario.  [Read more…]

Bluebird Trails

Since 2005, Jim has monitored 16 bluebird boxes, known as the Hess Trail.  In the 3 years we have monitored, we fledged a total of 94 babies. Click on the Hess Trail and you’ll see up-to-date numbers. In 2011, we have expanded to 24 boxes and he plans to ride his bike to check them! Keeping it eco-friendly where we can! When he checked on Sunday, we had 6 nests and 4 eggs. [Read more…]

Root Stimulant or Inoculant?

In my quest to provide a healthy environment for the plants, shrubs, and trees I am planting, propagating, and nurturing, I’ve been reading about soil and soil life. It’s totally fascinating! I know soil health was important but am continually amazed and awed by life and how it works. [Read more…]

Prescribed Burns – Woods and Prairie

We completed our first prescribed burn in our woods and prairie this year! We spent several days preparing for this by clearing trees that fell during the winter. We used a backpack blower to clear around snags, trees, and the 2 brush piles we’re keeping for habitat purposes. We also mowed and blew a firebreak between our property and the neighboring property. [Read more…]

It’s Turkey Time!!

It’s mating time for the Wild Turkey. I never tire of seeing these guys. To me, they are a fascinating critter and mating season is a super cool time. We can hear the turkeys for miles around as they “gobble, gobble, gobble.” Some evenings, it can almost be called raucous, although I tend to reserve that description for the Sand Hill Cranes. [Read more…]

Spring Peepers

Spring has sprung, according to our amphibian friends. The Spring Peepers are one of the first frogs to start calling and they were out in fury last night. They live in moist woods but breed in adjacent wetlands. They stay pretty much to the ground and hibernate under logs and loose bark. We don’t keep a “tidy” woods so this is perfect for them and with the neighboring spring-fed stream, they are pretty happy. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them before, but it’s rare. [Read more…]

Wonders of the American Woodcock

The American Woodcocks have been serenading us with their wonderful sounds since March 14. It’s certainly not an early record for Wisconsin, but it’s an amazing event to be able to step outside the backdoor and enjoy it! Many people have traveled distances to witness their flight dances only to find they weren’t performing. Their sounds involve a “peeeeent” call note, ground strutting displays, and the spiraling flight dance, which is a twittering created by their wings and vocalizations. These performances are given at dusk and dawn. [Read more…]

What’s in a name?

When the developers created this subdivision, they looked around and said the rolling hills reminded them of Ireland. They looked through county names and decided on Westmeath, originally named because it is west of Meath County. The major industry in Westmeath County in Ireland is farming and agriculture, making it a nice match for this area of Wisconsin! [Read more…]