Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

The PPEs of Ecological Restoration

We were brush cutting yesterday; I was hot and sweaty and all I wanted to do was get that hard hat off! Then I began thinking about my friend who was recently hurt with a brush cutter; gave me a whole new appreciation for my hot, hard hat!  [Read more…]

To Leave or Not to Leave?

That is the question we ask every time we build a brush pile and every time we prepare to burn it. Brush piles make great habitat for mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and microorganisms! We burn to clean up the landscape a bit and with the goal of killing any seeds or berries from brush that we have cut. [Read more…]

Between a Rock and a Soft, Warm Place

Since I’m outdoors a lot, I spent a great deal of time thinking about living quarters, especially on these cold, winter days. I wonder how critters find their warm homes and are they as “snuggly” as I am in front of my fireplace or nestled in my bed? OK, so that’s anthropomorphizing just a bit, but it does pique my curiosity about habitats. [Read more…]

The Dirt on Westmeath Lane

Lafayette County, which is where Westmeath Lane is located in Wisconsin, is in the Driftless Area. It was named this because the glaciers did not roll over it, leaving picturesque hills and valleys.  Soils in the southern part of Wisconsin are different from other parts of Wisconsin, partially because of the lack of glacial drift and partially because it lies in a transition area where tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and hardwood forests blended together. [Read more…]

Rope or Smoke?

I found a marijuana plant in my garden the other day, made a post on Facebook, and learned that it used to be a huge industry here in Wisconsin. That just piqued my curiosity, so I began researching it.
Jeremiah Rusk, governor, Civil War hero, and the first Secretary of Agriculture, began the fiber crop movement in Wisconsin in the late 1890s because the US faced a fiber shortage. For 40 years, this industry continued expanding and finally gave way to the hemp industry. Since 50,000 tons of binding were used yearly and since sisal and jute were imported, it just made sense to try to grow this domestically. Most hemp was used for naval purposed but it was also used to make burlap, canvas, and twine. [Read more…]

Some Great Ideas!

This fabulous idea has no one to credit. It’s been passed down so many times that somewhere along the way, the originator became anonymous. I tried tracing is back, but with no luck. These little white porcelain insulators, normally used for electrical fencing, are great tools for prairie work. We Dremel numbers, alphabets, and/or a combination of both on them. [Read more…]

Alternative Fuel Society

One of the great discoveries of Blanchardville was finding the Alternative Fuel Society (AFS), where we get to sample great varieties of “fuel” and socialize with wonderful people.  We keep the gatherings simple.  Bring any variety(s) of beer or wine; bring a glass; and bring a snack to pass. We deposit all “fuels” on the table so anyone can try whichever sounds good to them. We have some wonderful brew masters who bring homemade beers and/or wines, which are unique and delicious! We also have some great cooks who love to share their talents with us as well! If neither beer nor wine interests you, some folks have brought others types of brewed or fermented beverages to share. As we say, “it’s all good!” [Read more…]

Head Start Program for Wisconsin Turtles

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources (WDNR) initiated a program they call the Head Start Program. The idea of this program is to foster endangered turtles through their most vulnerable predation stage, which is when they are very small and their shells are soft. Out of the 11 turtle species in Wisconsin, 5 are on the endangered list; the remaining 6 are in moderate decline. This program serves several of the turtle species but fosters out the ornate box turtle and the wood turtle, both endangered because of the pet trade. [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…]