The Bonfires of Winter
Brush clearing is a typical winter activity for prairie restoration groups in the Chicago area. Others have blogged about it. We have come out of our bitterly cold spell of late last week (meaning it has gotten into the teens). Still, yesterday's stiff southwest breeze resulted in a wind chill of -3° F and had the Bluff Spring Fen folks in agreement about one thing. Whatever we did on our work day, it would have to involve a bonfire. We had a good one, too. Between the fire and the exertion, we stayed nice and toasty all day. Plus, we accomplished a lot.
The bonfires of winter exemplify one aspect of prairie restoration that I really like. In our modern world we often go from heated (or air conditioned) car to heated (or air conditioned) office, eat strawberries in January, and generally lack a fullness in awareness of the seasons. Prairie work is a great way to connect with the ebb and flow rhythm of nature through the year.