More Signs of Spring
Through much of last weekend, sandhill cranes filled the skies on their northward migration up to Wisconsin. A friend once aptly compared their bugling calls to the sound of a Canada goose trying to warble.
The first crocus of the year have appeared outside of my window.
A jumping spider showed up on my breezeway. And the weather has been getting warmer and warmer. Tuesday was gorgeous- sunny, breezy and in the mid 70s. This weather invited another sign of spring- the annual prescribed burns on our prairies, woodlands and wetlands, including Bluff Spring Fen.
The Fen adjoins a cemetery. There was a burial on Tuesday morning, so we started in a remote corner of woodland in order to avoid disturbing the funeral. This is a section where the herbaceous layer has been coming back well following seeding. Because it's remote, it often goes unburned and we were starting to lose the progress we had made. It burned reasonably well, and I'm very glad that we got to it this year.
Did I mention it was breezy? The up side is that things burned extremely well this year. The down side is that this was the most physically demanding burn that I have ever participated in. It's now two days later and I can still feel the effects of the exertion. I was on flapper duty. In the photo immediately above, you can see Stuart (tan shirt) holding a flapper. It's a square of rubber on the end of a wooden rake handle. You flap it onto the flames to help confine the fire to the areas that you want burned. The breeze made the fire reluctant to die down when flapped. We worked very hard all day long, and I did little photography as a result.
Later in the afternoon, Rick (far right) ordered pizza- which was delivered right to the cemetery. It gives a whole new meaning to the Tombstone Pizza brand. What do you want on your Tombstone?
It was a good burn. It was wonderful to get to spend such a beautiful day outdoors in natural surroundings rather than at the office. Still, I'm glad it's over.