Lincoln -- Construction of the barn on our North prairie was finished early in 2013. The barn attracted many guests during the year. The following are some of the family, friends, neighbors, classmates, prairie experts and others who visited:
Claudia, Steve, Barb, Nancy, Ron, Shelly, Delores, Oliver, Barry, Denny, Bob, Dan, Lisa, Mary Ellen, Dave, Shannon, Alicia, John, Larry, Gary, Lynn, Lee, Joel, Imo, Debbie, Verity, Sheryl, Ulysses, Sonia, Stan, Jennifer, Ralph, Fran, Mark, Bob, Alice, Michelle, Michael, Mike, John, Deb, LuAnn, Jim, Gail, and several others. Some slept over in the barn, from one night to many nights.
Trail cameras on the prairie's three miles of trails recorded many animals in 2013: deer, turkey, raccoon, rabbit, skunk, opossum, squirrel, fox, coyote.
The bare earth around the construction site was colonized by a variety of annual plants in 2013, which over time should give way to perennial grasses characteristic of the rest of the surrounding native and restored prairie. The first plants were pennycress, foxtail, kochia, ragweed, buffalo burr, smartweed, field bindweed, sunflower, barnyard grass, pigweed, and velvetleaf. (I pulled much of the bindweed, buffalo burr, and velvetleaf.) Tree seeds also sprouted and grew in the bare area: cottonwood, locust, and sycamore. In the bare septic field to the east of the barn, our attempt to restore native plants was more successful than we anticipated -- it was seeded just as the 2012 drought began. Nevertheless, we have a good stand of big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass, other native grasses and even some milkweed for monarch butterflies (if there are any left).