I’m almost finished with the audio book, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, so I listened again today as I walked around my neighborhood.
In today’s reading, the Great Plains Drought Area Committee issued a report to the president in August, 1936. The findings were bad. Although the area suffered a severe drought in the 1930s, this area simply does not receive enough average rainfall to raise crops on a regular basis. It was not just a single act of nature that caused the dust storms. Instead, the storms were caused by:
- World War I demands for wheat
- over farming
- over grazing
- encouraging inappropriate, sustained agriculture
- tearing out the buffalo grass which held down the soil
Based on these findings, Hugh Bennett, the head of the Soil Erosion Service, had different types of grasses planted, hoping to find something that would take root. His plan to cover the plains again in grass would take time. Not wanting to wait and in spite of the warnings, President Franklin Roosevelt had another idea–to plant trees up and down the plains.
I don’t think this will end well.
Today, my daughter and I headed to the Bartel Grassland, part of the Tinley Creek Region of the Cook County Forest Preserve. This grassland, which I’ve visited often, only has a small parking area and mowed grass paths, but it’s a great spot to see birds and wildflowers, including a few goldenrod plants still hanging on to their color.
I’ve been saving up for a new telephoto lens, and it came today. It’s not an expensive lens as these things go, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it will help the wildlife shots on my walks. As soon as we parked at the grassland, we saw a hawk on the telephone/power lines along the road and gave the new lens a try.On our way home after the walk, a hawk swooped in front of our car towards the corner of a golf course, and we had a better chance to test the new telephoto lens. We pulled into the drugstore parking lot along the edge of the golf course, hoping to spot the hawk. In a nearby pine tree, we found the it–and its prey!I didn’t realize we’d be documenting carnage in the suburbs on the first day with my new lens!
Everyone but my poor hard-working husband was off today for the Columbus Day holiday, so I promised lunch from Chipotle to anyone who would walk with me today. My oldest and youngest sons and my daughter all took me up on the offer.
We walked around most of Izaak Walton Nature Center, something I haven’t done since my eldest son and I unintentionally did it back on Day 10 when we actually got a bit lost.
It was good to go around what I’ll call the “big lake” again. It was a lovely day and even though most of the grasses have already turned the grays and browns of fall, we found an occasional wildflower.
We also spotted one great blue heron tucked along the edge of the lake. I will miss these prehistoric-looking winged creatures when they leave for the winter.
Good walking and tasty lunch!
Orland Grass RestorationWhile perusing the Cook County Forest Preserve website recently, I read about the Orland Grassland Ecosystem Restoration Project and was curious to see how it was coming along. Since I was in the area today, I stopped by and walked around.
It is lovely, and I look forward to seeing it when it is finished!
And to the person who posted all of the “Lost Dog” signs and set the trap with the “call me if my dog’s inside” sign: I’m not sure what you were doing at a preserve at night with your dog off a leash, but I hope you find him.
Sea of Grass
Sara Rosso, in the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, challenges the reader with the following: “In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo which means SEA to you!”
Since I live on the prairie with no watery sea nearby, I headed to Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area and walked next to the type of seas that I see on a daily basis–seas of grass.
This sea, instead of having the sounds of crashing waves, has different sounds, sounds of grasshoppers, crickets, and cicadas. This sea, instead of gulls and pelicans, has goldfinches, swallows, and pheasants.
This sea has mostly the sky in which to find blue, but the greens, purples, and yellows of the tall-grass prairie definitely have a beauty of their own.
I took these pictures on Day 247 of my daily walk.
Time of Walk: 3:30 PM
Temperature: 44° F (felt like 30°)
Weather: Cloudy and Windy
It’s been raining most of the day, so I should have known, I suppose.
I really wanted to walk outside today, so when the rain let up, my son and I donned our boots and headed out (my husband had other plans on this Sunday afternoon). We went to the Bartel Grassland, a prairie restoration project of the Forest Preserve of Cook County. I expected it might be a little wet, but it was a muddy mess.
It was actually rather fun. I haven’t sloshed through the mud like that since I was a kid. When we were done our boots needed some work, but it was great to be outside walking today.
Good day, good walk.