This afternoon Boomer and I took a walk to our favorite field on the property. The colors were particularly bright, as the sun was low enough to cast some nice light and shadows, but high enough still for plenty of daylight.
This is the same field where the banding nets are set in the fall, when the berries are ripe. This golden grass is what makes this field special – it seems to be there all the time, even through the winter. I remember it from winters past, sticking up through the snow.
I’m not sure exactly which grass this is (not being an expert on grasses by a longshot!) but in Kentucky, a similar grass was called “broom grass” or “broom straw” or sometimes “prairie grass.” Others called it “bear grass” or just “straw grass.” I’m fairly certain this is one of the above, but I’ll have to break out the field guides and do some studying to determine what the correct name really is. Unless of course, someone out there can save me the trouble..
Most of the field is covered in this almost waist-high grass, which grows in bunches. In between are open areas covered with club moss. There are deer beds everywhere; flattened areas where the deer bed down to rest during the daylight hours. There are also very visible trails wandering through the grass where the deer and other animals pass regularly. We found coyote and fox scat, jumped a wild rabbit (this must be a haven for rabbits and mice) and let’s not forget, this is the same field where I encountered the black bear last summer.
This field is also dotted with cedar trees, majestic blue spruce, white pines, and a few fir trees. There’s an old stone wall that crosses it – remnants of the old farm. I love the colors and textures here. Had we not started the bird observatory, and had we not engaged in our long-term banding studies, this field would probably have been purchased by the township, and turned into a ball field. Horrors.
I think more good will come from leaving this field just as it is, and from using it to teach kids about nature, wildlife, birds, and golden fields.