Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

I went out to see the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve today. My first time to go, that I know of. The way my grandparents believed in a sunday drive, it’s entirely possible that I’ve been as a kid but don’t remember. Either way, I’m gonna say, I appreciated it much more as an adult than I ever would have as a kid.  I was starting to feel guilty for having never seen it and it was really starting to feel like a necessary thing .

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Look how tall that grass is (this is nearly 6′). I have to say, this was nothing like I pictured. Ever since the first time I heard of the TALLGRASS prairie, I imagined dense stands of 8′ tall dead grass. Something akin to Pampas grass in the winter as far as the eye could see.  But really, in my mind, you wouldn’t be able to see because the grass was so tall and dense. Like I said, it was nothing like that. It was a lot like a prairie. Ha. Anyway, it was beautiful and very alive. There were things buzzing around, jumping and flying and crawling as well as all of the green things growing out of the ground. And by far, multitudes of flowers (forbs, angiosperms, dicots, whatever) were in bloom.

I was pleased to see several flowers and grasses that I recognized from my own collection, both in the prairie and elsewhere in my yard, but I took more pictures of the things I don’t have or know so I could remember them later.

I’m kinda glad I ended up going alone, this was a much needed quiet getaway. 2 weeks of my first semester back to school are down and I’ve been studying furiously in my off time. Thank goodness for they 4 day weekend and this day trip. I really needed the solitude and peace. I should have sat down in the shade and studied, I took my Rangeland textbook in case I found the opportunity, but I couldn’t make my self sit down even though there are benches on the trail. I wanted to see it all first and by then I was so sweaty I just wanted to get back to the air conditioner in the car.

LOOK AT THIS PLACE!

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So if you’re wondering, yes, I’d recommend this place for a nice hike. But take water, wear a hat and check the weather first. I got lucky with the weather since it was a very last minute decision to go out. It’s about 2 hours, 40 minutes from North OKC to the preserve but there are a lot of gravel roads, cows and bison to navigate. Your mileage may vary.

Most importantly, I was able to get a patch for my blanket. I’ll sew it on later. ♥️ I told Kevin that going out was pretty much doing homework for the Rangeland class and then we watched Unbranded on Netflix which was brought up in class Thursday. See all the homework I did Saturday??? LOL Good times.

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Most of the Dallisgrass is Gone..

I’d say that I got 75% of the Dallisgrass out over the last week. I’ve gotten it to the point where I can’t tell what’s other grass and what’s new/baby DG without getting on my hands and knees and inspecting every blade. I’ve gotten everything that was 4′ tall and had seed heads tho. So for identification purposes, here’s what the seed heads look like.

As you can see, it’s left the Pocket Prairie looking a little ragged. I went ahead and watered it pretty good to help settle everything back in and I’m starting to see things perk up. Hopefully the extra light and water the plants can get now will help them be stronger. Some of the plants were a little spindley.

And just for good measure, pictures so you can see how it grows in clumps and gets really dense. It’s got the crowd out game down pat.  This makes it easier to find and attack in the midst of other 3′ & 4′ tall grasses.

The Pocket Prairie, minus a bunch of junky grass:

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Beginning of Dallisgrass Removal

I filled the big blue trash can with what is probably 1/5 of the Dallisgrass to be pulled. It’s hot. I’m sweaty and I hope it rains again and the soil stays wet enough for the grass to come out easier. Nothing like digging in rock-hard dry dirt.

8/29 Update: as you can see in the bottom picture, I’ve been making progress. I worked for an hour or so after school yesterday and an hour and a half today. Hoping to get the last of it tomorrow. I’ll try to get some close ups to help you see what I’m working with.

August Picture Update

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What a difference 2 weeks and 4.5″-5″ of rain can make! Everything is so lush and tall now!IMG_1870The blanket flowers are blooming again.

IMG_1869There are all kinds of crawling and flying things that I’ve never seen before.

IMG_1868The tropical milkweed is covered in aphids… No surprise there.

IMG_1867I’ve got a few Coreopsis blooming. This is one of my favorites.

IMG_1866I have no Idea what this guy is.

IMG_1865Quite a few things climbing on this milkweed.

IMG_1864This has never bloomed before so I need to find out what it is 😎

IMG_1859Another visitor

IMG_1858What kind of grass is this??!!

IMG_1862And this grass? What is it? I’ve got work to do!

Funds for Textbooks

So.
I'm not working right now. While we aren't broke, I'm not bringing in any money. I'd like to rectify that while keeping my schedule open for school and study.
My textbooks alone will be ~$600 this semester alone. If you'd like to help me with the cost of books, I'd like to point you in the direction of my ancient Etsy shop 😂
Jdstar.etsy.com
Where I will be selling seeds from the pocket prairie and other parts of my yard. Proceeds from seed sales will go towards those books. I cannot wait to dig into my books!

Let me know if there's something you're looking for or if you need more information 🌱❤️

August 2017

Things are drying out, thank goodness we got a good rain last week.

I was thinking next year would be the year that I focus on my grasses but I've also got to get some late July and August bloomers in there.

Right now it's just looking overgrown. Not very pleasing.

I also want to let y'all know that I'm going back to school. I'll be starting at OSU in Stillwater August 21 to study Rangeland Management. This is a starting point and the option that sounded like it would get me as close to studying the prairie as possible. I'm not sure what I'll do with it but I CAN tell you that I'm unbelievably excited to be taking botany and networking and meeting more people that love the same things I do. I'm also looking forward to the prospect of working. Earning money from the education I get. ❤️🌱

FYI…

My 7 year old is the smartest person I know. Yesterday as we were bringing our bikes back from the park, coming up to the pocket prairie, she said “I think we should make it bigger” 

ME TOO, kid. Me too.  ❤️🌱🏆

Someone Borrowed…

A whole plant!

When I took pictures on Tuesday the little Mexican Bush Zinnia was there. It’s Saturday and the whole plant is gone 😩

It was close to the front edge, still very small and making lots of blooms. I guess I should be glad they didn’t try to take something larger and I’m not sure what, if anything, I can or should try to do about it.