We've been at Margaret's site two Saturdays in a row due to a schedule swap with Joe, this time working a little closer to Ford Road and the watchman's house. In fact, smoke from our two fires could be seen from the road. Not that common on Palos workdays due to the size of our preserves and the remoteness of some of our work areas.
Margaret has been working in a couple of discrete areas, and her goal is to eventually connect them and expand over to Visitation Prairie.
McClaughrey Springs Sunday December 4
The first measurable snow of the season fell today, starting in the middle of Diana's workday and lasting through the afternoon.
Diana and volunteers worked on brush on the east side of Mill Creek, just north of the trail that runs to Swallow Cliff. Not too long ago this area was overgrown; now there are clear sightlines down to the creek and it looks just great! Many volunteer hours have gone into pushing that brush back and the results are very much worth the effort.
Cap Sauers Holding, Sunday December 4
Driving to Cap the snow was falling steadily but had not accumulated much. That changed during the 3-1/2 hours we spent there; we had to push one car to get it out and sweep several inches of snow off all the cars. On the way home, we saw one poor soul who sailed off the road a short distance east on 83 from the trailhead.
We burned the brush piles from our October and November workdays, which ignited well despite the snow cover and high humidity. Our crew of nine really pushed to get everything dragged to the fires. It was truly fun - any day you play in the midst of falling snow is one to savor.
Paddock Woods Wednesday December 7
This one was a wee bit cold, though we eventually warmed up thanks to the fire and some vigorous bowsaw use. Sandhill cranes were very active; we had several groups pass overhead, flying much lower than normally seen. I included a photo below, taken with the phone camera so it's not the best. Still cool to see them as something more than mere specks passing overhead.