Despite the late-July heat wave, we had an even dozen volunteers on the prairie, including first-timer Thomas, along with sister Carolina and mother Melissa who previously joined us at Swallow Cliff. Our target was white sweet clover, always a tough foe. Saturday's work was complicated by several dry days, so many of the plants refused to uproot, forcing us to clip them near the stem.
I felt trapped in a 3 Stooges routine. Hold the clippers in one hand and the next few plants pull up easily. Put the clippers back in pocket, the next one has roots that go to China. Remove clippers from pocket, clip plant, repeat. We made a big compost pile of everything we removed, pictured below.
The high point of the day: Viewing the result of our efforts, a sea of prairie forbs and grasses waving gently in the breeze, unencumbered by those tall intrusive stalks of sweet clover. The prairie was even prettier than I recall from past visits, maybe because we usually come out in early July for sweet clover and this time we waited almost to the end of the month. More time for the wild bergamot, compass plants, two species of coneflowers, rattlesnake master, Culver's root, and all the other native plants to put out flowers.
I visited Palatine Prairie Sunday, helping for a short time clipping teasel flowers. Stewards Cyndi, our former stewardship aide from FPCC, and Brian have a remarkable little piece of land under management, lying on one side along a railroad right-of-way and chock-full of native flowers. Last time out was the day of their spring burn, so I'd never seen it in full glory of the growing season. It did not disappoint.