We put our ski trails through it. In winter at acts like a magnet for snow.
I've seen the snow 5 feet deep in the prairie, while the nearby plowed
fields haven't enough snow to cover the tops of the plow furrows. It filters
the icy crystals from the winter winds, and deposits them where we can groom
them into a winter playground. Later in spring the accumulated snows help
recharge the watertables around the farm.
Similarly, the rest of the year the tall grasses act to mitigate the effects
of high winds on the more delicate vegetable crops. I'd suppose it filters
loess and other soil components from the winds too. The nice thing about
these windbreaks is if they get in the way, they can be mown down or simply
Last year we harvested the seed in October with a silage wagon and
greenchopper. That worked swell, though in October we got a limited variety
of seed. This year we are going to try chopping it for animal bedding. I'll
bet the chickens will get plenty of pleasure scratching through it looking
for seed and maybe it will help disperse the seed around the farm. We'll
bail the purer stands of grass for our strawbail house.
And you know, the coolest thing about the prairie is it comes back every
year, whether you work on it or no. It's always there, with it's bright
spring faces, waiting to be enjoyed and spreading it's life out into the
farm. You can count on rain or shine, through pestilence and drought, it's
always there. Like an old friend.
Prairie Dock Farm
October brought the early snows from Canada,
We passed away the hours till the spring.
April brought the good smell of the Earth again,
To many years ago it seems.
Is it late,
in remembering I've forgotten of the hour?
watch the sun die in the pine trees, watch the moon rise in the lake.
It's the land that sets you dream'n, if it's dream'n that you do.
And I wanted you to see the old Wisconsin that I knew.
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