Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Heat


  After being here for about a month, summer heat has finally reached northern Indiana. JR's Meadow has also felt the heat in the past couple of days because it has started turning yellow. Patches of Bea Balm have survived by the there is plenty of evidence of the passed residents. The sun was bright and making the temperatures rise into the 80s but, that didn't stop the birds from singing their song. The meadows edge was a great place to sit under the shade and listen to the constant hum of the bees although the mosquitoes also were enjoying the shade.
  The turkeys have now become a common sight or sound. I will either hear their call back and forth or if I wonder into a different area a scurry of plants and feathers alert me of their presence. Like the turkeys, I am seeing a lot of the same things and maybe need to look closer at the ground I am steeping on because looking down can bring as much information as looking ahead.

Let's Identify

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

  Located near the edge of the meadow, I took liberty in saying that it was in my meadow. This can be a very valuable tree if it is located naturally in the forest but sadly the tree has also be maybe over harvested because of its wood. I think the black walnut found its perfect spot near the bottom of the hill. It loves well drained soil and is native to this region. Being an old field the meadow provides great soil for the tree to grow. I also found it on the north facing slope that it loves. Most Black Walnuts are found in mixed forest but are commonly seen with both American elm and Red Oak.
Williams, R. (n.d.). Juglans ntdra L. Juglans ntdra L. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Gray headed Cone-flower (Ratibida pinnata)

  I do not believe that this species would be normally found in this spot but because of the amount of Cone-flowers in the prairie right next to it, it is no surprise that it made its self at home in my little meadow. They do love the sun and they had plenty of it in the spot they occupied. It is nice seeing this native plant in an area where they were not naturally introduced.
  The flower is one of the more interesting flowering plants in the meadow mostly because it is new and not Wild Bergamot. Some people say it looks shaggy because of the dropping flowers but it has a long bloom and is a nice contrast to the green grasses in the meadow.

Henry, J. (n.d.). Plant Fact Sheet for Gray-headed Coneflower. . Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Those little brown bird (LBB) are so hard to get a look at but you can hear them from almost where ever you are. And this LBB made sure I heard him when I game into the meadow. I never got a picture of him or actually saw him, so I guess you will have to take my word that he was here. But, he loves the habitat of my little meadow. Cornell says that the Field Sparrow loves "old-fields" and that is exactly what my meadow is. There are tons of shrubs and small trees like the Red maple and the Black walnut tree that the LBB can make its home in.
Showing affection is not a strong suite of the birds as males will attach females sometimes chasing them to the ground but the females don't reject them because they let them stick around. Sadly the birds have felt the pressure of urban development because they don't live in suburbs but their population has remained stable.

Field Sparrow. (n.d.). , Identification, All About Birds. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor)

  A tall thistle standing on top of the hill that was overlooking the rest of the meadow. Identifying it as a thistle wasn't difficult but the differences the thistles was the difficulty. The head of plant was not yet in bloom but the height was one of the greatest give away. Underneath its leaves it had almost a white felt feeling. The plant stood at to above my shoulder level making it an intimidating plant, but it was not surrounded by thousands of needles. Bill commented on native species not being as prickle as invasive ones, making me believe that it is native ruling out the Bull thistle and picking the Field Thistle.
  Like all plants in my meadow you can easily find this guy growing in the ditches of the road. Because my meadow has lots of sun light on top of the field and it was located in a place where it was not fighting against a lot of other vegetation. The dryness of the site is not an issue because it has a large tap root gathering its water from deep in the earth.
Ugiansky, R. J., & Pheobus, R. (2010, September 1). Plant Fact Sheet for Field Thistle. . Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Creative Piece

Acrostic Poem

Beautiful purple little flower 
Every where I look I see it
Rarely seen without a insect around
Growing tall in the meadow
Always smelling nice
Moving in the breeze
Only here for a short time
Timeless flower

Question of the Week?

  My meadow is engulfed with grasses and biennial plants. They both have their different strategies in winterizing. Grasses, such as the Smooth Brome and Timothy,  are the most dominant species within the meadow and they are mostly annual plants completing their life-cycle in one growing season. Grasses put all of their energy into seed production, and this is how they make sure the next generation survives. The plants will pollinate producing hundreds to thousands of seeds, most of them being wind distributed.
  Biennials make up the other portion of the meadow such as the Common Yarrow and Field Thistle. This guys take a bit of a different strategy. In their first year of growth they put all of their growth in their root systems making a long tap root. Second year consists of the plant focusing in on reproduction. They than produce seeds that are distributed either by wind or by animals that have eating the seeds. 

Jennings, J. (2008, May 5). Grass. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
Seasonal Growth Cycles: Perennial, Annual and Biennial Plants. (20014, January 1). Retrieved August 6, 2014.

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