While many of you were squeezing in last minute trips to the beach, fishing outings, or backyard barbecues, I spent much of my last summer weekends out collecting native prairie wildflower and tallgrass seeds. A great activity for the family, I was able to spend some high quality time with the kids out walking the tallgrass, taking the chance to embrace the much under-appreciated beauty of our prairies.
Now that the summer sun has faded and the seeds have dried, I took the opportunity to winnow the seeds and sort out the undesirable stems, leaves, and leftover cones. After a little fall cleanup around the yard, I overseeded the riparian area below the house, in efforts to enhance the diversity of the developing wildlfower community that I've established over the past few seasons. Being a good steward of our riparian areas is just common sense, something that many in our world seem to lack these days.
During those Fall walks down gravel forest roads in the brisk morning sun of the northwoods, something is needed to pass the time between flushes of ruffed grouse. I collected a bag of cones from some of the prized conifers of the boreal forest: red pine, white pine, balsam fir, douglas fir, jack pine, and the northern whitecedar. Hopefully some of these cones will take root in my wooded swamp.