After the burn

The picture at the top is from yesterday, just one day after the burn. It actually looked like it was still smokey in places, although I’m pretty sure all the fires were out. Probably it was just ash blowing around.

It rained yesterday evening, a nice soaking rain that should have settled the ash—and did, at least visually—but it still smelled freshly burned when I walked through this morning.

The robins seemed very pleased to have the charred prairie to pick through, and I also saw a cowbird.

It will be very interesting to walk through the prairie this spring (although a little more fun once the smell dissipates a bit further). I know from experience that the plants recover very quickly, and that soon there will be no sign of the burn—except that the prairie plants will come to dominate the invasive species that had begun to encroach. I’m not so sure about the animal life. How many snakes and turtles were lost in the fire? Will there be as many fireflies this year as last?

I’ll keep you posted.

The birds think it’s spring

Jackie and I went for our first bike ride of the year. We followed our traditional first-ride route, around Kaufman Lake, past the Olympic Monument, around Parkland College, and then back. This year we went 6.27 miles.

I’d been hearing cardinals for several days, but out on this ride we got definitive expressions of bird spring. The robins are back, as are the red-winged blackbirds. I saw a crow fly up out of Copper Slough with a huge wad of nesting material in its beak.

The ride itself went fine as well. No mechanical problems. No problems with Jackie’s wrist. There had been a couple of previous days when it would have been warm enough to ride, but those days were very windy. It was nice to just wait for today and not have to deal with the headwinds.

I think we’re all set now, to be able to ride whenever we want. In particular, if there’s a day when it’s nice enough to ride first thing in the morning, we could ride to the Fitness Center and then to taiji. (That’s a bit long and complex of a ride to try to combine it with our first “shakedown” ride of the year.)