Land Steward Jean Wiedenheft has had a busy couple of days in the aftermath of our blizzard. She reports in below:

Thursday, near the banks of Indian Creek, I watched the wind tear the top off a boxelder tree and lift it up in the air above the remaining trunk before dropping it to the ground. We’d been listening to trees crack off all afternoon, a combination of the heavy snow and the strong wind, so that wasn’t so unusual. But I’ve never seen one lifted upward before coming down before.

On the way down the trail to check it out, I had to climb over the top of another boxelder that had also succumbed. The box elders are nearing the end of their natural lifespan, so their deaths are not altogether unexpected. It is always sad when a tree dies, and it will make this year’s maple syruping season a little bit lighter, as those two trees were ones that we routinely tapped.

With a wind like this, the trails are probably littered with everything from downed twigs to downed trees. Depending on weather conditions, it will probably take me a few weeks to get everything cleared out and the trails opened again. In the meantime, I hope visitors enjoy the prairie trails and are patient with me as they clamber over the downed trees throughout the woodland trails for a while…and that they have the good sense to stay out of the woods when the winds are this high!

Winter is a tough time of year for the honeybees as well. Snowed in, the bees can succumb to a lack of fresh air and the inability to leave the hive. This morning, I went out and cleaned out the entrances from the recent blizzard.  We’ll keep watch to make sure the entrances don’t block up again.

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