Hey, guys. I've been outside this past week. We've finally hit 70's and 80's, and I had to get some yard work done, and then went to work on my own little woods. I've been making sections for me to sit in, enjoy the birds, the quiet, and such. Today I transplanted violets--the white ones are beautiful.
Anyway, that's my excuse for being out of touch for the most part. And having little to yak about.
As most of you know we (my husband and I) live at a county forest preserve. Afton was once a farm. There's an old barn that still stands and we live in the house that is over 100 years old. My husband works out here, and he is the manager of this park as well as one other. There are other people here, of course. There's the resource manager, and a few others who either help him, or work here and elsewhere.
Long story short, this park has been here since the 70's. The trees were hand planted. They put in prairie plantings which in my case I have not seen since I was a teenager walking along the rail road picking wild asparagus. At this time of year the shooting stars will be one of the first reintroduced plants which will blossom. I remember seeing these plants out here when we first came to visit. We enjoyed this park. I have to say that we were visitors here when it was maybe 15 years old. We lived in town, and so escaping to this wildlife refuge was a treat. We often wondered what it would be like to have this as our backyard. Well, we've been here now for 21 years. So, certain dreams do come true.
This is also a wetlands is being established. This takes hours and hours of back-breaking work, planting such as lily pads and other aquatic plants by hand. It's a conservation effort, and provides natural habitats for birds and animals alike. In other words it's first and foremost a wild life park. Not a dog park, and I get really fed up with people who think otherwise and when they disobey the dogs on leash rule that gets my dander up.
This morning at my other work place, I made mention of my husband checking to make sure someone was not letting their dogs lose in our park. The woman sitting there said "I always let my dogs lose. We're gone for hours and hours." I looked at her and said, "We do have a leash rule in the park."
"I don't care."
"You don't care? What about the wild life?"
"I don't care."
I wanted to add, but didn't, that there is a $50 fine for any dogs caught off leash, but you know, her attitude smacked of elitist, and I just thought she would deserve it if she got caught by one of our sheriff's deputies who come out here, or the animal control people. And I know what our natural resource manager would say to her, and he would not be kind. Nor would Dennis.
At this time of year the birds are nesting, and animals are having their young. A lose dog is not a good thing to have in a wild life preserve. The majority of us really hate the fact that the superintendent allows it. If we had it our way (and I include the rest of the forest preserve staff here), we would have none of it.
Here's an example of the birds we have in the forest preserve (here and elsewhere).
Believe it or not we do have the bald eagle, and here is one with an eaglet.
A male pheasant in winter. These birds nest on the ground. We've just gotten these birds back after 3 harsh winters in a row. I'd hate to see a dog flush a female from her nest disturb the nest and no more eggs or chicks.
We've also heard that we may have wild turkeys--one was spotted just south of the park, not far away. These turkeys eat acorns in the fall and winter.
We also have many waterfowl, some of which I've yet to personally identify, but here is an egret, which is nesting in a pond in the main park. There are a lot of other smaller birds that do nest on the ground. The forest preserve puts up signs throughout the park prohibiting lose dogs through May, because of the nesting of birds and animals. You'd think people with half a brain would understand this. But apparently even those with a portion of a brain should get it, but they've got this idea that they pay their taxes (it's 1%) and are entitled to run their dogs lose. Maybe they need a lobotomy, or something, would understand this. But there are other people out here enjoying the wildlife--as you see, people who like to come out with their cameras, enjoy a leisurely walk without having to fear a dog running up to them. And other people who actually obey the rules and use the leash find this behavior really beyond exasperating.
Well, that will do for today's little rant. Opinions are welcome, just don't run your dog lose out here, or let my husband catch you, he has speed dial to the animal control people who can give you a ticket.