As I mapped soils throughout eastern Iowa back in the early 70’s, it was interesting for me to put together a picture of what the original landscape looked like. In eastern Cedar County, I came upon some soils that did not fit the general description of prairie or savanna soils in that they were somewhere in between the two. I pondered this as I walked day after day over the land and began to see the picture in my mind. Savannas are transitions from prairie to a micro climate that favors some tree growth. There must be all grades of transition but what are they called? When does a prairie become a prairie as we walk westward out of the timber into the savanna into the “prairie”? When does a prairie become a savanna? What is your definition of a savanna? I don’t think there is a definition or name that can be placed on this “la la land of the past”. One way to look at these ecosystems is to imagine an interaction not individual influences, although they may be critical. If we back away in time and peer down from above, we can see a constant winning and waning of movement much like the tides that come and go.
What footprint is left in the soil to give us clues to the past? Certainly visual imprints are evident even though the land is now covered with corn and beans.
John Madson, who wrote Where the Sky Began, so beautifully described his vision of coming out of the timber and seeing, looming in front of him, an open sky and a sea of grass as far as the eye could see. He made mention of the front line soldiers sent out by the savanna or timber which allowed the advancement of the savanna and timber upon the prairie. Wild plumb trees were sent out as a front line defense or offense depending upon which the environment favored. Sometimes the battle would be won by the prairie and other times by the savanna and eventually a total overthrow of one over the other but the soldiers of the front line are always forgotten for they are in this “la la land of transition”. I was reminded of them that day in Cedar County, Iowa as I observed the grainy grey coats of the now vanished front line soldiers of the savanna who left their mark upon the prairie soil profile. Were they lost in battle as they succumbed to the forces of the prairie or were they stopped dead in their tracks by the ever- advancing moldboard plow?
I am reminded of my life and how it is much like this ever- changing world that we know as Prairie and Savanna but not a struggle or battle but the ebb and flow with the tides of life. Just as every component of the prairie and savanna are a part of the total wonderment of creation so are we. Are we on the frontline of change? Do we have the courage to move forward regardless of the elements that we face? The lessons of the land are there for all of us if we just open our eyes and hearts and breathe in the intuitive powers of this great planet.
Howard Bright, President
Ion Exchange, Inc.
“Helping you create your own natural beauty”
Posted in Agriculture, CRP Land, Environment, Farmland, Gardening, Grass, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, man and nature, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, natural world, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Sowing Seed, Tallgrass Prairie, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, wildlife, Wildlife Gardening, Woodland
Tagged Cedar County IA, Cedar County Iowa, Climate, Ecosystem, ecosystems, environment, Grass, IA, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Iowa, John Madson, Land, Landscape, Planet, prairie, Prairie Soil, Savanna Soils, Sky, Soils, Soldiers, Timber, Tree, Where the Sky Began
Iowan’s are planting native wildflowers and grasses at one half the cost of the seed. Through a special program and a cooperative effort amongst private growers, Iowa DNR and Pheasants Forever, it is possible to get a voucher to add much diversity to your landscape using species that are native to Iowa. This is a one of a kind program that benefits everyone involved. It provides wildlife cover for pheasants, deer, rabbits and a host of beneficial insects including butterflies, moths and many other pollinators. The natives include such species as Indian Grass and Big Bluestem which root down to enormous depths into the soil which control erosion much better than European imports such as Broom Grass.
Iowa witnessed one of the largest and fastest ecosystem loss in the world as the Tallgrass Prairie was very quickly turned into corn production. Millions of acres of black rich soil that had been created by the deep-rooted prairie has now vanished.
Thanks to this special Habitat Program created by the cooperation of Iowa Landowners, Iowa Native Seed Growers, The Iowa DNR and Pheasants Forever, the once lost Tallgrass Prairie is returning to once again replenish precious topsoil and control erosion.
By Howard Bright http://ionxchange.com/
Posted in Agriculture, Butterflies, CRP Land, Environment, Farmland, Gardening, Grass, Honeybees, Insects, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, man and nature, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Sowing Seed, Spring Planting, Tallgrass Prairie, Wetland, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, wildlife, Wildlife Gardening
Tagged Acres, Big Bluestem, Butterflies, Control Erosion, Corn Production, Deer, DNR, Ecosystem, Ecosystem Loss, Erosion, Grasses, Habitat, Habitat Program, IA, Indian Grass, Insects, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Iowa, Iowa Landowners, Iowa Native Seed Growers, Iowans, Landscape, Moths, native, Native to Iowa, native wildflowers, Pheasants, Pheasants Forever, Planting, Pollinators, Rabbits, Rich Soil, Seed, Soil, Tallgrass, Tallgrass Prairie, Wildflife, wildflowers
In Western traditions we are constantly comparing one thing to the other. Which do you like better… brown or blue eyes, basketball or football, chicken or fish? Nature did not give us all the glorious scenes to judge one place or species over the other. Why does one thing have to be better than another? Think about it. When we compare or try to make one thing better than another, our minds leave the natural beauty of the entity and go to a place of judgement and diminish the innate qualities of that which is being analyzed.
More examples that nature puts before us to admire but get turned around occur in the plant world. One such example is the Common Burdock, known as a terrible weed, ugly and a plague for horses’ manes and tails. Soon, a hatred is built up regarding this plant. What did “The Great Spirit” have in mind when the Burdock was born into existence? Certainly it is well equipped to survive as the seed heads cling to any thing that brushes up against it . It is even more tenacious than velcro which by the way was invented as this natural clinging trait of Burdock was copied by man. Certainly if we were hungry or starving we could dig the roots of Burdock and survive by eating them.
If we look closely to the flower of the Burdock, it holds its own natural beauty but it is not considered as a prize wildflower possession by any landscaper or gardener. Truly the beauty is lost as we curse the power that the Burdock has over us. We wage war against it by digging it, spraying it and killing it anyway that we can. Can we change these natural traits or is “The Great Spirit” trying to tell us something? When did we start to complain about this plant? The more we complained, the more we got. Right? Nature’s signs go unheeded and the Burdock serves as a red flag that something isn’t right with the harmony of our use of the land. As an early indicator, it makes itself obvious as we overgraze our pastures and pay no attention to the overuse of them. Those who heed the warning sign back away and start treating the land with more respect and the Burdock starts to diminish over time.
Burdock is not less than, more than or uglier than. It just is, so appreciate your football or basketball for what it is and as we adjust our lives to look beneath the surface and accept all diversity as beautiful in its own light.
Posted in Agriculture, CRP Land, Environment, Farmland, Gardening, Grass, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, man and nature, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, natural world, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Tallgrass Prairie, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, Wildlife Gardening
Tagged Burdock, Burdock Root, Burdock Roots, Earthyman, Flower, Gardener, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Land, Landscaper, Natural Beauty, Nature, Pastures, Plant, Plant World, Western Tradition, wildflower
“Drooping Coneflower, Gray Coneflower, Prairie Coneflower (also applied to R. columnifera), Weary Susan, Grayheaded Coneflower”
Origin of the name Ratibida is not known. Pinnata comes from the Latin word meaning “featherlike
Sun Exposer: Prairie, Savanna
Soil Moisture: Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (July, August, September)
Bloom Color: Yellow
Max Height: 5 Feet
Wetland Code: UPL
Germ Code: C(30)
Seeds Per Ounce: 30,000
Found throughout the Tallgrass Prairie region and extensively elsewhere. Prefers dry areas, roadsides, along old railroad right-of-ways. Root system is a very stout, sturdy rhizome. One or several yellow flowers may top a single stem. Grows tall and erect to about 4 feet. Grows easily from seed and is often found as a sturdy and plentiful survivor on former prairies where nearly all of the original plants have disappeared.
Native Americans made a refreshing tea from the cones and leaves of yellow coneflower. The Meskwaki used the root as an ingredient to cure toothaches.
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Usse: Unknown
Herbal Uses: Unknown
To Purchase This Native Wildflower Click on Ion Exchange, Inc., Link Below
Posted in Agriculture, Bird and Butterfly Attractor Station, CRP Land, Fall Planting, Fall Plantings, Gardening, Grass, Honeybees, Insects, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, natural world, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Sowing Seed, Spring Planting, Tallgrass Prairie, Urban Gardens, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, wildlife, Wildlife Gardening
Tagged Coneflower, Drooping Coneflower, Fall Blooming, Fall Blooms, Gray Coneflower, Grayheaded Coneflower, IA, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Iowa, Native Seed, native wildflower, NE IA, NE Iowa, Northeast IA, Northeast Iowa, Pinnata, prairie, Prairie Coneflower, Prairie Plants, Ratibida, Ratibida pinnata, Root, Seeds, Tallgrass, Weary Susan, Yellow Coneflower, Yellow Flowers
Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) seed harvest completed at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa filmed by Earthyman
To Purchase Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) Click on Link Below
Posted in Agriculture, Bird and Butterfly Attractor Station, CRP Land, Environment, Fall Planting, Fall Plantings, Gardening, Grass, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, man and nature, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, natural world, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Sowing Seed, Tallgrass Prairie, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, Wildlife Gardening
Tagged Anemone Canadensis, Canada Anemone, Harvest, IA, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Iowa, Native plant, Native Seed, NE Iowa, Northeast IA, Seed, Seed Harvest
Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture
Help UCS Set the Record Straight by Sharing Our New Ad Campaign
Monsanto’s advertisements tell an impressive tale of the agribusiness giant’s achievements: Feeding a growing population. Protecting natural resources. Promoting biodiversity.
It sounds wonderful, but unfortunately, there’s a catch: These claims are often exaggerated, misleading or downright false. Monsanto’s products—and the practices they promote—may sustain the company’s profits, but the evidence shows that they stand in the way of truly sustainable solutions to our food and farming challenges.
In the ads below, we counter Monsanto’s feel-good rhetoric with some facts gleaned from UCS analysis. Share them with friends, and spread the word: when it comes to healthy farming, Monsanto fails!
(Click on the images to see full-size versions.)
#2: A Bumper Crop of Superweeds
Monsanto Says: “Our rapidly growing population is putting limited resources–such as land, water, and energy–under increased pressure.”
In Fact: The challenge is real, but Monsanto’s products aren’t the answer. UCS analysis shows that GE crops have so far done little to improve yields in the U.S. Meanwhile—speaking of rapidly growing populations—overuse of Roundup Ready crops has spawned an epidemic of “superweeds,” causing huge problems for U.S. farmers.
#3: All Wet on Drought Tolerance
Monsanto Says: “With the right tools, farmers can conserve more for future generations.”
In Fact: If farmers want to conserve more water, Monsanto’s DroughtGard corn isn’t the right tool. A recent UCS study found that DroughtGard won’t help farmers reduce water use—and its engineered drought tolerance will likely only be useful in moderate drought conditions. (Research has shown that organic farming methods could improve drought-year yields by up to 96%.)
Article Taken From Union Of Concerned Scientists Website
Posted in Agriculture, Bird and Butterfly Attractor Station, CRP Land, Environment, Farmland, Gardening, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, Monarch Caterpillars, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Tallgrass Prairie, Urban Gardens, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses
Tagged Agriculture, Butterflies, Crops, Drought, Earth, Energy, Epidemic, Farmer, farming, Food, Genetically Engineered, Habitat, Healthy, Herbicide, Land, Monarch Butterflies, Monsanto, Natural Resources, Organic Farming, Roundup, Seeds, Superweeds, USC, water, Yields