Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Yesterday, went to Volo Bog to do some fieldwork. It was SO HOT (how hot was it?!)... well, I don't have a pithy response. It was just HOT. The temp gauge on the truck was at 102 when I got home. We did our work with frequent pauses to mop the sweat that was pouring into our eyes. Really unpleasant, and not a lot of shade at a bog :( The bog is still really dry after last year's drought. The water depth marker in the eye is at about 2 foot 6, and the bog's eye is really reduced though better than last year. Still tons of birds and dragonflies, but don't expect to see any frogs near the boardwalk anymore. There's a definite impact on the vegetation, too - cattails everywhere (invasive? need to learn diff. between native and invasive Typha), and certain rare species are declining. We know that bogs are ephemeral by their nature but nobody wants their lifetime to be the one when the bog finally fills in and becomes a plain old meadow.
The eye of the bog
A typical image along the boardwalk near the center of the bog, where shrubs (mostly holly) predominate. Those trees are tamaracks, Larix laricinia, a typical bog tree. They are actually growing out of the floating peat mat, and they bend at a right angle within the mat so they won't have their roots directly in the water.
Closer to the edge of the bog, away from the peat mat, the vegetation is again more typical of open or shallow water, though you can no longer see any water here. Milkweed and Typha predominate.
On the way home from the bog, I had planned on lunch at Culver's (there's no Culver's near us so we take advantage of every opportunity!). I figured a morning outside in that heat had earned me a frozen custard. However, the fates were not smiling (or rather they were laughing) and some emergency police action on Rand Road forced me and everyone else to double back and find an alternate route. By the time I'd wandered aimlessly through downtown Lake Zurich and regained Rand, I'd passed Culver's. *sob* I stopped at what appears to be the third brand new sprawling megamall in Deer Park (which now has more mall employees than residents) and found a Quizno's, where I passed a happy half hour in the A/C. I watched workmen rig up those soaker bags around the newly planted trees; the men were wearing long-sleeved shirts and I wondered if it was by choice or if TPTB at Deer Park don't want their upscale shoppers to be offended by the sight of bare Mexican arms.
I went outside just now with the dogs and - hallelujah! - it's not unbearably hot out. It's *only* supposed to get to the low 90s today, and possible storms. That will be good because I only managed to get part of the yard watered yesterday and some of the plants are looking resentful.