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One way to Get Rid of a Common Weed – Eat it!

Lamb’s Quarter Orzo Salad 5 cups of lamb’s quarter leaves 2 cups uncooked orzo ½ cup feta cheese ½ pine nuts – toasted 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 3 tbsp oil of your choice 1 tbsp sugar ½ tsp sea salt ¼ tsp pepper Optional mix ins: rosemary, basil, thyme, mint Cook orzo according to package directions Toast pine nuts 350 degree oven for 10 mins Wash and chop lamb’s quarter leaves Mix: vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in jar with lid and shake up Mix greens, cooked orzo, feta in bowl, pour dressing over and...

Sweet Smelling Early Blooms

The big spring green up is just a couple of weeks away… Our forests and woodlands have rested and are ready to wake up from their deep sleep, explode back to life, and treat us to the sweet smells of the new season. Among these smells are some of the blooming flowers that burst forth in late April and early May.  There are two species that come to mind that put out a light, but distinctive sweet perfume: Sweet white violets (Viola blanda) and wild plum (Prunus Americana). Sweet white violet Viola blanda is...

Spring Flooding

Spring has finally arrived and with it so has flooding here in the Red River Valley. Although we have had and ideal melt that has mitigated much of the flooding impacts, we still have issues with surface water runoff. This is due to the meltwater not being able to be fully absorbed by frozen soil. When runoff flows along the ground, it picks up soil sediments and contaminants like petroleum, pesticides, and fertilizers that become discharged into rivers and lakes as nonpoint source pollution. The sedimentation and pollution can have major effects on water quality and wildlife. Using proper disposal of unused contaminants, good soil tillage plans, and following label instructions...

Spring Renewal

Spring is the time of renewal. Think about how exciting it is to hear the first red-winged blackbird sing. To look out into the wetland to see one clutching to an old, exploded cattail showing off their red and yellow shoulder badges. Think about the first evening you hear the hardy chorus frog calling creeee from a shallow melting pond. Beautiful reminders that sometimes we have to go through a harsh winter but in the end spring always comes. Heidi Sjoquist Director of Retail Operations Princeton, MN ...

Spring is coming…

It was -9 below zero this morning, the snow drifts are waist deep in some places, but believe it or not, the spring rush has already begun in the PRI products department. In our greenhouses tiny seedlings are beginning to sprout, soaking up the sun and enjoying 70 degree temperatures, protected from the freezing cold by a mere thin sheet of plastic. In just a few short weeks, crews will start hand transplanting each of these seedlings into its own container for resale, a process that will be performed over 250,000 times here...

Driftless

La Crosse, WI 1867 About 85% of the Driftless region lies within Wisconsin and is host to more than half of the world’s rare Algific slopes. It is characterized by its Karst topography, bluffs, effigy mounds, river ecosystems, world class trout fishing, rare and fragile species, abundant wildlife, cave art, and goat prairies. I’ve lived in the Driftless region for 23 years of my life, yet, it hasn’t been until the last couple of years that I have grown to truly appreciate how special this area is....

Winter Restoration Work

This time of year most people in our industry are looking to the coming season or plugging through busy work in preparation for spring. There are however a few rugged souls still out in this obnoxiously cold weather doing the good work. In all honesty, their determination detracts my focus from any task at hand, from busy work, from spring, even from family and friends. I’m instead forced to look inward. This has been my first winter spent indoors. I’m no longer the go-to winter field work...

“What Do You Do All Winter?”

Working at Prairie Restorations, Inc., we are often asked this simple question: “What do you do all winter?” It is fair question, given the nature of our work. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there is a lot going on this time of year… During much of the winter, our services crews are still out in the field working on projects. Most of this involves working in the woods, removing buckthorn and other invasive woody species on both public and private properties. Other types of...

A Brief Year in Review

We have been fighting our way through another wall of buckthorn, but are getting close to having it wrapped up before Christmas, no pun intended. It was a short summer, weedy as ever, but managed to get our projects done and improve our relationships with our great customers, even though we didn’t get to see some of them until the middle of the season. There are a few small restoration projects to keep us going, but we’re looking forward to enjoying our slow...

Musings while Cleaning Native Seed

Seed cleaning season is here, and as we started working on this year’s harvest, an as-of-now unidentified invader (see photo) was spotted crawling around our work area. This unknown larvae has been pouring out of our drying Aster piles in large numbers and appears to be residing in a re-purposed seed husk and crawling around with it like a hermit crab. In a crop-based line of work, one’s thoughts can quickly jump to the question of whether or not a particular creature is a pest. Though some of the things...