Meanwhile, May is upon us and it's a busy month with conferences, meetings, and presentations. Tick season is here in earnest, much earlier than it was ten years ago; I recall not having my first ticks until late May, but this year I started attracting them in late February. All of those millions of seed ticks that hatched last July are now little subadults that latch on and creep all over in the hundreds. Thank heavens for hotels with pools with exceedingly high chlorine levels to kill them outright. Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap works wonders on ticks, as well.
I had a nice hike through decent little woods that, in localized areas, have seen certain periods of heavy grazing and are still in recovery mode. But the woods are coming back, slowly, maybe through another two hundred years, but there's species accrual and structural building, and it's a long way from being a super nice woodland. On the upside, there's no bush honeysuckle, which is more than I can write about thousands of acres in Missouri. The heart of the Ozarks, protected by acres of buffering private lands that are not urbanized with bush honeysuckle, are not under the siege of this closed canopy-loving exotic species. But biotic homogenization is occurring at a rapid pace, so we must be vigilant, keep up with the fire, treat exotic infestations before they spread. Resiliency in the landscape is key. Make the landscape as healthy as possible with prescribed fire, no disturbance from heavy equipment or ATVs, keep the hogs out, keep deer numbers low, allow the ground flora to thrive and flourish.