Snow! Almost two feet! And a few drops of rain, all adding up to about 1/2″ of moisture for the prairie in October. The pine trees fared just fine, though the softened soil at the edges of rims caused a few to fall. The sumac bushes did less well. Their shoots and branches are stooped from the snow, though the weight has melted away now. The chokecherries and other bushes have suffered some bending, as well. It will be interesting to see what, if any, change will come to their shape in the spring. The snow also flattened any grass that was left from the fire, and the whole prairie is now a soft, flat, green carpet, except where the stronger cactus leaves stick up through the mat. And the muddy ground is great for holding tracks, including coyote and prairie dog and mule deer.
Less cover means more exposure for the ground-dwellers and crawling things, and while the mouse highways are covered over their holes are even more visible. There are dark fuzzy caterpillars crawling around, in and out and under the grass stalks. The few remaining grasshoppers are rather unsuccessful at hopping through the snow, getting buried and stuck, and have been slowed by the cold weather. Huge gray and hairy (2″ long) wolf spiders (Carolina?) are everywhere and are easily spotted, at least when they move.