Cleaned up 1 bag today. I also picked up a few wasp nests attached to unassuming looking pieces of trash, one of which was in my bag for a while before I noticed it! I've been contemplating weeds lately, as it seems the plant life of the field is increasingly composed of nothing else. The Russian olive trees are the biggest noxious weeds around,and at the rate they're popping up all over it's easy to foresee the field becoming a sort of Russian olive woodland. Back when the neighborhood was built, they were still being planted as ornamentals. I don't know why -- they're short and thorny, with dark brown bark that peels in vertical strips; they're smelly in spring (the scent of their tiny white and yellow blooms is deep in my memory -- I think there was one in the front yard of the house I spent my first years in -- but it's pungent and, I think, unpleasant) and they don't change color in fall. Not a particularly attractive tree, if you ask me. But a quick look at the neighborhood reveals their silvery leaves still common in people's yards and on street corners and medians, even though they're now illegal to buy or sell in the state of Colorado. This is because they are an invasive, non-native species that quickly spreads out of captivity and chokes riparian areas, crowds out native species, and does not provide favorable nesting habitat for many birds. There are thick stands at several places along the creek, as well as individual trees spread throughout the field, with new ones popping up all the time. There is exactly one cottonwood sapling that I know of in the field (the one whose old mother sadly fell on it, but which is still kicking) and several young trees, but they just don't reproduce at the phenomenal rate of the Russian olives. I'm afraid they'll be crowded out. In the center of the field, the husk of a long dead cottonwood is surrounded by a thick copse of Russian olives, currently heavy with seed.
At this point, eliminating them from the field would take a huge effort from many people (no way could I do it alone) over a long term, to cut them, remove them, and monitor for more. I don't see it happening. The city has a volunteer force for controlling Russian olives, but they've never made here before. I did, however, realize today that young Russian olive seedlings are rather easy to break and twist off at the base, and I collected three of them along with the trash. They'll probably just grow back, but maybe if I nip enough in the bud it'll help staunch the Russian olive tide.
Other than that, it was a nice cool day, cloudy with a refreshing sprinkle around 7:00 p.m. Recent rains left a lot of trash in the creek near the road. It hasn't rained in several days, but there was still standing water in the low ground near the creek bed below the prairie dog colony. It gives me hope that the ground is too wet for them to expand further, and they wont find their way onto the manicured grass of Mayfair park and get themselves in trouble.