Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Town

All the fun and excitement of the holidays is over and February looms cold, gloomy and cheerless. February on the northern prairie is as bitter cold and snowy as January. In the south, you are turning the corner toward spring but here it will be March before we see even a little improvement in the weather.

One really pleasant note to start the month. I actually won something. That never happens. Jamie and Randy at Creating Our Eden (Use the following url if the linky doesn't work http://jandrgardenblog.blogspot.com/) had a drawing for a really nice bird feeder. I can't believe that I could be so lucky. An absolutely perfect prize for a wild bird watcher such as myself.

If you don't already know Jamie and Randy, stop and visit their blog. Be sure to check out the archives and see what an amazing job they have done constructing their gardens.

This is primarily a garden blog but this time of year garden topics are hard to find. Maybe today I'll just mention one of the more interesting things about my town.

Rockford has a tiny natural history museum that used to be located in an old house on the banks of the Rock River. Burpee Museum has grown quite a bit in the last few years and one of the reasons for its growth is Jane.

Jane is an adolesant tyranosaurous rex discovered, excavated and cleaned by staff and volunteers from Burpee. It is extremely rare to find a young example of a T. Rex and Jane is in wonderful condition. A very interesting story surrounds the finding of Jane. In the summer of 2001, a team from the Burpee museum had been scouting in Hell Creek, Montana for unusual specimens to bring back to the museum. On the last day of the expedition, the toe and leg of a large dinosaur were found protruding from the banks of a creek. Time had run out so the team 'hid' their find with rocks and dirt and returned to Rockford hoping no one else would discover the amazing find before they could reorganize and apply for permits to excavate the site.

While Jane was alive, the Hell Creek area was a flood plain

The team returned in the summer of 2002 and began to excavate Jane. Enduring weeks of blazing heat, torrential rains that turned the area to a sea of mud, swarms of biting insects and poisonous snakes, the team carefully uncovered Jane's skeleton from the surrounding rocks.

Finding the jaw bone gave the team a pretty good idea of what kind of dinosaur they had discovered.

Jane is a favorite with children. Kids love dinosaurs but Jane is extra special. She was a youngster herself and the kids must identify with her. Buses unload daily at Burpees doors bringing school children to view her.

All photos courtesy of Jane's web site.

You can read more about the discovery of Jane at this site: Jane, the diary of a dinosaur