Sunday, November 14, 2010

catkins and tombstones

The new Asics are supposed to arrive tomorrow.

new asics

On the theory that lounging around in a post-pancake and bacon stupor was probably not the healthiest move, I dragged my still-tired legs out for a walk. 

I was shocked, shocked! to see something actually blooming. It’s November, people, what are you thinking?


These two guys are tiny side-of-the-road guys. I can’t find the white one in Newcomb’s, which must mean that it doesn’t actually exist. It must be the post-pancake stupor – it’s making me hallucinate. As for the yellow one – let’s just call it a something something primrose, and be satisfied for now.


Next up, let’s admire this vine’s brilliant squiggles. And! the tiny, tiny spider webs that adorn it!




It’s so seldom that all of the four cars in front of this house are gone simultaneously, so I felt at liberty to get another picture of the world’s greatest Buddha statue. (There are all kinds of funky things in the neighborhood I could show you but I don’t think it’s polite to be posting pictures of other people’s houses. I’m even a little squeamish about posting this one.)



Catkins! Let’s look at some catkins. So, a variety of trees make catkins. Alders, poplars and cottonwood, all the birches…(actually, alders are in the birch family, but never mind, let’s move on…)

First up, we have alders. There are a couple of types around here – smooth and speckled – and I’m fairly sure this is the smooth kind: Alnus serrulata. They live in wet places, and since the whole village is in a floodplain, bingo, alders.


These are the catkins that were formed this year. Alders are Monoecious (Greek for “one household”), meaning that individual plants have both male and female reproductive structures. Plants are unbelievably kinky when it comes to reproduction.








And here are some buds, aka future leaves.


It’s amazing how much of New England Flora – the first class I took in grad school, and this was nearly eleven years ago (WTF?!) – stuck with me. One look at that rounded bud, on the right in the picture, and I said to myself – “alder”.  I think it would be cool to track a particular set of buds and catkins and we can watch them all explode next spring.

Onwards. A birch. I’m thinking, gray. Betula populifolia. We have here – I think! – the male catkins, each accompanied by a bud. Let’s call the bud the wingman. It’ll encourage the catkin, come Action Time, in the spring. Good lord, I need to clean up my act and sound more professional. Naaaahhhhh….



And here we have the bud. Isn’t it CUTE? Actually, this picture doesn’t quite do it justice. The colors are lovely shades of gray. Mmmmm….



I didn’t go very far on today’s walk – just as far as the village. Which, by the way, contains a cemetery.


The oldest tombstones that I found dated back to the early 19th century.





The saddest ones for me are these: two little girls, sisters, who died two days apart. It makes me very, very thankful for modern medicine.



And now, time to make pizza dough. From scratch.

I completely ignored the bathroom project today. Ooops.

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