Monday, May 2, 2011

If I’d known I would have this much company, I would have vacuumed.

Blog readership has exploded in the last 24 hours, courtesy of an unanticipated and unplanned trifecta of stealth PR. As I noted yesterday, this blog is being featured on Berry Go Round. But I also got a shout-out from my cousin Emily over at Daily Garnish. I think of her as my little firecracker sidekick from when we were little, but in truth she’s a powerhouse whose blog gets tens of thousands of page views. Per day.
Hi, everyone! If you were expecting a culinary blog, sorry! Although I did once post a recipe for emergency potluck squash soup, which I encourage you to read about here, if only to give you an idea of the full range of talent present in our family. Or lack thereof.
No, this blog is typically about southern Vermont’s flora and fauna, where flora = wildflowers, trees, moss, lichen, shrubs, and weeds, and fauna = the two black cats who wake me up at 5:30 am.
But first, the day’s run. The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in two weeks, and today was my final long training run. Fourteen miles, baby, fourteen.
runI honestly don’t know what I did before I had a Garmin, because this route was totally improvised. By the time I finished, I was more than a half mile from home, and I swear, if a car had passed, I would have hitchhiked. I was pretty beat.
Three ibuprofen and a bowl of homemade mueslix/yogurt/blueberry mix later, I’m as good as new.
Oh: with my Jeff Galloway-inspired mini-walking breaks every eight minutes included, I averaged a perfect 11 minute mile pace. I feel ready for Pittsburgh. Yeah!

The magnolia tree buds are FINALLY popping open.
And the lilac is sending out sprays of flowers – not yet opened.
This is the smallest one I could find. Look! Tiny space aliens in their spacepod!
This is trippy. It will be fun to watch them evolve. They’ll end up that medium mauve color (you know, as opposed to white, or dark purple). One thing I love about these flowers is, they’re fractal. Everything about the lilac is opposite: paired opposite buds, which explode into opposite leaves, and as you can see here, even the structure of the flowers is opposite. These remind me of pictures of mitosis, at the four-cell stage.
Moving right along, Charlie followed me into the magic mystery woodland…
It’s so much more open after the Death and Destruction Project of 2011, isn’t it? There’s a lot to report.
Starting with a new flower! It wasn’t open two days ago or I would have noticed it while I dragged dozens of helpless victims saplings out on to the lawn. This is bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). There are just these two, so far. The second they’re pollinated (by ants! who knew?) they’ll drop their petals, so enjoy them while you can.
And, the pachysandra around the magnolia tree is making inroads into the woods, and will be competing with the vinca:
Have you ever seen this stuff flower before? I don’t think I ever have, and that’s with having grown up with pachysandra in part of our front yard. Hm. Should I care that it’s making inroads into the woods? Should I be killing it off? It’s so cute…I prefer to save my rapacious energies for errant raspberry canes…
Things are going well for the blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – the pollen is spreading hither and yon, making a mess everywhere. There is a TON of blue cohosh this year. There’s also a ton of sessile-leaf bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia):
Soon we’ll see some little flowers tucked away under there – stay tuned.
Speaking of flowers I’ve been waiting to see, I thought I saw an errant daffodil deep in the woods, and I’m glad I got a shot at it (blurry, but hey, I zoomed in from far away), because now that I look at it..P1060563
That’s a trout lily! (Erythronium americanum) See the mottled leaf, just at the bend where Charlie’s tail lifts up? Yay!
I’m noticing that in general shape, this kind of bellwort is similar to false solomon’s seal.
Same basic shape – arcing stem, long leaves arranged just so…This is false solomon’s seal. But here’s what really jumped out at me in this photo:
The jack-in-the-pulpit! Yowza! Love these guys. (Arisaema triphyllum). I had an extravagance of these last year.
Even the ash tree buds are starting to open up, for real, this time.
At left: March 15. At right, today, May 2nd.
Today’s trillium shot. Yes, those are my legs in the background. Every skilled photographer knows about holding the camera upside down to get a shot of something facing away from you, right? What I love about this shot is the pattern of veins in the petals. They remind me of the unfolding buds of this mystery species, which I speculate might be in the walnut family:
I’ll leave you with a final zen moment. A sapling reduction program for this part of the world is being planned…just as soon as I recover from this run.

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