Wednesday, June 12, 2013

does anything rhyme with celandine?

I was in a foul, foul mood when I set off on a walk this morning. We have a landlord who obviously cares deeply for the welfare of his house. He handles all the maintenance of the yard and landscaping, which is fine by us, but he just can’t stop himself from coming over just about Every.Single.Day...sometimes twice. For no apparent reason, at least as far as the landscaping is concerned. I’ll be minding my own business and I’ll hear the sound of the garage door going up...or I’ll look out the window and there he is, fiddling with something or other. He comes to check whether there is water in the basement, and whether the dehumidifier needs to be emptied. We have assured him that we will handle this – after all, we are homeowners too. We get water in our basement. We know all about the checking of the dehumidifier. In fact, Kevin actually showed him how to empty its reservoir (we have the same model at home in Vermont). I have told him, repeatedly “I’m on it...” and he says “great, thanks...” and then he comes over anyway to double check. Last night I finally sent him a message: Please stop. It’s an invasion of privacy, and it’s borderline insulting. This morning, I went into the basement and vacuumed up some water that had seeped in overnight. Not two minutes later, up goes the garage’s him, firing up the wet vac. Jesus H. Christ. I grabbed the camera, locked the doors, and snuck out of the kitchen door before he was through so that I wouldn’t see him and possibly explode at him.

I blasted right by the jack-in-the-pulpits, the false solomon seal, the green frog who dives for cover in the culvert but who invariably pops up again so that we may contemplate one another at our leisure. I didn’t slow down til a good mile in. When I did, I was rewarded with the blessings of roadside weeds, not one but two new-to-me species, and an old acquaintance.

First, the weed. (I’m just going to have to trust you can hear the irony in my voice. “Weed” is just a word meaning “I am too lazy to get to know this plant”.)


Some type of dock, I’m guessing curled. This is very tip of a flower spike and thus, these flowers are barely open. I like to think that the white glow around the buds is the plant’s aura, though it’s possibly just an out-of-focus blur from the gentle breeze. Or hey: maybe it’s both.

The curled dock was a subject of fascination for not just me, but also this guy:



plus an ant and her aphid charges...



...and whoever this is.



Then we have a NEW TO ME SPECIES! YAY!


A tall grass kinda thing.  Fuzzy stems, clasping leaves, and a wriggle of spermy flowers clustered at the tip.


JOY! some of them are just starting to pop open.


My “Grasses: an Identification Guide” (thanks, Mom!) tells me this is deertongue (Dichanthelium clandestinum).

Then I spotted some celandine (Chelidonium majus) – I knew I’d seen it before, and exactly where, back in Vermont, but it wasn’t on my regular route so I couldn’t remember its name. Celandine, celandine, such a pretty name.

Intricate leaves...



Four yellow petals...



And oh yeah! These seed pod thingies!



Then, another new-to-me guy – huge, huge stalk, gigantic leaves...



...tiny little flower stalk.


Reminds me of Robin Williams’ description of himself as the Genie in “Alladin”:


itty-bitty living space!

No idea who it is yet.

In other news, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gigantic mountain laurel shrub in our yard, picture from a few days ago:


Magic origami, free for the taking.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still sorta pissed about the landlord, but I’m glad I got outside. One’s soul needs to be washed periodically and visiting the non-human neighbors is clearly good for me. In another couple of hours I’ll head out to work for the afternoon – someone’s throwing a birthday party at the aerial park. That ought to be good for all concerned. Get in a harness...go up into the trees...clean out your pipes with some adrenaline...yeah. Life’s OK. Life’s OK.

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