Monday, June 24, 2013

wisdom as dispensed by the municipal mowing team

I was dismayed to see the town’s mowing crew vehicles out on our dirt road this morning. Devastation and chaos ensued.
This jack-in-the-pulpit wasn’t too pleased, either.
Fortunately, others survived. These continue to be GREEN.
...except this one, but this one looks like it’s still trying to GET green, rather than transitioning from green to red.
(As I type this, the mowers are just outside the house. I shudder to think of the fate of folks I was JUST photographing a few minutes ago. Hopefully the blades are set too high to wipe out the campion. Sob.)
It was stupendously hot, and I was moving quickly, because my goal was to get about a mile away to where some jewelweed is starting to bloom, without expiring on the way. I’ve seen gigantic jewelweed but only one flower, so I planned to investigate and see what I could learn.
I couldn’t resist the just-opening milkweed flowers, though:
This guy got crud all over his feet and spent some time clinging to the underside of a leaf, cleaning its back legs. But it kept a front leg hooked over the edge to hang on:
What the hell are those little paddles coming off the joints? That is crazy.
Celandine seed pods are ripening. Apparently they orange up as they ripen...
...because then they apparently just explode, leaving just the husks:
DSC_0008 (2)
One still had seeds inside...
DSC_0010 (2)
Looking up the road to the acres of jewelweed I planned to visit, I realized they were all gone:
Slashed down without so much as a by-your-leave. There goes that project.
On the unmowed side of the road, I saw a fair amount of jewelweed, but just a single flower, and a few seedpods.
DSC_0038 (2)
Maybe they just...don’t...flower every year? Sigh. I’ll figure it out eventually.
When life’s mower comes along, change what side of the road you’re on. That’s my new motto. I found stuff I wasn’t expecting – such bonuses as red baneberry...
DSC_0034 (2)
These seem to get red more the way apples do – green blushing into red. Still no clue how those jack-in-the-pulpit berries are going to get red. Perhaps by magic, overnight?
A few trillium, long gone to seed:
DSC_0004 (2)
And all the celandine I showed you a minute ago.
By this point I was dripping sweat and ready to go home.
DSC_0050 (2)
Almost home - I found another stash of these across the street from my neighbor’s mailbox, but I fear I will never be able to ID them, as the gnashing of mowers have probably just wiped it all out.
DSC_0052 (2)
Farewell, sweetie. I saw you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

the tiniest flowers are sometimes the most ornate

when is white campion not white campion?


when it’s pink.

the rhododendron flowers are all done. a few forlorn bees buzz around, making sure they haven’t missed anything.


on the side of the road, a smattering of asiatic dayflowers.


I’d wade into the weeds more, but the poison ivy threatens:


remember deertongue, from the other day? here’s how those wriggly spermies break free of the stalk:


let’s have another look at those teensy flowers:

fancy magenta headdress (stigma?)



...dangling little slippered feet (anthers?)


just so we’re clear about this, that whole structure takes up less than half the length of my index finger’s nail.

this is the last of the golden alexander that’s still golden...



most of it looks like this by now:



and now for today’s new (to me) species...drumroll please...


wild garlic!

the jack-in-the-pulpit report: still green.


...whereas the false solomon’s seal berries are partway to red. they don’t start off bright green like the jacks – more of a pale greeny yellow, followed by rusty speckling, like so:



some sort of panic grass. I am loathe to speculate on species – I’m not even completely sure it’s a panic grass.


OK, time to suck down some of the library books that have all been released from the purgatory of On Hold to my hot little hands, at the same time. Ready – set – go!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

good morning


Lawn mushroom (Mushroomicus lawnum)


Bittersweet nightshade


Celandine, this time showing the formation of one of those most excellent pod thingies!

And now for the bugs:


No clue.


Pardon me.



that is all.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

lunch in the lilacs

We have a small lilac bush at the front of the house and yesterday, as I came in from checking the mail, I gave it a quick once-over. I spotted the iridescent wing of a something-something. Squinted at it. Oh my: a syrphid fly had been invited to lunch by a crab spider. Fetchez le camera!



“You look marvelous! Have you lost weight?”



“I love your new look!”

There was a light breeze, which set the lilac blooms dancing. It was hard to get a good shot. I stabilized the branch for my own reasons, but the spider took advantage of the sudden (relative) stillness to manoeuver her guest into a better position:



Diner est servi!

The nice folks over at believe the guest to be a female Toxomerus geminatus. Although by now she’s been transmogrified into her host(ess), the spider. And so it goes.

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.