Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring ! ?

Unseasonably warm here in Minneapolis this week. Today was warmer than yesterday, and yesterday was a high of 67, I think. A new record. No snow left in most places, except in the shade. Early Spring. Will this warmth remain, or will we get socked by some end of season Winter storm ? Stay tuned...
Pussy willows are full and grey, and the trees around town are already starting their Spring yellow-green tinge thing...that beautiful signal that all things chlorophyll are awakening, and ready to begin processing pure sunlight into beautiful structure. Exuberant, windblown, insect-assisted plant sex is about to explode for its brief annual moment. Every season has its place, but I love Spring ! And another note for the phenological record; I saw 2 different Mourning Cloak butterflies today, the earliest I've seen. They may have been the same butterfly, can't be sure, but they were hours and blocks apart. I, with the plants and certain mammals, come out of a certain slumber, and awaken to a different level in the warmth and activity of Spring.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fall to Winter-The Great Sleep

Winter starkness overtakes the autumnal colors of Aster, Red Maple, Virginia Creeper, and Flowering Dogwood in my backyard. We are at least 20" over the average snowfall for Minneapolis for the season so far, which seems like plenty for us Mid-Continent dwellers, but I read today that Mammoth Mountain, California has endured 15 feet of snow in the past 4 days !!! Are you kidding me !!? I am having a hard time finding places to put the snow in my driveway, but now I feel embarrassed, what in the world do they do with all that snow?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Front Yard in May

Looking across my front yard above to where the Wild Indigo below is blooming. The previous post is a closeup of this plant:

May Baptisia

Here's a beautiful Baptisia australis, Wild Blue Indigo, blooming the end of May in my front yard. This is a great showy plant with beautiful flower display and an almost equally beautiful rest of season display of foliage. This plant will fill up a 5 foot circle and grow up to 4 feet high before flopping under the weight of its seed pods. It isn't native to Minnesota, but a bit further south in the Tallgrass Prairie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring Means Cottonwoods and Wood Ducks

Spring means alot of things, but in this city block I live in, one of the meanings is Cottonwood seeds, fluffy and over-abundant. They started blowing about 2 days ago, earlier than last year, like many things this Spring in Minneapolis. They spew so abundantly that they produce actual drifts of fluff. And they make it tough to be outside after mid-morning, since they have an almost willful drive to lodge in an eye.

On a more fun note, yesterday I saw a hen Wood Duck cross busy Penn Ave. with possibly 9 ducklings following her into my neighbor's yard, which, like mine is surrounded by a chain link fence. After alerting the neighbors to the wildlife event, we went over and watched the cadre of hatchlings waddle around after their mother for a few minutes. But we had them corralled into the side yard of the house with escape only back into the busy street or through (over) the fence into the backyard. We didn't want to see carnage with them attempting their way back across the busy street, so I pushed Mama forward into the fence. The chicks easily plopped their way through the chain links into the backyard, but the hen looked as though she would strangle herself as she first tried to also go THROUGH the chainlink fence ! I yelled "No!" to her numerous times as I also continued to pressure her in the direction of her chicks. She must have understood me, because she fluttered her wings and lifted herself up over the fence to the happy reunion with the chicks. Then they kind of disappeared as we ignored them for a few minutes and walked around the other side of the house. When we got into the backyard they had disappeared, and we can only hope they made their way to Theodore Wirth Park, about 8 blocks to the west of our yards. It was fun to see waterfowl that wasn't either Canada Geese or Mallard Ducks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Confessional

Wow ! And I was raised Protestant, we don't do confessionals, do we? I don't know, I am now a protestant to a Protestant in my religious behaviors.
I am embarrassed by my lack of posting these past few (or many) months. I had greater intentions when I started this. I so often get entranced reading other people's blogs, most of whom seem so much more educated and experienced than I about gardening matters, nature, or just life. Or they maybe just have better cameras with which to capture their latest life list entry, beetle, bird or bee. I often think I have little to contribute or add to the big picture.
Whatever my original intentions were for this blog, I am now revising it to become an online nature/garden/life journal. There are a few of you out there who have at least checked in here occasionally, and I appreciate each of you. But I will mostly now pretend to ignore that you're watching, and write as though I'm just thinking to myself, writing out loud. But, obviously knowing someone may be out there, otherwise why not get offline and use a pencil, and just really keep it to myself. Because, ironically, this may become slightly more interesting if I quit writing to some supposed audience, and just write what's going on in my head. So stay tuned if you like, when you please.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Butterflies Need Us

As we humans continue to monopolize the geography for our own shopping needs, we keep plundering the shopping needs of other species. Monarch and other butterly species need native plants to sustain them in both their migratory journeys and their reproductive activities. We can help support them by growing plants in our gardens which provide them with nectar for adult food and leaves for caterpillar munching. Monarch Watch has a website that shows how to be a help to butterflies which happen past your own yard. Plant some native species this year and help keep the butterflies fluttering by !

Monarch Watch