the itch

the itch

i wonder if there is something hardwired into our species that leads us to treat fall days as opportunities to get something done. as if our instincts tell us that harvest season is upon us, and if, for most of us, there is no longer a winter’s worth of grain and gourds to harvest, then at least it may be time to take a peek into the corners of the garage and see what kind of clutter needs clearing. it was almost dinner time this evening, near the end of a day spent just this way, that i recalled i had this little blog in my life, and it needed daily tending, and i had not yet taken today’s photo. fortunately there was a swamp white oak down near the water producing perfectly photogenic acorns just now, and preparing, in its own way, for the coming season.

swamp white oak acorn, Quercus bicolor

arden hills, saint paul, minnesota

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differing points of view

differing points of view

sometimes i need to turn to my son to help me out with a caption. i’ve seen a lot of water lilies, and tonight i felt out of ideas, as i tried to find something interesting to say about the lavender undersides of these leaves, or maybe their leathery texture. i turned to my son and asked him what his first thought was when he saw this photo. he answered right away. what he saw was a frog lure jittering slowly across the pads, and then falling off the far edge with a soft plop, directly into the jaws of a five pound bass. see. now i never would have had that thought.

dried lily pads

lake valentine, arden hills, minnesota

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don’t let me go

don’t let me go

i still don’t know what botanical process causes this breathtaking stained-glass effect. if any of my plant geeks have any insight, i’ll take it. for some reason, this particular patch of ferns in my back yard seems to create this effect most years. it’s almost as if the fern is saying, please, don’t make me go back to winter. look how pretty i can be. take me with you.

fern leaflet

turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota

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throwback thursday

throwback thursday

we just got word that the grape harvest in the faugères appelation has already been completed. which means that we have missed a year of wine grape clusters transformed into table grapes after a day of picking in the fields. wine grapes are some of the sweetest fruit we’ve ever eaten. in fact some of the sweetest dessert of any kind we’ve ever eaten.

selection of wine varietal grapes

autignac, france

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malum

malum

ok, follow me. so the latin word for apple is malum. if you look this up you will discover that the latin word malum means evil or wicked. why would an apple be associated with evil or wickedness? well, the first thing that comes to mind is the garden of eden and the apple of knowledge. so maybe apples and evil are intertwined all the way back to latin. ah, but wait. the latin word mālum with a long “a” means apple. but the latin word malum with a short “a” means evil. root of the french word for evil, “mal,” and lots of english words like malefactor, maleficent, malediction, etc. the two words come from two greek roots that are entirely unrelated, and so it is purely coincidence that malum, long “a,” and malum, short “a,” happen to be latin homographs. if, of an evening, you find yourself poking around the internet on this subject, you will also find that the apple in the garden of eden was almost certainly not an apple, which doesn’t grow well, or at all, in the deserts of southern iraq, but was most likely either a quince or a pomegranate. so there you have it. two words: malum and malum, tied together by their spelling and by a rich cultural history, and, in the end, completely and totally unrelated. i can’t decide if i’m happy about the way i just spent the last half hour, or sad.

crabapples

minneapolis, minnneota

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