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here’s looking at you

i have never looked at this many yellow goat’s beard flowers at one time before, and now i realize that, this whole time, they have been looking back at me. with wide stares, and, let’s not mince words, absolutely fantastic eyelash separation.

goat’s beard  (aka western salsify) blooms

roadsidia along rice street, shoreview, minnesota

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  1. Carol Sommers says:

    WOW !!!

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country cousins

during our last trip to france, our neighbor jean-luc, who understands the importance of such things, came knocking on our door one day with the urgent news that some rare wild carnations were blooming along a hillside where he walked his dogs at night. we dropped everything to go see them, of course, and they were to domesticated carnations as this blue-eyed grass is to its cousin the iris. they were so delicate and compact with such understated flowers that i never would have recognized them, or possibly even seen them, if they hadn’t been pointed out to me. they spent their lives too preoccupied with the unglamorous work of survival to fuss with pretty clothes just for show.

blue-eyed grass

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Margaret says:

    Beautiful.

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needles in a featherstack

i don’t have any good stories about these feathers or about my finding them. they were just on the side of the trail during another walk along the shore of vadnais lake, which is a placid and beautiful place during the day, but, given the number of feathers and bones i find there, must resemble a kind of hieronymous bosch hellscape between sundown and sunset. none of which explains why i chose this photo. i chose it for purely visual reasons: the crisp black needles of the feather shafts among the pillowy softness of the downy barbules. i love that.

canada goose feathers

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Carol Sommers says:

    Gorgeous photo

  2. mary says:

    Great photo!

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phenology

this weekend i had my first seasonal sightings of the following: red bellied snake, baby snapping turtle, fireflies, june bugs, and dragonflies. it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from aldo leopold, who is essentially, in this household, a favorite quote factory:  “Many of the events of the annual cycle recur year after year in a regular order. A year-to-year record of this order is a record of the rates at which solar energy flows to and through living things.  They are the arteries of the land.  By tracing their response to the sun, phenology may eventually shed some light on that ultimate enigma, the land’s inner workings.” –Aldo Leopold, A Phenological Record for Sauk and Dane Counties, Wisconsin, 1935-1945

dragonfly

saint paul, minnesota

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this vine contorting itself almost painfully into a recognizable ampersand reminds me that i have recently begun claiming, to a number of indifferently disbelieving friends and family members, that our puggle jack is trying to talk. he has lately made several sounds so otherworldly and strange, whether greeting me at the door, or reacting to the news of an impending walk, or drawing my attention to a forgotten morsel of chicken just out of reach on the kitchen counter, that i can only conclude he is trying to pierce the human-canine communication veil, and simply tell me, verbally, “mom, there’s chicken! no, i mean it! right there! right in front of you! no, not there! over there! yes! i can smell it!” because, of course, his increasingly frantic and intrusive behavior can’t simply be the worsening etiquette of an indulged and coddled dog. that just doesn’t stand to reason.

knotted vine

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Carol Sommers says:

    Any true dog lover will agree with you. My Barker Brothers are always trying to converse, especially regarding food.

  2. Dianne says:

    This is a small thing, but I’m finding the closer proximity of photo to details is helpful for me. Love, love both photos and comments!

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time for a pedi

this foot was all that was left of a local goose, who must have gotten careless in the presence of a coyote or a fox or an owl this week. i have never had the occasion to look this closely at a goose foot. it is not exactly horrifying. but, on the other hand, it’s not exactly not horrifying either.

canada goose foot

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

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weaponized

“mom i know this sounds nerdy and all, but you know what that looks like? it looks like the mythical weapon they call greek fire. you can tell them that.” so now i’ve told you.

dandelion stems

saint paul, minnesota

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something old, something new

today i turn 51 years old. it is an extremely boring age to turn. neither young nor old. a milestone and some change. steve and i decided to reward me for this singularly unimpressive accomplishment with an iPhone 6, since i am doing so much photo editing and posting on my phone these days, and the bigger screen might be easier on my aging eyes. i was mildly pleased with the idea. it was about as exciting as turning 51. then steve emerged from the back yard with this maidenhair fern pinched between two fingers. he stopped in the doorway and held it out to me, with a look on his face like mr. darcy in the rain. after 10 years in this house, i had no idea that maidenhair fern grew in our back yard. it was one of the most beautiful things i’ve ever seen, with its black stem and curvy symmetrical whorl of delicate leaflets. we raced to the bedroom to find some white paper, and he held the fern carefully while I snapped its photo over and over again to make sure i captured its youthful freshness before it began to wilt. i was quite literally groaning at the beauty of each new camera angle. we stopped just short of reverting to our 20s, and tearing each other’s clothes off. so, for my birthday, you can give me the very cutting edge of today’s mind-blowing technology revolution. or you can give me something really exciting.

maidenhair fern

from my yard, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Kimbersew says:

    Happy Happy Birthday! Enjoy all the wisdom and vision that you bring to new discoveries. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. Carol Sommers says:

    Happy, happy birthday. I really enjoyed my 50’s – more than 40’s. Have no idea why. Love the upside down heart in the fern. Have a great new year!

  3. Dede says:

    Happy Birthday; enjoy your special day. If fifty is nifty, fifty-one should be fun! May there be many more surprises to this year!

  4. Manisha says:

    The heart shape of the stem is very sweet. Hope you have a great day today!

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Happiest of Happy Birthdays!! from a fellow 51 year old. You can never outgrow passion. ;)

  6. margie says:

    thanks for the fern and the laughs.Happy birthday and wishes for a year full of eyes wide open.

  7. Suzanne says:

    i say go for the 20s! Snort. Happy birthday

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comb over

i bought three hundred daffodil bulbs last fall, and asked my daughter to plant them for me. she did, but this spring, only about 5 or 10 showed up at first. eva, did you plant the bulbs right side up? eva didn’t know. which meant that, statistically speaking, about half of the bulbs were planted upside down. so now the upside down bulbs are slowly finding their way to the surface, but in thin delicate waves, and what was supposed to be a thick, shaggy head of spring daffodil hair looks like a windblown comb over.

daffodil

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Barb says:

    … too funny … but how beautiful is this flower!

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white blossoms, blue berries

i don’t know what to say about this photo except that i love the bell shape of these blueberry blossoms, and that I find myself thinking about all of the white blossoms that end up producing colored fruit: white blueberry blossoms, white raspberry blossoms, white blackberry blossoms, white thimbleberry blossoms, white cherry blossoms, white apple blossoms, white pear blossoms, white plum blossoms, white olive blossoms, white grape blossoms. Surely there is a reason for this. I await your wisdom.

blueberry blossoms

from my yard, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    i think that in the ultra violet spectrum they are not so simple and white after all. Attracting pollinators is all that counts

  2. Carol Sommers says:

    I think the blossoms are saving all of their energy to burst forth into gorgeous color in their middle age so as to be attractive to us. Would you rather bite into a big red juicy apple or a white one? Just my poetic answer, not scientific at all

  3. Erin says:

    “White” is in the eye of the beholder. Agree with Margie – it has everything to do with who you want to attract. The flowers need to be pollinated, not eaten. Being too colorful within our visible light spectrum might send the wrong message (“EAT ME”). And in the UV spectrum, I bet the bees see a very different flower.

  4. Erica says:

    I have a soft spot for the bell shaped flowers and leathery leaves of the Ericacaea family. Not many of them taste as good as vaccinium, though.

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