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nobody knows what happened here

this spike whitetail buck was most likely injured in some way, involving trauma either to the base of the antler (the pedicle) or trauma to the growing antler in velvet. but it’s also possible that he sustained a leg injury, and since this is the left antler, that means that his injury was either to his left foreleg, or his right rear leg. in the meantime, his body was reallocating nutrients away from antler growth and toward leg healing. i think about this tiny, relatively simple, yet mind-numbingly multivalent solution to the problem of a deer’s getting grazed by an SUV, and I wonder how we humans think we can possibly understand, much less control, the complexity of the natural world.

white tailed deer antler

upper peninsula, michigan

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all hemmed in

can you see how tightly bound up those branch tips are? not to mention the burdock burrs below, that have grabbed some of the branches and some of the caterpillar web in their velcro grip? what should be waving free in the wind is constricted and confined and a little sad looking. yes, family can do that to you sometimes.

webbed silken nest of the fall webworm caterpillar

arden hills, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. tinajo says:

    Wow, that´s just gorgeous! :-)

  2. I used to be recommjended this blog by way of my cousin. I am not positive whether this publish is written through him as no one else know such precise about
    my problem. You’re amazing! Thank you!

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’tis the season

the minnesota grouse hunting season opens today, and even if my husband doesn’t get out to walk any trails, just knowing it is a possibility seems to make him happier.

pair of ruffed grouse wings

superior national forest, minnesota

 

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focus. focus.

the cute and fuzzy hedgehog gall might look like the only interesting thing happening on this fallen white oak leaf. but if you change focus, and look down and to the left, you’ll see a lacy spot where a hungry beetle ate all the soft middle out of his bread, and left the veiny crust behind on his plate. refocus again, closer to the tip of the leaf, and see where a caterpillar widened the indentation between two of the leaf’s lobes. insects are everywhere. and they are hungry.

hedgehog gall on a white oak leaf

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    i really love insect art on leaves

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six legged stroller

this dapper, bamboo-hued gentleman was walking across my husband’s office window. because large insects rank high on the priority list in our household, he interrupted his client meeting to call our son Joe down to collect the walking stick. i don’t actually know how all of this went over with the client.

common walkingstick

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    well i had to interrupt a patients interview today to rescue a small mouse from my examining room :)

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stage hogs

all the roadsides in my neck of the woods right now seem to have been dusted with gold. it appears almost every wildflower is yellow and showing off. goldenrod, goldeneye, black-eyed susans, hawkweed, sweet clover, jewelweed, and everyone’s favorite allergen, ragweed.  the dainty blue asters i showed yesterday are hiding out in the woodland wings while the scene-stealing september  yellows hog center stage.

a bouquet of yellow september wildflowers

north oaks, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    oh my look who left that last comment . I was just going to say i really love natures yellows at this time of year.

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frazzled

i generally dislike it when people talk about how busy they are, because although most imply that all this busyness has been imposed on them, in fact it is almost always a choice. so let me just say that through our choices, including a trip to france, kids’ soccer, piano lessons, a hopelessly spoiled dog, six pampered chickens, and dinner at home most nights, i have not found a satisfying and reliable creative routine all year. i feel a little bit like the aster in the foreground. tired after a long summer. hair a little mussed.

wild aster

sucker creek regional trial, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    so true , i believe in self determination with respect to how we occupy our time . I also really love this photograph. It so real.

  2. Ellen says:

    Great observation. I follow your blog for the photos, but also enjoy your notes.

  3. Becci Michalski says:

    Your creativity halts my perceived busyness for a moment and gives me such joy! Thank you sharing.

  4. LW says:

    you must be beautiful, darling! she looks perfect.

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and so it begins

the thing about fires is that they tend to spread. i caught this contained little blaze on one branch of an otherwise green maple tree today, but try as i might, i don’t think i will be able to extinguish it.

maple leaves in early september

north oaks, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    amazing how those tree fires start

  2. LW says:

    perfect balance.

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in defense of weeds

when we bought our house almost nine years ago, we inherited a small back yard pond.  the kind that needs a little pump to keep the water circulating and fresh. the pond sits under a copse of oak trees. so each fall, it fills with leaves. each spring i rake it out, top it off, and pretty much ignore it for the rest of the summer. the kids love the pond, and so do the wildlife who come to drink from it. this spring, due to the general busyness of preparing to leave for france, i didn’t rake the pond. so we now have a very dense, very lush aquatic weed garden.  my son, the budding naturalist, has counted no less than 7 resident frogs, of four different breeds–wood frog, pickerel frog, leopard frog, and green frog.  he is convinced the weeds are the draw. now what do i do next spring?

naiad pondweeds from our backyard pond

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. oh what a difficult question…, perhaps in spring you shoudn’t take out all of the weeds and take care of spawn … my pond is under a maple-tree…, you can imagine the lots of leaves I’m catching out every spring… But there’s no spawn, but frogs ;-). Kind regards Ghislana

  2. margie says:

    i would let nature take its course

  3. LW says:

    think of the varieties of things you will photograph! it’s a treasure trove.

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i went out for bacon, and came home with a rainbow

today steve and i went to breakfast at a beautiful farm-to-table restaurant in south minneapolis called wise acre eatery. but first a culinary digression. we went there specifically to buy their thick-cut, unsmoked bacon. our recent time spent eating and cooking in france, has hooked us on the joys of cooking with lardons, which shouldn’t be, but are in fact very difficult to find in Minnesota, land of Hormel, where bacon means smoked bacon. end of digression. in the end, what stunned me at wise acre eatery this morning was neither the breakfast hash, which was delectable, nor the bacon, which is the best we’ve found, but the landscaping, which appeared to include about 50 varieties of coleus. when, exactly, did this happen?  i am pretty observant. i like to visit botanical gardens and conservatories. but never have i seen so many cultivars in one place. is there a secret laboratory somewhere with eccentric botanists madly hybridizing coleus? the last time i landed on planet earth there appeared to be only a dozen or so varieties. whoa.

a collection of coleus leaves

wise acre eatery, minneapolis, minnesota

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  1. Carol Sommers says:

    There is even another one which i do not see: coleus mars. The leaves are very curly and almost black. It is winderful,planted with pink impatients. Wonderful photo today, as always.

  2. Kendra says:

    Gorgeous! Always brightens my day. I love the addition of the polka dot plants!

  3. LW says:

    I have to agree. I have begin a love affair with all the different coleus varieties I have been seeing. I see a new venture starting for you and your culinary man. Assuming you can fit one more business into your life…lardon distribution. thank you for today’s beauty on the still blog (as always!)

  4. Hey there! I’ve been readong your website for a long time now and finally got
    the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx!
    Jusst wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

  5. Kathleen says:

    So many varieties of coleus? Amazing. Love how you’ve coupled the upside and underside of each leaf. Beautiful!

  6. margie says:

    what a gorgeous tribute to an often undervalued annual

  7. Manisha says:

    I am struck by how some of them seem like they have sketches on them. The one that is second from the bottom on the right side seems like a drawing. Such beautiful variety.

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