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.
saint paul, minnesota
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
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
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
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
the monarch in the middle of this arrangement will not be making the journey down to mexico this year, and there are too few of them left these days to afford even this small loss. so i am sending him, if only symbolically, southward toward warmer weather, surrounded by all the signs that it is time to go. i hope all of his brothers and sisters make it intact.
early september assemblage: cattail, sumac, red oak leaves, white pine needles, milkweed, and monarch butterfly
vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota
tree trunk with woodpecker holes old and new
sucker lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota
most people would look at this image and be drawn to the striking red lanterns (aka male anthers) hanging from these prairie grass seed heads. but this former aerospace engineer can’t help looking at the sinuous shape of that stem, and thinking poetically to herself, “Aaaaaah, yes: f(x) = sin(x). Beautiful. Just beautiful.”
single stem of sideoats grama in late summer with red male stamen
rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota
for most of us in the united states, today is the first day of school. and i can’t tell you how ready i am. usually i love having the kids home, running down to the lake, and then up through the house on the way to the neighbors’ across the street. happy kids, with wet hair, and tanned shoulders, and an eager puggle at their heels. but this year, perhaps because of our france trip, i am craving, absolutely craving, some structure and routine. i feel like i have been adrift since june. step one is always to get more regular and disciplined about my daily walks. my goal is every day, rain or shine, 3-5 miles. i’m pretty good about it, but in summer with the kids around all day, my resolve melts. if it is too hot, or too humid, i make up the thinnest of excuses. so, in an effort to jump start my new back-to-school routine, i took three long walks this weekend. and on each walk, i found one STILL-worthy item. three for three. i am choosing to take this as an auspicious start to the new (school) year.
striped feather, raccoon jaw bone, bittersweet berries
pike island, vadnais lake, and sucker lake trails in saint paul, minnesota