because it’s april 12, and my husband is a tax preparer and i had one too many things on my plate today, my son joseph is guest blogging for one night. take it away, joe:

am i the only one who thinks this looks like a monster? look closely, don’t the three red catkins look like lips and a tongue,  and the cones to the right look like eyes, glasses actually, maybe it’s a monster that reads a lot.

male alder flower catkins on the right, last year’s female catkins center, and fruit on left

sucker lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • Lisa says:

    I see the monster! I like that the monster is a reader. Perhaps he is cultured. Let’s hope he uses his intelligence for good and not for evil.

  • Dede says:

    I think Joseph has a real talent. the apple (the red catkin) doesn’t fall too far rom the tree!


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my shell

when threatened, i tend to retreat into a shell of routine and immediate family. no matter what the world throws at me, a fire, a glass of wine, the couch, the dog, my hubby and my kids make me feel invulnerable to the sharp beaks and prying claws of the world.

painted turtle shells

shoreview, minnesota

  • Deb Garvey says:

    Lovely thoughts. I understand the retreat, just hadn’t thought of it in terms of a turtle.


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the bright side

one of my sayings to my husband for a lot of years was, “trust the universe.” he was a born catastrophizer, ready on a moment’s notice to see the dark side, and imagine the worst case scenario. it took him 20 years, but now he almost always trusts the universe. in fact he may have been too good a student. we are making plans to return to france this fall, without the money to make it work yet, and he is already revisiting some invitations from some of our friends there, who offered to help us possibly make wine. we have no experience, no skills, and no budget. steve is trusting the universe. so . . . is the live oak sprout in this photo just optimistic? or has it catastrophically misjudged some deceptively mild spring weather?

coast live oak acorns

carmel, california

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because i said so, that’s why

we had been in northern california only a couple of hours when i saw this gorgeous yellow flower on the UC Berkeley campus and had to take a photo. i held up my opened journal as a white background, and snapped a few quick shots. by the time we were installed in carmel for a few nights, i had seen these flowers blooming everywhere. as ubiquitous as dandelions in june.  my daughter finally asked, “what are these, they’re everywhere?”. i answered casually “they look like poppies and must be the state flower”. one of  those throw away mom answers, that really means, i have no idea. well, i’ll be damned, i was right.

california poppy

university of california, berkeley, ca

  • Carol says:

    Here is what my daughter says is going on my head stone “mothers are always right”

  • Tracy Klinesteker says:

    In the poppy fields outside of Palmdale (north of LA) every year, if the weather cooperates, the hillsides are carpeted with orange poppies and blue lupine. The contrast between bold orange and electric blue can give one a headache, but you can’t stop looking!


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going ballistic

i never knew what lilac seeds looked like until i tried to figure out what was going on with this branch. obviously some buds are bursting, but less obviously, those little brown clusters are seed pods that have burst. lilacs spread their seeds by a process called ballistichory, from the same word as “ballistic.” in other words, the seed pods gather tension as they dry, and eventually burst open explosively enough to shoot their seeds out like mini shotguns. i’m not saying i exactly plan to set up camp under my lilac this summer in order to capture this, but i’m going to do some serious hanging out.

budding lilac twigs, with overwintered seed casings

saint paul, minnesota

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