after 5 plus years of being a loving but very bad chicken farmer, it had been a few years of chicken-free existence until last week when we chicken-sat for some friends. i reverted right back to the chicken owner mindset. everything remotely edible, especially if it is a leaf, gets set aside for the girls to snack on, and all those greens make for happy charges, as well as eggs full of omega-3s. this strawberry plant was not eaten by a chicken, but rather by a beetle. but it reminded me of that enormous segment of ruminants and herbivores, who, unlike us humans, can’t wait to go eat their greens.
beetle eaten wild strawberry leaves in august
ready set …
…here we go. the middle of the hottest day of summer, and these leaves are saying, “you can’t fool us. we know how many hours of sunlight we’re feeling. you can pretend it’s still summer, but we’re getting ready to go.”
american smoketree leaves in mid-august (Cotinus obovatus)
priceless or thereabouts
i was googling hag stone just now, because i couldn’t remember if it was spelled hag stone or hagstone (looks like both ways). anyway, i see that hag stones can be bought on etsy for $7 each. i guess that makes my little necklace here worth about $50. hmmm. if you want to buy this from me, you’re going to have to start at about 100 times that. at that point we can talk. but no guarantees.
going to seed
the phrase “going to seed” implies a sort of slovenly falling into disrepair. a loss of vibrancy and vigor. a letting go. a giving up. but i was just thinking today about what grasses do here in the north, emerging just barely before april turns into may, growing anywhere from a couple feet tall, to seven or eight feet tall, halting erosion, sequestering carbon, looking beautiful, feeding the soil, and then, sometime in late summer, exploding in slow motion into elegant, graphic, and potent seed heads. in other words, what grasses do is go to seed. it doesn’t look to me like giving up.
various prairie grass seed heads
when you get to know thistles, when they become friends whom you can’t wait to catch up with each year, you no longer think of them as prickly and aggressive. all you really think about are their soft lavender flowers and their softer thistle down. thistles are such softies.
musk thistle gone to seed