i have walked the same rice creek trail maybe 300 times in the last few years. this was the first time i have noticed these particular seed heads. i just spent an hour on google trying to identify the plant. i am stumped. but i love that this little sneak hid himself away until my 301st visit.
(unidentified) prairie plant with large seed head in winter
where are all the sheds?
we have a lot of deer around us. one winter morning, while my son and i were gazing out at the lake watching the sunrise, we saw 17 deer come bounding out of our cattails, one after the other. they had been bedding down there overnight. 17! whitetail bucks shed and re-grow their set of antlers each year. every winter a buck sheds, or casts, his antlers. as soon as the antlers are shed they start growing again. with all my time hiking through our minnesota woods, why have i never found a whitetail shed? it makes no sense to me. i’ve heard that mice will chew then like a dog gnawing a bone. maybe all of my majestic deer sheds are still out there in the wood, but in the non-majestic form of mouse poop.
plant galls are technically deformities. when you hear the word gall, don’t you think tumor, cyst, swelling, wart, ugliness? well, i’d like to introduce you to the willow gall, a multi-petaled little blossom on the ends of the slender whips of willow branches. it would take a lot of gall, to call these galls ugly.
terminal rosette willow tree gall (Rabdophaga rosaria)
i stole these leaves from a planter outside a popular minneapolis bakery called patisserie 46. my companion said “you’re stealing” and i replied “no i’m not, i’m helping. they’ll need to pull these out in a month anyway and replant.” see? not stealing. helping. and plus, it’s for art. patisserie 46 should probably pay me in a baguette or two and a couple of pains au chocolat. make me an offer.
it’s still february
it’s funny. i consider myself a generally pretty upbeat person. and yet, i always respond to these somber, spare, winter photos (that some might find a little depressing) more than summer and autumn photos whose colors seem to leap for joy. i guess STILL is not, in the end about leaping for joy. it’s about simplicity. and soothing earthy palettes, and breathing room, and pauses to appreciate the unshowy expressions of nature. STILL is a lot of things, including a certain february mood.
birch branches in winter