dangling haystacks

it’s that time of year when we often wake up to light dustings of snow. by mid-morning the wind has picked up just enough to send it all cascading. this morning on the way to my son’s school, i was lucky enough to catch this dusted white pine along my driveway, with its bundles of needles weighted down into the shapes of old-fashioned haystacks. by the time i returned it has shaken itself clean like a dog.

frosted white pine fascicles

saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    you can capture the best things in the early hours of the day

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a hail mary

after almost an hour of intensive internet browsing, i was just about to give up my search to identify this growth when i threw a hail mary and google caught it in the back of the end zone. this is a cottonwood gall.  a deformity caused by a tiny aphid.  the feeding aphids in spring transform the emerging leaves into these twisted galls. the galls are green in summer, but turn brown in winter.  although there may be many galls on a tree, they cause little harm to the tree. the aphids return to the same galls they left in the spring, so the same tree tends to be infected year after year, while nearby trees remain uninfested.

cotttonwood tree galls caused by poplar vagabond gall aphid

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    thanks for all your effort

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surrender

i bought an indoor fig tree after our first visit to languedoc in 2010.  it was both evocative and attractive–a two-fer. then we continued to travel back and forth to southwest france, leaving the fig tree in the care of well intentioned, but un-attached, housesitters. it suffered.  today, my fig tree officially surrendered.  it shed all but two little leaves. i am going to blame it on the polar vortex, and not my negligence. but we both know better.

fig tree leaves

in my kitchen, saint paul, minnesota

  • Deb says:

    In England, my fig planted outside, loses it leaves every winter, so dont give up! Lovely pic though!

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  • Micheline Gushue says:

    I’m in the Annapolis Valley,Nova Scotia,Canada.[agricultural zone 6 ]
    I bring my fig tree[Hardy Chicago] indoors every fall. Whithin about a month it loses all its leaves and goes dormant.But,not to worry,it comes back to life every spring.

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    • That’s great to know! Thanks Micheline! Do I keep watering it??

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      • Micheline Gushue says:

        I barely water it this time of year. Just enough to keep it alive. I increase waterring in spring. I’ll let you know when I start.

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slow motion rodeo

i photographed this tendril not even knowing the leaf didn’t belong to the vine. i was waist deep in snow when i shot the photo, and was a little distracted by the cold and the snow melting down my back. when i got home and uploaded the image, i discovered that little lasso of a tendril that must have reached out in slow motion for a whole summer before finally encircling its target and hog-tying the leaf on the adjacent branch.

wild vine tendril with captured leaf

arden hills, minnesota

  • margie says:

    perfect capture , the vine and yours

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consolation prize

non-native ginkgo trees line many of the urban streets in the twin cities. they were one of the chosen replacements for the all the stately elms we lost to dutch elm disease. i love the way the ginkgos let go of their leaves all at once in fall leaving little golden skirts around each trunk. this year i waited all summer for the leaves to turn yellow, because i wanted to make a yellow and green pattern using their distinctive shapes. then i missed the whole deal: the turning yellow, the dropping in golden pools, the scattering in the gutters. i missed it all. so, today, when i stopped by my favorite coffee shop and saw this lonely little fan still clinging to its tree, with brown skin and sun spots like an old man on a florida beach, i carefully plucked him and carried him home, and he’s what you get.

ginkgo leaf in winter

spyhouse coffee shop, minneapolis, minnesota

  • Kerry says:

    Definitely one of my favorite trees. Did you know they were thought to be extinct until one was discovered in a monestery in China about 200 years ago? They are the only kind of its species and have been around since the prehistoric ages!

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  • Abbey says:

    Ginkos are my favorite, for the same reason – that day when all the leaves fall, collected around the base of the green like a dress.

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  • Celia says:

    Beautiful. I live in Kobe, Japan and these gorgeous trees drop their golden leaves in late November. I secretly tell myself that this is their birthday present to me every year! This is such an inspirational blog. So glad you’ve chosen to share your passion with the rest of us!

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    • Dear Celia,
      I am pretty thrilled that I have a follower in Kobe, Japan. You pretty much made my day :-)
      I am glad you like visiting STILL. It means a lot to me to know that people are enjoying it.
      Mary Jo

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