sleepless summer nights
i had a hard time falling asleep last night. the june bugs fell hopelessly in love with my bedside reading light, and threw themselves with tireless passion against my window screen, making sounds like lawnmowers. apparently by morning, they had all died of broken hearts.
a huge and hidden migration
squadrons of dragonflies are once again patrolling my yard. they seemed to arrive all on the same day. which is unlikely, because dragonflies over winter in three different ways: some dragonflies spend the winter underwater in their larval stage, other dragonflies lay eggs that survive the winter and hatch the next spring, and a few species of dragonflies, like this green darner, migrate south for the winter. what? dragonflies migrate? i only just learned this recently, and it blows my mind. on tiny two-inch wings, these guys migrate as much as 900 miles each spring and fall. here’s what i learned with a quick google search:
In the early spring, the first generations exit the shelter of their Southern ponds and fly north, an average of 400 miles on the wing. There they lay their eggs and die. The second generation hatches in the north and, by September, has flown south. There they lay eggs and die, too. Because the South is the most comfortable place for a dragonfly late in the year, the third generation won’t migrate at all. They settle in for winter in Florida or the Caribbean. Life is good — until spring rolls around, when the cycle of eggs, death, birth repeats.
my son is particularly fond of dragonflies. he recently shared this factoid with me:
Dragonflies are the world’s deadliest hunters. They are four times more likely to catch their prey than big cats. Dragonflies catch more than 95 percent of the prey they target. Dragonflies keep their prey in sight at all times with their large eyes, adjust their flight, and can predict how their prey will move before catching it
okay, so maybe a little more than you were expecting to learn about dragonflies on an ordinary wednesday morning in june. but, c’mon, how remarkable are dragonflies?
green darner dragonfly
peak fern season
i talk a lot about my ferns. i feel like it was only yesterday i was posting photos of fiddleheads. and now, it’s already peak fern season. that ostrich fern frond, going diagonally across the image is over 4 feet tall. that makes most of the rest of those fronds the length of my arm. imagine the single minded determination it would take to grow seven or eight arms, umm fronds, in one month. makes me feel like a bit of a slacker. what did you do with your month of may?
six ferns: ostrich, sensitive, lady, maidenhair, interrupted, and cinnamon
wild, native. and edible
this tiny little tamarack looking forest is growing right outside my front door. on my front stoop, matter of fact. my husband, steve, is hell bent on turning our suburban yard into a northern foragers paradise. anything and everything native, and edible, is being planted. there’s no plan. no rhyme or reason. we’ve got wild ramps here. here. and here. we have blueberries over there. raspberries everywhere. because, raspberries. stinging nettle on the side, beside the fiddleheads. mushroom spored logs over there. hazelnut trees up the hill, and now, asparagus seedlings on the front step. my husband is what you might call a man driven by his deep and fleeting passions. this year it’s edible native plants. hopefully, next year’s passion will be “care and maintenance of edible native plants”, or even “harvesting and preserving native edible plants.” unfortunately, that kind of logic does not usually prevail. we live on water. i am holding my breath for boat building.
baby asparagus shoots
one floret is not like the other
the genus name for lilac is syringa. i had heard and seen people refer to syringa trees, mostly in literature, and never knew they were referring to lilac until a few years ago. while lilac is itself a beautiful word, i find syringa even more so, with a whiff of something levantine and aromatic. furthermore, did you know there are such things as siryngariums? beautiful lilac zoos? sometimes i fret about the state of the world. but then i learn there are siryngariums, and i let myself exhale.
lilac blossoms (Syringa)