witches’ broom

along rice creek, there are thickets of streamside willow, i believe it’s sandbar willow, with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of vertical saplings. one in every dozen trees or so ends in a fist of gnarled, chaotic growth. the growths are impossible to see in the leafy summer, and impossible to miss in winter. they are called witches’ brooms, from an earlier time when abnormalities in nature were assumed to have supernatural causes. certainly “witches’ broom” is more evocative than “a deformity in a woody plant caused by organisms like mites, nematodes, and phytoplasms.”

witches’ broom on willow

rice creek regional trial, saint paul, minnesota

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local color

yesterday’s snow was a complete soul crusher.  but i have to admit it was gorgeous this morning.  perhaps the prettiest blanket of white i have ever witnessed.  every single tree, branch, twig, power lines, fence, you name it, was flocked in white and set against a summer-blue sky. if you want to see a few photos you can check them out on my instagram feed  at maryjohoffman

so, against today’s white canvas, i set out determined to find some color.  any color.  this is what i came up with.  they are all from my yard.

saint paul, minnesota

 

  • margie says:

    i had no idea you were on instagram !!! yay

    reply

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deep roots

my husband and i fit in a walk today before the snow began to fall.  no joke.  4-8 inches forecast on april 22. it’s too much. but then there was this streamside mullein that somehow stayed a little bit green, if raggedly so, under several feet of snow over the last 6 months. we could all take a lesson.

mullein

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    love those furry leaves

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red matches

this red maple, visible out my back window, has been waiting for several weeks to burst into flame. the last snow of a very late winter is melting and may provide the final spark.

saint paul, minnesota

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mourning

this was the other half of the pair that flew into house this week.  a rough week for many of us in the united states.

fox sparrow

saint paul, minnesota

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