i went out to pick some lily of the valley today to shoot. it’s in full bloom all over my woods, and i have never really captured the sculptural quality of those tiny white bells to my satisfaction. but i got distracted by these two. they were easy to spot. all the other lily leaves were spread wide open like…well, like lily leaves. only this couple were curled up tight. what are the odds, you might ask, of a lily of the valley growing up through the tiny hole in one of last year’s oak leaves? if you saw the number of lily of the valley in my yard, and the number of fallen oak leaves, you might ask instead, what are the odds that such a thing didn’t happen?
lily of the valley leaves with oak leaf
brand new old news
according to wiki, “seeds of various species of lupins have been used as a food for over 3000 years around the mediterranean and for as long as 6000 years in the Andes. Lupins were also used by many Native American peoples in North America.” in minnesota, lupines grow wild and bloom abundantly in the month of june. why have i never known this fact until now? more importantly, why do minnesotans import chickpeas, pine nuts, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and quinoa? please don’t tell my husband. it will only make him mad.
wild lupine (Lupinus)
boxelder is in the maple family, which means in theory we could make syrup from its sweet sap, but it is not quite as sweet or tasty as maple for syrup, and it is not quite as dense and full of BTUs as maple firewood, which means that it tends to be cleared from mixed hardwood forest in our part of the world, because it is not a “high quality” tree, and yet, look at the color running up through its trunk. quality manifests itself in many ways.
boxelder wood (Acer negundo)
a failed mushroom hunt
steve went looking for morels and came back, disappointed, with these pheasant back mushrooms. i was elated that i didn’t have to photograph the irregular brain shapes of morels, and could instead photograph these almost geological looking fan-shaped beauties. yes, sure, i wish i had been served a slice of toasted baguette with sauteed morels and heavy cream for an aperitif tonight. but even despite that, i’m happy my husband’s mushroom hunt failed.
pheasant’s back mushrooms or dryad’s saddle
just last week, i noticed that the wild columbine in our yard had bloomed. then today, my husband came running up the stairs to announce that he had just seen the first hummingbird of the year pulling fluff from the ferns for nesting material. these two events are actually related. whether because columbine evolved to bloom just when hummingbirds returned in the spring, or whether hummingbirds evolved to migrate just as columbine flowered, they are perfect seasonal partners. only a very few birds and insects have beaks or proboscides long enough to reach the little pods of nectar at the top of the crowns of columbine flowers, and very few flowers at this time of year provide enough nectar to support the insane metabolism of hummingbirds. not only that, but the only hummingbird species in the eastern united states is specifically attracted to red flowers. in the western us, where there are more kinds of hummingbirds, there are also more colors of columbine. nature lesson for the day is done. you may be excused.
wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)