Sunday, July 13, 2014

Meeting some neighbors

Today is a classic Minnesota Summer day: blue skies decorated with cumulous clouds  and punctuated by a delightful breeze (unless one is trying to take a photo of long stem wildflowers). We've been getting a few things done (I think it's called "putzing") but not engaging in anything more strenuous than checking on the status of our "crops" and getting acquainted with a few more of the neighbors, although our vigorous swatting of mosquitoes and deer flies has required moderate expenditures of energy.

We're sad to report that the development our one apple has self-terminated prematurely. We're not sure why but suspect the tree is too young to be bearing fruit this year, and maybe even next. The deer fence around the trees will keep rabbits from enjoying what's left, but a family of deer mice may stumble into a feast. The pears appear to be holding up, but that tree's been around for a while. A more complete status report on the pear crop will be forthcoming.

the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree
the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree
Photo by J. Harrington

We have a new tenant on the property that I don't recall meeting previously. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that this plant is a native. It's growing on the far side of the "wet spot," and hasn't been noticed until now because it's directly opposite the small white pine growing on the near side of the same wet spot. (It's also possible that this year's rains account for some remarkable growth and the plant was there all along in a shorter version.)

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Photo by J. Harrington

Just off the western boundary of "The Property" are several small groves of conifers. They were there when we moved in, although they're considerably taller now. For all these years, I've been satisfied, until today, to settle for the knowledge they were conifers. Thanks to the time I've recently spent reading Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kathleen Dean Moore (to say nothing of Gary Snyder), I'm aware of how impolite it is to not even know the family names of my neighbors. The conifers have been identified as members of the black spruce family, at least until someone with more knowledge and skill at this than we have (wouldn't take much) shows us otherwise.

one of the neighboring black spruces
Photo by J. Harrington

Robert Frost, one of my favorite New England poets, even though he wasn't native-born, has written that "good fences make good neighbors," according to his neighbor. He's also questioned why? You might suspect that our neighbors are neither fenced in nor fenced out on "The Property." You'd be right.

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