Sunday, March 15, 2015

May 50' buffers have the luck of the Irish in the legislature

A couple of months ago we added some books to our reference library so we could better identify wildflowers, weeds and trees in Winter. Then the abominable cold spell arrived and settled in for awhile. After a brief perusal, the books just sat there. Yesterday, while taking SiSi for her afternoon walk, I broke off a stem and seed heads from one of our Winter-over plants. It's a round-headed bush clover. By identifying it I feel almost justified for spending money on references that barely got used. This being Minnesota, I suspect, despite Anthropogenic Climate Disruption, Winter will return in several months. Anyway, once I knew what I was looking at, I went and checked the description in what I more and more believe is the best reference for local wildflowers, even though it's centered on Wisconsin. If you're interested in a slightly oversized field guide, try Prairie Plants of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum: Including Horsetails, Ferns, Rushes, Sedges, Grasses, Shrubs, Vines, Weeds, and Wildflowers. This is what a round-headed bush clover looks like in Winter.

Round-headed Bush Clover (Lespedeza capitata)
Round-headed Bush Clover (Lespedeza capitata)
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday's success, minor though it was, was enhanced today by the Star Tribune editorial board echoing some themes we've written about over the past several weeks here in My Minnesota. Their opinion piece, "Minnesota's Big Ag needs to step up for cleaner water," specifically notes that
"We’d also add that the landmark federal Clean Water Act doesn’t cover the agricultural industry. Other industries, along with city wastewater treatment plants, are regulated and have made substantial reforms. Further water-quality improvement requires Big Ag to deal responsibly with its pollution as well."
I almost wonder if someone on the editorial board has been reading over our shoulder. Or is everyone starting to realize that we all need to be participants in providing solutions to the 21st century challenge of living well, sustainably.  I think it would be great if that turns out to be an idea whose time has come. As an aside, we live on a small acreage in a township. I seem to recall that we pay taxes on property that we own for which the township has an easement for a township road. Even more irksome, the deputy sherrif informed us, when we complained about vandalism on a political sign we had at the back edge of the road ditch, that we weren't supposed to have anything that might interfere with road maintenance within some footage of the road's centerline. So, I understand how some farmers might complain about "takings." I don't like that my property has been "taken" by an easement for a road. Maybe the Governor and legislature could consider the creation of a 50' water quality easement, kind of like the township has on my property for public right of way. I sure hope the  Star Tribune picks up on and writes about that idea. I can't wait to see the comments. Meanwhile, may all your round-headed clovers be four-leafed.

Four-Leaf Clover

By Ella Higginson 

I know a place where the sun is like gold,
   And the cherry blooms burst with snow,
And down underneath is the loveliest nook,
   Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith,
   And one is for love, you know,
And God put another in for luck—
   If you search, you will find where they grow.

But you must have hope, and you must have faith,
   You must love and be strong – and so—
If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
      Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

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