Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spring slides into Summer #phenology

Soon it will be June 1st, start of meteorological Summer. This week's thunderstorms plus this morning's sun and an eruption in the back yard of purple dame's rocket blooms, accompanied by bees and dragonflies (mostly four-spotted skimmers I believe) makes me, for now, a believer more in meteorologists than astronomers. If you're interested, here's an explanation of why we have two+ definitions of seasons.

dame's rocket (with a few columbine)
dame's rocket (with a few columbine)
Photo by J. Harrington

four-spotted skimmer on dame's rocket
four-spotted skimmer on dame's rocket
Photo by J. Harrington

four-spotted skimmer on twig
four-spotted skimmer on twig
Photo by J. Harrington

The folks at Journey North have just started to report monarch butterfly sightings in Minnesota, so that may have been what flitted past me yesterday that looked like a monarch. Maybe our recently planted milkweeds will be of some use to our arriving migrants from the south. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency just emailed a useful piece on Planting natives for beauty & biodiversity. If you read this blog with any regularity, you probably knoI'm a firm believer in local food, local economies and indigenous flora and fauna and peoples so I know dame's rocket is nonnative and even considered invasive by some although I couldn't find it listed on MNDNR's Invasive Terrestrial Plants list nor on MNDOT's Noxious Weed list.

Minnesota could, I believe, do its citizens and its environment a fair amount of good if it consolidated the listings from its departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Transportation and whoever else may have any sort of jurisdiction over invasive species. The kind of problems that can arise from lack of coordination among public agencies is clearly reflected in today's article on Mesabi Academy and the failure of public oversight. Also, as noted previously in postings on My Minnesota, some of us believe Minnesota has way too many public entities responsible for water and not one entity responsible for coordination and oversight.

The Human Seasons


By John Keats


Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
     There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
     Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
     Spring's honied cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
     Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
     He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
     Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.


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