Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A midSummer day's dream #phenology

Tomorrow is the end of June; the last day of the Second Quarter of 2016; the final day of the First Half of 2016. If we use meteorological dates, Mid-Summer will be July 17. If we rely on the astrological calendar, it's several weeks later, on August 6. That leaves me thinking Mid-Summer runs from mid-July to early August. That sounds about right.

common milkweed flower head
common milkweed flower head
Photo by J. Harrington

The local common milkweed is beginning to blossom. Deer-fly numbers and attitudes are fierce. Since we're still some time from Mid-Summer, however measured, it's probably too early to be wishing for a killing frost. Maybe it's time to move the bat house, but I don't think deer flies are nocturnal. Sigh. One a happier note, I've been noticing several pairs of small, pale blue butterflies in the driveway. I'm guessing they're male Eastern-tailed Blues, checking out the driveway puddle, but it's only a guess. We've also been visited by what I think are white and red admiral butterflies.

red admiral butterfly
red admiral butterfly
Photo by J. Harrington

The weather forecast may include some pre-Independence Day fireworks tomorrow and post-holiday storms much of next week. I'm hoping for rain without dramatic elements. We're still re-setting clocks from the last power outage. I'm also hoping we don't get so much rain that it messes up local rivers.

In July, fly-fishers can look for midges, Blue-winged Olives, Tricos, Caddis and Grasshoppers. If the heat, bugs or lightening don't get us, Summer is a wonderful time of year. July brings into bloom almost 500 species of native wildflowers in Minnesota. Stop reading, get outside and enjoy. January will be here soon enough too soon. Meanwhile, keep in mind that Bryant wrote this before we knew about global warming.

Midsummer


William Cullen Bryant, 1794 - 1878


A power is on the earth and in the air,
  From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,
  And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade,
From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.
Look forth upon the earth—her thousand plants
  Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize
  Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;
The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;
For life is driven from all the landscape brown;
  The bird hath sought his tree, the snake his den,
  The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men
Drop by the sunstroke in the populous town:
  As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent
  Its deadly breath into the firmament.

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