Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pine cone, pollen and puddle time #phenology

male pine cones from driveway
male pine cones from driveway

Yesterday's torrential downpours must have knocked down whatever was left of any male pine cones from the white pines along the drive. The large puddle that forms in the driveway's low spot was surrounded by short, slightly curved cones about one-half inch long. It's become clear that the local flocks of goldfinches, grosbeaks and others have decided that the birdbaths are for drinking from, and muddy driveway puddles are for bathing in. This afternoon the dogs and I repeatedly scattered bathers from their ablutions as we took our afternoon constitutionals.

woodcock bathing in driveway, June 2015
woodcock bathing in driveway, June 2015
Photo by J. Harrington

Last year yielded an even more pleasant puddle surprise when I noticed a woodcock bathing in the selfsame water-filled low spot, although not the same water, obviously. The "timberdoodle" didn't return this year, but then neither have the scarlet tanagers, nor, to any noticeable extent, have the orioles. So much of the world's beauty is so ephemeral we need to be more thankful when we do get to enjoy it.

I enjoyed finally making it back to a more permanent pleasure, the St. Croix River Visitor Center. Today's trip was to do a little exploring outside and some note-taking on the interior exhibits for a writing project. No photos this trip, but next time for sure, when I'll also remember to bring a field guide plus a camera to identify and photograph what's blooming in their native plant garden restoration. Today I noticed several plantings of what I think are spiderwort and some yellow flowers that I don't think are brown- or black-eyed susans, goat's beard, or sunflowers, but what they are I obviously can't venture. This is part of the reason I plan on multiple return trips.

SAID THE TOAD


By J. Patrick Lewis


I was really in a muddle
looking over a mud puddle
’cause I didn’t have a paddle
or a twig to ride the reef.
But I said, Oh, fiddle-faddle,
this is just a little piddle
of a second fiddle puddle
so I saddled up a leaf.
I set sail on the puddle,
but I reached the muddy middle
and I rocked the leaf a little,
then I gave it all I had.
And I solved the mighty riddle
of the whole caboodle puddle
when I hopped up on the middle
of a beetle launching pad


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