Saturday, July 9, 2016

Seasonal adjustments #phenology

It's a warm, mellow Summer Saturday. I've been looking through one of our primary foraging resources, The Forager's Harvest by Samuel Thayer. Almost all of it's prior use has been for plant identification. Today I found it also contains a helpful breakdown of "seasons." As a way to better organize my phenology experiences and expectations, I'm going to try it out as a framework. The author writes that the book covers the Great Lakes, Midwest, North East in the U.S. and the southeast area of Canada. Let me know what you think of this breakdown.
  • Early Spring -- March 25 - April 25
  • Mid Spring -- April 25 - May 10
  • Late Spring -- May 10 - June 5
  • Early Summer -- June 5 - July 1
  • Mid Summer -- July 1 - Aug 10
  • Late Summer -- Aug 10 - Sept 10
  • Early Fall -- Sept 10 - Oct 10
  • Late Fall -- Oct 10 - Nov 15
  • Winter 
mid- to late-Summer's purple love grass, Autumn's tumblegrass
mid- to late-Summer's purple love grass, Autumn's tumblegrass
Photo by J. Harrington

I learn and remember things better as relationships, or patterns, rather than as a series of unrelated factoids. Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources has some worthwhile information on phenology for young naturalists, but the organization is only by the four seasons. I'm becoming more interested in discovering how one season may foretell the next. For example, right now I'm looking at a yard full of unmown grasses with ripening seedheads that, to me, foretell Autumn's impending arrival when purple love grass will tumble across the yard and collect in corners.

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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