Friday, July 22, 2016

Seeds of change #phenology

This is the kind of weather in which you can almost hear the crops growing. Farmers, no doubt, are looking forward to a decent or better harvest. Of course, if the harvest is too good, then prices drop. I'm looking forward to the cooler, less humid weather that comes with harvest season. Then again, of course, in Minnesota it can get too cool and snow flakes drop. Did that make you feel better or worse about our current heat wave? Is six months a long or a short time in your life?

Canada thistle seed heads and blossoms
Canada thistle seed heads and blossoms
Photo by J. Harrington

While poking (clicking) around the Aldo Leopold Foundation web site recently, I discovered they have a seed collecting calendar. It's tucked into the Prairie Restoration section of the Land Stewardship Resources page, where the writer notes that the dates are for southern Wisconsin, which is probably a week or two earlier(?) than our location in Minnesota. To be on the safe side, right after Labor Day I'll start looking for seeds on the butterfly weed plants I've noticed.

early May Juneberry(?) blossoms
early May Juneberry(?) blossoms
Photo by J. Harrington

The local serviceberry bushes had nice blossoms this past Spring, but the few I checked closely today had no berries to be seen. I deferred a really close inspection due to the poison ivy vines surrounding the bases of the bushes. Those that the birds didn't get have probably fallen already. We checked, from a distance, several weeks ago with comparable results so it's possible we were simply too late starting our foraging. This Winter will be a good time to work on a phenology calendar of blooms, fruits, seeds etc. all in one place. The Eloise Butler site notes that heavy fruiting occurs only every three to five years, so bare bushes may simply be normal and we didn't miss much. Time to recall that Life is a mystery to be Lived, not a Problem to be Solved. I wonder if I could get away with "it's a mystery to be solved?"

Country Love Song

By Melanie Almeder

I try to think of the cup of a hand,
of legs in a tangle, and not the thistle

though even it, purpled, spiking away,
wants to be admired, wants to say, whistle

a little for me. O every little thing wants
to be loved, wants to be marked by the cry

that brings desire to it, even blue-eyed fly
to the bloated hiss of death. To love is to be remiss:

the horse alone in the wide flat field nods
its head as if the bridle and bit were missed

or mocked; the cow slung with the unmilked weight
of her tremendous teats shoots a look back over her shoulder

at O lonesome me. I want to say to her need
as if crooning could be enough,

sweet, sweet mama . . . truth be told,
the thousand lisping bees to the milkweeds' honey

terrifies me. When the stink of slurry season
is over and the greened fields are slathered, fecund,

overtall foxgloves tip with the weight of their fruit.
Then I dream a little dream of you

and me, curled like two grubs on the top of a leaf
wind-driven and scudding along the lake's surface.

All night we glide to its blue harbor
and back again. The fattened slack of us

singing O darlin' darlin' darlin'.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.