Friday, August 26, 2016

A mellow, yellow time of year #phenology

First of all, I want to thank Governor Dayton for his recent Executive Order protecting pollinators. According to reports, Minnesota is way ahead of most (all?) other states on this issue. I think I'm starting to like a pattern I see developing, about increasing awareness of and action on our responsibilities for earth's stewardship.

Second, do you think this may be the most mellow time of year? Winter, post-holidays, brings many excuses to hibernate, which, to my mind, isn't the same as "mellow"; Spring has the repeated excitement of new growth and ephemerals; Summer's wildflowerings and plant growth are often incremental changes like the rising action in a story or drama; Autumn is full of the excitement of harvest, color changes and holidays (falling action). The next week, or two, or three, are like "The Children's Hour" is to a day, a pause in the year's occupation. On my way home from doing some local errands this morning, I noticed a paling of the green in many of the leaves on local trees. Some, in fact, are acquiring a distinctly yellowish tone. More sumac leaves turn red every day. Milkweed pods are browning and starting to become brittle. Many of the plants in the flower garden are becoming shopworn, while their wild relatives are exchanging flowers for seeds for next year's plants. It's getting close to time for the annual planting of the driveway chrysanthemums.

a mellow yellow time of year
a mellow yellow time of year
Photo by J. Harrington

For the past several years or so, we've planted mums along the north side of the driveway. They end up in a spot that most catches hell during the Winter (mixed metaphor?), which probably goes a long way toward explaining why we annually plant what should be a perennial. I wonder if anyone at Cub will be able to answer whether the plants have been treated with neonics or if we'll have to look elsewhere.

chrysanthemums by the driveway
chrysanthemums by the driveway
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm debating whether to try planting some bloodroot upslope from where the mums usually go. Having some Spring ephemerals near the driveway has a lot of appeal, as does anticipating a return next Spring to some of the wildflower beds we discovered this year, which brings us back to that time of year's excitement and anticipation compared to the mellow anticipation of it.

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds at nectar feeder again today.

  • A handful of hen turkeys wandered through the yard headed for the woods on the North side.

The Children's Hour

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
      That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
      The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
      And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
      Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
      And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
      Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
      To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
      A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
      They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
      O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
      They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
      And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
      In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
      Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
      And moulder in dust away!

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Please be kind to each other while you can.