Boisterous wind singing "Welcome back!"
Ditches awash in purple blossom
Rivers and roads that curve out of sight
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We arrived home from California late Friday night, to find Wisconsin in the grip of a mini heatwave. Temperatures in the 90s were forecast for the weekend.
I save my ride for late in the day, hoping to catch some cooler weather. Here's what the elementary school thermometer reads as I pass:
(Terribly daunting if it were accurate - but it's not. The real temp is 90º or thereabouts.)
A warm, gusty south wind is blowing, and the landscape is heavy with green.
Virginia creeper adorns an old gate:
Crown vetch is blooming already. I love its delicate pinky-mauve shades, and its spiky little buds. Here it is seen from above...
...and from below. (Doesn't this look like a fairies' playground?)
Such a photogenic flower.
The ditches are full of mystery plants dotted with tiny blooms...
...and frilly-seeded grasses that dance in the wind.
The birds are out in force today, with red-winged blackbirds singing all around, a pair of cardinals flashing scarlet across the road, and this dapper little swallow adorning a wire:
A shadow shot for Marigold and the Goatmother.
Feathery wild asparagus is everywhere. Every year I miss this delicious free food, because I don't notice it until it's gone to seed. (My sister can spot pickable wild asparagus stalks from a car at 50 miles per hour. I don't know why I can't see them from a bike doing only 15.)
But wait a minute. What's this?
Oh, yeah. Come to Mama. You'll fit just fine into my dinner menu.
Where there is one stalk, there may be more. After this I keep a sharp lookout, and am rewarded by the end of the ride with a small handful of asparagus.
Unintentional picture of an ant:
The favourite bend in the road. This year the surrounding fields are planted with corn. (Last year it was wheat.)
A few hundred yards later, I see a raptor overhead. I snap a photo, assuming it's a hawk of some kind. But when I get home and can zoom in on the photo, I notice that the bird has a white head. A bald eagle! I've seen them in the area, but this is the first time I've ever gotten a picture of one. It's rather exciting.
A favourite tree. Something about this oak, perched all alone at the edge of an alfalfa field, just gets me. I snap its picture every chance I get.
These funky little plants growing on the other side of the road remind me of tiny green cat-tails.
The wind is bending the grasses and turning tree leaves upside down.
Pylons march through fields of young corn.
On the shady side of the road, elderflowers lighten the green...
...and white yarrow, with its tiny pleated petals, dances at the edge of the pavement.
Around a corner and up a hill, then down, down, into the emerald-and-blue distance.
A few miles further, and the ditches are simply jammed with cow vetch - a dreadful name for this beautiful little plant with lovely violet blossoms.
Notice the levitating bird seeming to hover effortlessly a few inches above the lower wire. These friendly little guys accompanied me for nearly a mile. They'd take off from the wires, fly a short way ahead, land, and perch until I caught up or passed them. Then they'd take off again and repeat the process.
A favourite marsh. I love the way the river curves out of sight - it seems to hint at some delightful, unexplored beauty.
Overhead are sweeping clouds.
Sky and trees in rippling reflection.
One last shot of this barn, which is sporting a new quilt-block panel...
...then it's time to head home and make supper, which will include my handful of fresh wild asparagus.
A good ride, though hot and windy. After being in the concrete jungle that is Southern California, I really appreciate the trees and fields, and the wide-open sky, of Wisconsin. It's wonderful to be back.
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