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Dragonflies, butterflies, daylilies
Old barns and roads becoming new friends
Blackbirds rising in a sooty cloud
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Inspired by Snowcatcher's amazing week of Ride the Rockies posts, I decide today to get out of my cycling comfort zone and strike out in a new direction - literally. It's time to make friends with some new roads and hills, so instead of riding east and south, as I always do, I head north and west. (This turns out to be a good choice; as it happens, the wind is out of the north, which means I'll have a tailwind coming home. I like tailwinds at the end of a ride; they make me feel stronger than I really am.)
Tolerably warm (mid 80s) and moderately sticky, there are thunderheads piling up in the north. If only they would drop some much-needed rain! (No such luck today, I'm afraid.)
The rest of the sky is wide-open and blue, dotted with the puffy clouds I love.
Just outside town, I turn a corner and ride past a marsh. Swamp milkweed is blooming at its edge...
...and yellow water lilies on its (rather messy) surface.
Cattails have put on their brown velvet summer coats.
A bit further down, the ditch is filled with wild hemlock. Lovely flowers; deadly plant.
Tiny white stars of elder blossom are shining from many a bush.
The pinks and purples of spring are beginning to give way to the yellows of summer. Here's one of the first heliopsis I've seen this year. (Heliopsises? Heliopses?)
Turning north onto a road I haven't ridden for about 15 years. Get together, clouds, and drop some moisture! (They pay me no heed.)
There's a local saying that the corn should be "knee-high by the 4th of July". This year has been so warm, the corn was knee-high by the 4th of June. (It will probably be neck-high when July hits.)
The first of many barns I meet today. I do love to snap wooden barns. Bright or faded, they seem right and fitting for this countryside.
A welcome shady stretch of road, full of dragonflies buzzing along beside me...
...soon gives way to more open country, and another barn for me to shoot. (Notice the windmill at the right; these are rare and valuable now.)
Miles on, I reach a fork in the road, and a sign which reads "Stop! Look at the daylilies growing around my feet!"
Of course I obey.
A new road curves away before me ... with another photo-worthy barn (old, but new to my eyes).
I keep a careful watch, but don't see any oxen.
Very dramatic clouds.
Turning on to another new road, I pass a stretch of amazingly orange blossoms. They must be some sort of milkweed...
...for they are covered with butterflies.
I've never seen such a bright, beautiful, saturated orange.
I could stare at these flowers all day - if it weren't for the deerflies buzzing
around me. Luckily I have remembered (for once) to anoint my limbs with
homemade bug-repelling concoction (tea tree oil and peppermint oil in an
olive oil base). The stuff must be working, for the flies zoom at my arms and just glance off as though stung themselves.
An interesting flower grows beneath the milkweed. It looks like some kind of wild sweet-pea.
One persistent deerfly, cheated of my arms and legs, decides to attack from the rear and sting me through my shorts. Enough flower photos; time to move on.
The countryside is gently rolling, with tree-covered hills on every horizon.
The road slopes gradually up, then down.
I ride through a long flat stretch of marsh, where blackbirds rise in clouds as I pass, then reach a welcome tree-shaded road lined with more wildflowers.
Anybody know what this one is? It's new to me.
I love taking close-ups of yarrow - especially when there's a bug on the blossoms.
White yarrow from below.
The sun is shining through the pines to my right. I drain my water-bottle and start to think longingly of the lamb chops thawing at home. (Sorry to all my vegetarian friends, but I do love lamb.)
The pine branches look lovely against the sky ... but I'm getting hungrier by the minute. Less than 5 miles to go.
The call of the lamb chops grows ever stronger - so strong that I pass by such delights as a rare Turk's-cap lily, and newly-blooming wild phlox, with barely a glance.
No more pictures! (Except this one.) I'm so hungry I could eat a...
... never mind. Almost home now. : )
The lamb chops are anointed with salt and pepper, garlic and rosemary, and drizzled with olive oil. Broiled until sizzling, they're delicious.
A very good ride, on old roads new to me. (And a very good supper to follow.)
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