Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Variable Ride (with Pictures and the Three Great Things)

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Roadsides bridal with Queen Anne's Lace
Sunflowers gleaming like hidden gold
Cool rush of wind on a sticky day

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Thunderstorms are moving through the state today, so the weather was humid and changeable.

By the marsh at the edge of town, I stop to snap these beautiful pink blossoms. (The bees seem to appreciate them too.) I'm sorry to say this plant is called "swamp milkweed" - I think it deserves a better name.

Cattails stand sentinel at the marsh's edge.

Summer flowers are out in full force: Queen Anne's Lace ...

... (you can tell it's the real deal by the tiny red spot in the center) ...

Knapweed (whether spotted or purple I'm not sure), and prairie coneflowers ...

... and here's a closeup of the delicate knapweed - another wild beauty that should have a prettier name.

Around a few corners, I glimpse something between the trees, at the end of a curving gravel drive ...

Sunflowers! I hadn't noticed them before today. I ride this road all the time, but the field is almost hidden and the drive is easy to miss. I take a short detour and find that there's a small wildlife preserve and public hunting area here. (And millions of deerflies.) I snap the sunflowers as quickly as I can, afraid of being eaten alive.

They seemed a bit camera-shy.

Good thing my limbs were anointed, pre-ride, with homemade bug repellant - I'm happy to say it worked wonders. (1 part each tea tree oil and peppermint oil, to 16 parts olive oil. Dump some in one hand. Wet the other hand and rub hands together, then apply to desired areas.)

I love these old concrete fence posts. This one has a tree trunk for a near neighbor. (Is anyone else reminded of a bikini-clad torso, complete with belly button? Or is it just me?)

Silver water under a grey sky.

My favourite bend in the road. The wheat has been cut, and the trees stand in stubble fields now.

A classic barnyard scene. The sheep are wearing their wool short this summer.

When I see a lone tree like this, I always think of Anne over at Andamento (she likes to snap lone trees too). This one stands at the edge of huge rolling clover fields that stretch greenly to the horizon.

A few miles further, and I look over my shoulder to see this. The clouds are piling up behind me, the air is thick with potential rain, and I'm still on the outward half of my ride.

But the corn is looking good - all tasselled out.

Down a road I haven't ridden before, I come across a giant wild apple tree just covered with fruit. I wish I could have seen it in blossom.

Another new sight for me - I think this would be called a Dutch barn. An unusual colour combination for our area.

An interesting fence decoration (sorry for the blurry focus - I took these on the fly). A sort of agricultural coat of arms, perhaps?

The front of the barn. Someone must be a quilting fan - I spy a Mariner's Compass block.

Just after this, it starts to rain in earnest. I stop the bike to put my camera in its case, and JUST when I get it stowed away, a deer walks out of the trees and onto the road in front of me - maybe 25 yards away. It stops and looks at me while I futilely wish I still had my camera out, but as soon as I move it runs into the woods on the other side of the road.

Still 7 or 8 miles from home, I make a determined effort to concentrate on riding. But I have to stop for a picture of this pond:

Too bad I didn't bring my algae skates.

At my feet as I take the pond picture is this leaf, bearing interesting growths. ("I'm sorry, Mr. Leaf, but the biopsy came back positive. You should have used more sunblock.")

Just over the next hill, a huge clump of wild bergamot. I love the colour.

And a quick snap of damp Holsteins before the final dash for home. I wonder if they wanted a shower as badly as I did by now! (An indoor shower, I mean.)

A good ride, if a bit sticky.

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  1. Another interesting and enjoyable ride account. I particularly like the cone flowers and, of course, the lone tree. Very kind of you to think of me, I sometimes think of you too when I'm out on my bike rides - it's so nice to know of a fellow biking blogger out there amongst all these crochet/knitting/cooking/quilting blogs.

  2. I can point you in the direction of Barn Quilts
    You can see pictures on some blogs too. I love your bike ride, you see so many beautiful things and odd things too, I wonder what is growing out of the leaf?

  3. Just before you mentioned Andamento I was just thinking of her and her Scottish bike rides! Some lovely wildflowers - much more exciting than round here!

    Pomona x

  4. I love everything about this ride, but especially the flowers. Makes me want to go on a wildflower ride of my own!

    My first thought when you talked about lone trees was the leafless skeletons we often see here. We have a name for them... Corinna Trees! Because Corinna can't pass one without snapping a photo of it!

    Now I'm off to anxiously look at the barn quilts...

  5. That was SO FUNNNNNNNNNNN! #37 is my fav, but #25 comes in a very close second. Very much worth the tour, and I didn't have to spend a dime on gas! Thanks, Pomona!

  6. Thanks all!

    Toffeeapple - the barn quilt link was amazing. Thanks so much.

    Deb - are you going to make one for your house? (I can hear the wheels turning in your mind...)

    How hard it would be to choose a block design. Too many nice ones available.


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