Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Humid with a Chance of Flowers

I very nearly called this post "Too Sticky for Pictures"....

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It's a thundery Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the rain fell in straight rods from air that could no longer contain the weight of its own moisture. Though the rain has stopped, the humidity is unrelieved as I take off for my ride.

I've been hoping for weeks to reprise last year's wildflower ride, but as the flowers are now past their peak in terms of variety, I've decided to just shoot what I can.

On the edge of a marsh a few miles out of town grow sunny drifts of heliopsis:

These cheery blossoms, known also as oxeye or false sunflower, light up the roadsides from mid to late summer.

Across the way is a cornfield edged with spotted knapweed, an invasive species with ravishingly pretty flowers:

The heavy air diffuses the sunlight, creating glare and making photography awkward. And the stinging insects seem to thrive on this weather, so whenever I stop I am thronged by hungry little buggers who sting right through my clothing. This is a good incentive to shoot and run (or in my case, shoot and ride).

Just up the road we find clouds of flowering spurge (with Bouncing Bet in the background):

And Bouncing Bet (with flowering spurge in the background):

Bouncing Bet is also known as Soapwort, but I think Bouncing Bet sounds much more fun. :)

Notice the camouflaged insect - it coordinates perfectly with the buds:

Clouds and corn:

I like this gate/fencepost:

A towering cumulus with thunder on its mind....

The cloud cover increases, bringing relief from the heat of the sun. Instead of being hot and sticky, the air is now cool and sticky - like riding through gazpacho.

Some miles later, my road leads into a shady wood. There's a silence here that is almost alien - a deep green quietude, not unfriendly, but watchful and waiting and everlastingly patient. It feels as though the trees might be thinking, "We were here before you came, and we'll be here long after you've gone."

Flowers grow in the shade of this wood. A lone columbine, relic of spring, holds up a single pale blossom. Brighter and bolder are the daylilies, still wet with the earlier rain:

There are clearings, too, edged with all kinds of plant life. Tiny white blossoms just opening on a tall plant I've never seen before - can it be some kind of amaranth?

This majestic bristly seedhead is about 7 inches long:

Some rather gorgeous dock:

White campion (I think), its seedhead looking like a fuzzy little melon:

A yellow flower I don't recognise, which turns out to be evening primrose:

White yarrow:

Wild parsnip going to seed:

Don't the umbels look space-age and delightfully 60s-ish?

Where the road leaves the woods, a thistle makes a pop of colour:

Around the bend, wild cucumber drapes some hidden plant below, climbing in fantastic shapes and scenting the air with a faint sweetness:

The cloud cover grows denser, and a few drops fall from the sky. Swallows dot telephone wires:

A new barn quilt for the collection (though really I suppose this is just a large shed):

Away down the road, a pair of turkeys cross, their young 'un lagging behind:

(The air was so thick, and the photo so fuzzy, I used the "pencil sketch" photo-editing option to make the turkeys more visible.)

The parent turkeys disappear quickly into the brush, but the little guy is just visible when I pass, so I snap his picture on the fly:

Some time later, the sun makes an effort to break through the clouds...

...and abruptly succeeds. When I've got less than two miles to go, the sky turns suddenly blue again:

A good finish to a sticky ride. I've collected a few insect bites, but the flower photos are worth it. :)

How's your weather?

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  1. What a lovely ride, despite the stickiness! You still captured lots of lovely flowers and that sky was so changeable. I love the birds lined up on the wires and then that amazing blue sky again at the end! I bet you were glad to have a refreshing shower after that!

  2. What beautiful flowers, I've learned a thing or two. I especially like the wild parsley close up. It sounds like a lovely ride. It's turned a little cooler here after a hot humid spell, and we've had rain too, so no watering needed! CJ xx

  3. Beautiful pictures, beautiful ride, thanks now I know we have an evening primrose in our yard. I wondered what it was, I remember planting one ... Once! We have had high temps , high nineties and humidity in the teens. Does wonders for your skin :(

  4. Lovely pictures of the flowers, such alot of variety and colors ! I am not a fan of humidity, it has been a wee bit sticky here and this morning we've had rain.

  5. Yay! What a beautiful ride and even better photos! Not disappointing at all! Thanks for sharing, and don't scratch those bites. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  6. I'd love to see some wild turkeys - they seem very exotic but I guess, to you, they're probably rather more common-place?! Hope those bites aren't bothering you too much. Juliex

  7. It's supposed to be 96º today and 97º tomorrow and so humid you could swim instead of bike ride. Love your flower photos.

  8. beautiful photos. We've had some strange weather here-- rainy and overcast and then very sunny! :)

  9. Beautiful photos. You see so much cool stuff on your rides. Thanks for sharing . Sorry about the bites though.

  10. I did enjoy seeing all the lovely blooms around you on your ride, Sue, your photos are wonderful! I hope the humidity eases soon, it seems that the rain is just not heavy enough at times to clear the air. Thank you for sharing your lovely experience and especially for putting up with the insects so you could capture your lovely shots with us:) xoJoy

  11. Hey Sue, I love the description 'riding through gazpacho' I can imagine just how that feels.
    Not sure I'd be stopping too often to take pics of flowers with those biting insects about, so thank you for doing so.....:)
    Love the atmosphere in the shaded wood, hope you got some more rain and a cool change. It's grey and cloudy here at the moment and looks like we might be in for some rain......

    Claire xx

  12. What are those barn quilts all about??
    I LOVE your fence/gate photo. I find gates so inviting. Love learning all the wildflower names. YOu are knowledgeable! sorry you are apparently quite tasty too to the insects

  13. I think you need to smear some lavender all over your skin before you ride in this 'skito weather! (Wink, wink!) What lovely flowers you found along the way, and the little turkey is such a cutie!

  14. What an assortment of wildflowers! They are all beautiful, even the nasty knapweed (we have it here in BC too, and it is taking over huge areas). The barn quilt is wonderful - it turns what would be a plain old out building into something special. It sounds like it was a great ride!

  15. I LOVE going on rides with you ---- the umbels are TOO cute. We have wild turkey here too, but I've NEVER seen a baby. You were so lucky!

    My weather? CRAZY about covers it. It will be beautifully blue and within minutes the storm clouds roll in and we have thunder and lightning. After that --- it is oh-my-golly HUMID! LOL

  16. Gorgeous views today Sue, my weather is hot and humid and will be for a few months yet.

  17. Riding through gazpacho! I will have to remember that. A feeling that is pretty normal around here, though no less unpleasant.

  18. A perfect day frozen in time forever on your wonderful blog! ((hugs))

  19. Breezy with a chance of showers here, but nicely sunny and much cooler, for which read bearable, than it has been.

    Just catching up here. Some of your American wild flowers bear the same names as our wild flowers but are actually different plants. I often wonder how that happened.

  20. Wonderful photos! I'm a wildflower fanatic and take so many flowers of those wonderful things! It's fun to see wildflower photos that other people take too. :-D


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