Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rides and Walks and Flowers and Barns....

Once again, the weeks have gotten away from me. Work and family commitments (and more work) have made blogging time scarce, even as the photos continue to pile up. So here are three weeks' worth of rides and walks, with scattered thoughts on the weather and the passing of time.


Short Tuesday Ride

The gloriously dry heat has turned a bit sticky, but the sun still shines from a summer-blue sky.

A spot of bright fuschia-pink catches my eye - the first ironweed of the year:

Common Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)

Just across the road waves a field of feathery goldenrod:

I used to associate goldenrod with autumn, and would get a bit depressed at its appearance in late July. Somehow, this year, it has ceased to bother me. I think I've finally realised that though the summer flies by so quickly, winter will pass quickly too. The seasons and years are beginning to march in double time, disappearing over the horizon almost before they've arrived. A sign, I suppose, of encroaching age....


Cloudy Friday Ride

The air is thick and threatens rain. I pass clumps of wild cucumber, climbing and sprawling over the edge of a field:

A mile from home I stop to snap this blushing bit of creeper:

Then the clouds open. In a minute I'm soaked, but happy that we're getting some sorely-needed rain.


A Walk to the Post Office

The back road to the village PO runs through what some might call waste land. (I call it charmingly undeveloped, and hope it will stay that way for a good long while.)

On one side of the road is a vine-adorned fence that serves to keep a small factory within bounds:

Growing on the curb is a kind of plant I've never been able to identify (until now):

It's Four-o'clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea). I've seen this species on bike rides in other summers, and have been mystified by what I took to be green flowers. The blossoms are actually pink, but only come out in the late afternoon. Sometime I hope to see them in bloom.

Also on this road grow Fleabane, like clouds of tiny daisies:

Spotted Knapweed, invasive but delicately lovely:

Don't the buds look like little aliens? :)

Goldenrod with a colour-coordinated insect:

Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

A clump of tiny Whorled Milkweed:

Also spotted on this walk: Flowering Spurge, Hoary Alyssum, Sweet White Clover, White Snakeroot, and Sumac. I do like taking the back way to the Post Office....


A Long Tuesday Ride

The day is gorgeous, hot and sunny and blue-skied. I decide to photograph mainly barns and buildings, a subject somewhat neglected in this wildflower-minded summer.

An old barn with a cupola, shrouded in trees:

A feed mill, looking like a circus of the prairie:

A green barn, blending in with its surroundings:

Bright red-and-white barns, and a silo topped with a bird:

On the other side of the barns, cows turn to look as I take their photo:

Then it's up, up, up a hill so steep I can photograph the shadows cast by my spokes (a sign of how slowly I'm climbing):

On the way down the other side, two border collies come rushing out at me, circling and wanting desperately to herd me to the side of the road. I do not take their photo, being too busy trying to avoid a dog-bike collision.

The road takes me past a windmill farm...

...beneath which sits a perfectly glorious red barn, adorned with a painting of flowers:

Then around a corner and down a steep, curving grade into the valley. The descent would be perfect were it not for cars coming unexpectedly around corners and straying into my lane....

Then up again to the high prairie, past fields of corn, under clouds like a trail of wandering footprints across the sky:

Miles later, a favourite white barn with pigeon-decked silo:

And a clump of Sweet Joe-Pye Weed too beautiful to pass up:

A long, relaxed ride on a beautiful summer's day.


Sticky Saturday Ride (with Mr. M)

Some true mid-August weather - hot and horridly sticky. Mr. M and I take off in the morning before the heat becomes too intense. The air is moist and the sun glares, making photos look overexposed and a bit misty.

Close encounter on a country corner:

Mr. M eventually turns for home, but I stay on the road to put in a few extra miles. On a steep, curving climb, I reach a welcome patch of shade and stop for a photo of the deep-green field below:

Red clover blooms at the side of the road:

A few miles on, corn and power lines march down the valley:

Back on the outskirts of town, purple loosestrife glows in the morning sun:

A satisfying morning ride.

That brief spell of extreme heat and humidity didn't last; now, in the last week of August, temps have turned unseasonably cool. I do hope we get more summery weather before the first frosts strike in September....


The Great 2015 Wildflower Count is coming on apace - 124 varieties spotted so far. Every time I think I've seen all the flowers there are to see, I spot something new. What a wonderful world.

What's wonderful in your life right now?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Gorgeous wildflowers, and lovely to see those pretty barns as well. It's been cool here too, and rather wet as well. I'm hoping for a last blast of summer as well though. CJ xx

  2. I really enjoyed looking at your beautiful pictures. What's wonderful in my life: Everybdoy is healthy and happy, what more can you wish for!
    Greetings from Holland,

  3. Just look at all the fantastic barns, each one a tribute to its builders.
    The flowers are wonderful too. Thanks for taking us along on the ride...
    Susan x

  4. Sue, I always enjoy your rides. The wildflowers, barns, sky..always so lovely.
    What's wonderful in my life? It is cooling down a bit, the smoke from all of the wild fires in the P.N.W. has not drifted our way in the last few days, everyone is well and I am enjoying more books and learning a new skill.

  5. Lovely photos Sue. My summer has been a crazy mix with my unexpected surgery and recovery. I'm wishing summer would last a bit longer but those fires Ellen mentioned are to close to home for me and the firefighters need rain and cool weather to bring things under control. The smoke is keeping me inside, knitting and reading. Almost like winter.

  6. Lovely pictures from your rides, I love the barns and the beautiful wild flowers . And all that blue sky! We've been smoked in all week from forest fire smoke and there are health advisories issued as it is so high. Plus it's still stinking hot! So I'm going to can peach salsa and some pears so I can get even hotter and stickier , trigger some hot flashes and be more glamorous and charming to those around me !!! Nice to see Mr M out for a ride too!

  7. I love the flowers but I love the barns more, reminds me of a series of books I've read set somewhere in America and whenever I'm imagining the scene I think about your pics.

  8. Green barn, red barn, white barn ...LOVE Them all. Sorry the border patrol went after you

  9. I wish I had half or even a quarter of your energy for biking and walking. I enjoyed all the photos and my favorites are the old barns. I'm glad they're being taken care of in your community. I heard that each day a 100 old barns are lost to lack of upkeep in the USA. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  10. Lovely pictures, Sue.
    Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetles are currently residing and multiplying on my mint plants :)

  11. So, so Beautiful!! As a born and raised small-town Wisconsin girl, these scenes warm my heart and rekindle childhood memories of biking in the country side. I now reside in California (for many years!), but I miss the Midwest often and I will truly forever be a Wisconsin girl! If you can, I would love to know what area of Wis. these fabulous pics are from?

    1. Hi anniedo! I'm a California native now happily transplanted to south-central Wisconsin, and I have to admit I don't miss California at all. :)

    2. I truly miss the beautiful nature of Wisconsin, it's not called "God's Country" for nothing!!
      I was born in Oshkosh but grew in in Columbus, a very small town near Madison.
      P.S. I am also an avid crocheter AND an avid cyclist!! :) Thanks for your visual reminiscing!!

  12. Love this post AND I didn't have to do any pedaling! What is this Wildflower Count? Never heard of it!

  13. Your photos are as beautiful as ever. I love them so much, thanks a lot! We are just back from our summer holidays at the Sea and it is so wonderful that I find white sand almost everywhere. I started to put every tiny little bit in a jar. Let's see how much sand from the beach I'll be able to collect. There are several pockets I haven't checked yet and still some bags to empty. This make me happy these days. Viola

  14. The years are definitely flying by with age. Great pics, I like the old barn with the modern windmill. Is that a barn quilt on the side?

  15. I am not sure what is going on this summer but the time is flying by and there just does not seem to be any time to blog.I feel a bit guilty about not posting enough and even worse about not reading and commenting. Anyway, Wisconsin looks spectacular!

  16. Hellooooo Sue, wonderful to catch up on what you've been up to. Love all the photos, the red and white barns in particular and that wind farm was very interesting.......Seeing the turbine near the barn really showed how large those things are.
    I certainly hope you do get some more sunshine and warmth before descending into Autumn. I won't mention time marching on as I feel exactly the same way...:(
    I'm loving the change of season here, Spring is springing by degrees. The Manchurian Pears by the dam are in full flower. I can see them as I sit here (in Bed) and type. The birds are busy looking for nesting places and the bees are buzzing happily in the orchard. Such a lovely time of year. Have a great weekend.....xx

  17. How mice that you can combine multiple rides into one eye candy post! And the best part is riding with Mr. M!

  18. Always love seeing your pictures and sharing in your adventures, too. :) Four O'Clocks smell divine when they bloom. Very fragrant and so pretty. Had tons of them in FL, there is also a yellow one, but it's very rare and not as fragrant. :)

  19. 124 kinds of wildflowers! That's really exciting. I love seeing them here. You have species I've never seen before in any place I've lived, I think. I love the barns and the artwork on that one barn is really pretty. Your bike rides are so interesting, Sue. Thanks for sharing.

  20. What a fabulous flower count so far. I hope you find a few more yet.....and that you get some more warm weather too. I loved some of those barns especially the red one with the flowers......such a lovely idea to decorate a barn, not something we ever see here. Hoping things slow down a little for you- they feel pretty busy here too! Juliex

  21. It all looks rather marvellous to me Sue, you do live in a stunning bit of country.


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