Friday, May 31, 2019

Sweet with May

The apple blossoms were on the trees, and the hedges were sweet with May.
(Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage)

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May was really quite rainy and grey, but when I look back at my photos, I see mainly sunshine and flowers. A lot of flowers. But that's a good thing, right? :)


One Saturday early in May, a friend invited me over to see the trillium blooming in her woods:

These are Large-flowered Trillium, a protected species that may not be picked or dug up (they can, however, be purchased from reputable nurseries). My friend is lucky enough to have several patches of them growing wild, and we had a pleasant time walking through the trees from one clump to the next.

Sunday Ride

The next day I took a bike ride, in which I finally saw the marsh marigolds I'd been anxiously awaiting:

I also saw apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks (there's a certain poetry in that phrase; in fact I rearranged the photos in this collage so I could say those words in just that order):

Apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks :)

Riding to Work

This spring, I've been riding to work as often as the weather allows. I can't think of a better way to start and end a work day than riding down country roads, seeing trains and red-tailed hawks and curious cows heavy with calf:

What a treat to stop and sniff the wild plum blossom, then continue home under a sky like this:

Cloudy Sunday Walk

One Sunday in mid-May, when skies were grey and threatening, I walked to the prairie restoration project, passing scores of violets on the way:

(Happy sigh. I love violet time.)

The prairie restoration project was full of green and growing things: sticky chestnut buds, lichened trees, and sprouting lupine:

A sandhill crane stalked majestically at the edge of an adjoining field:

I saw other birds too: blackbirds singing in defiance of grey skies, and a mysterious bird of prey perched in a tree:

Cloudy days can be lovely too. :)

Mid-May Ride

In which I climbed down to a marsh's edge to photograph some cheery marsh marigolds and vivid green skunk cabbage, and nearly stepped on what I later found out was a morel mushroom:

Around a corner and down the road, my favourite May wildflower was in bloom:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek Valerian

The Jacob's Ladder was a little thin this year, but as beautiful as ever.

The Flower Parade Continues

A week later came a day so brilliantly sunny that the wet grey days preceding it seemed like a distant memory. Birch trees shone under sapphire skies, violets opened their arms to the warmth, and happy ants nibbled on... on... what is that white flower? (The prose comes to a crashing halt as the blogger pauses for internet research. Clickety-clickety, tap-tap-tap. Okay, I think it may be wild strawberry.) ...And a happy ant nibbled on wild strawberry blossom:

The first Golden Alexanders and wild geranium were blooming, and a faded barn slept like a cat in the sun:

Dame's Rocket, slightly early this year, made its first vivid appearance:

Memorial Weekend

I never know what to call the day before Memorial Day; suffice it to say that on that Sunday we went to church, came home and ate a lovely breakfast, after which I fell into a deep refreshing sleep (having been sick for several days the week before), and awoke ready for a long and leisurely ride.

It's hard to beat a sunny Sunday ride in May, especially with the added pleasure of knowing that the next day is a holiday.

Wild honeysuckle was in full bloom, scenting the air with sweetness:

I saw dogwood blossom, and wild calla lilies growing in a marsh:

I stopped in a little park to eat a snack and look up at the sun shining through the trees:

Down the road was a noble oak, with wild turkeys feeding at its base:

Barns and sheds and flowering crab added to the joy of the day:

I passed a large patch of flowering spurge, some with unusual orange blossoms:

On a hillside grew dainty fringed puccoon, and nearby a clump of mysterious asters with large blossoms and fleshy, hairy stems:

At the top of the hill, a favourite Memorial weekend sight - a fence decked with a row of flags:

A few miles later, I passed a happy herd of cows and calves in a green hill-pasture:

Then flew down the hill, around a curve, and past a favourite barn:

Also seen on this ride - pollen cones on pine trees, and bright-red velvety young oak leaves:

When I got home, Mr. M was just setting out on a short ride, so I joined him (and captured a rare double shadow shot):

Mid-Week Evening Ride

In which I see a fawn and the fawn sees me:

The Last Day of May

I thought my May photo album was complete, but when I rode to work today there were fresh wildflowers along the river trail, just begging to be photographed.

Yarrow, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Spiderwort (oh what a glorious purple!) and Penstemon:

Humbler, but no less beautiful, were these tiny yellow cinquefoil, clouds of starry chickweed, and snowy Canada anemone:

What a lovely finish to the month.

How was your May?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Birds and Trees and Blue Skies ... and Flowers!

How did it get to be nearly mid-May, and me not having blogged since mid-March? I've been taking walks and rides and photos galore, but somehow never found the time to post them until now.

So grab a snack (something sustaining) and a large cup of whatever you like best to drink, because this here blog post is one epic batch of photos, taking us from the still-icy lakes of late March, through April's first tentative leafings-out, right up to the first flowers of May. (Glorious May!)

Late March Ride

Woolly bear braving the icy March winds:

Tallulah looks out at the opening lake:

There's still ice to be seen, but at least it's receding:

Shadow shot!

Last Day of March: Evening Walk to the Park

This walk was a bird-watcher's delight. First, a pair of bald eagles swooped over the path. By the time I got my camera out and focused, they were behind the trees and heading out over the lake:

I looked to my left and saw a Great Blue Heron standing by the water's edge:

I climbed onto a little point of land, and saw that one of the bald eagles was now perched in a tree, looking lordly and noble (as eagles are wont to do):

A pair of loons and a female merganser (I think), paddled by below:

Around a bend in the shore was another heron:

A seagull stepped daintily across the ice in the middle of the lake:

On the way home, I saw a robin huddled on a telephone wire:

Not to be outdone, a squirrel posed in silhouette against the evening clouds:

A beautiful evening walk.

First Ride of April

A cloudy, cold, and grey-skied ride, in which Tallulah kept a careful watch for turtles on the road, but saw none.

We did, however, see a flock of blackbirds:

More Birds at the Park

It's always fun when the pelicans show up on the lake in spring; they're so large and somehow comical-looking. Here's one hanging out with some loons:

Early April Walk

As seen above, April isn't all blue skies. When it's too cold or rainy to ride, I solace myself with walks to the park or to the prairie restoration project. The way to the latter takes me past the marshy lake-around-the-corner, beloved haunt of red-winged blackbirds, who perch on the cattails and swell with their song the uncertain voice of spring.

Robins too give assurance of the changing season... do the tiny signs of new life breaking out of the cold ground.

First Ride-to-Work of the Year

In which I saw a flock of turkeys, but managed to get a good photo of only one:

And marvelled at bright fountains of willow-fronds shining against a deep-blue morning sky:

Meanwhile, Winter Hasn't Given Up Yet

Sigh. This too is April in Wisconsin:

Mid-April: Spring Makes a Comeback

Another walk to the park, where I see some water birds I can't identify (possibly buffleheads?):

And marvel at a moonrise framed by maple blossom:

Listen to the loud call of this unknown bird (I really need to learn more bird varieties):

Snap photos of mysterious buds:

And walk home to the sleepy song of blackbirds settling down for the night:

Mid-April Ride

This is the time of year I start to long for wildflowers. I stop by a certain marsh, hoping to see Marsh Marigolds, but all I find is skunk cabbage:

A few miles later, a far more exciting find:

An osprey's nest! The first I've ever seen. The birds are huge, about the same size as bald eagles, but their nest is rounder and more compact. (Many thanks to my sister for identifying the birds for me.)

A few miles farther on, I pass a barnyard full of ewes and adorable bleating lambs:

This is my longest ride of the season so far. It takes me up to the high prairie, then down again into swiftly-greening valleys....

.... and past a favourite creek:

A little farther on, I pass a ground squirrel sitting in the sun by the side of the road. I slowly turn the bike around, getting out my camera, and pass him again to snap his photo, just before he dives into his hole and disappears.

And the Next Day, the Sun is Still Shining...

Tallulah and I head out for another ride, this time to a nearby lake, where we glory in the sparkle of sunlight on the (finally ice-free) water:

Honeysuckle leaves are sprouting:

The wind nudges the water into a succession of silken ripples:

And tiny shells, smaller than my fingernail, lie in the gravel:

The way home takes us past a favourite barn:

Last Week of April

More sunny days make for beautiful riding weather:

Dainty blossoms hang from maple trees:

A scarf of cloud floats across the sky behind a favourite oak:

And a herd of deer grazes in a farmer's field:

Another Ride to Work

Wild geese have taken over a stretch of the river trail, but scurry away at my approach:

Stopped by a train on my way home that evening:

Suddenly, it's May!

As if by magic, wildflowers appear. Dandelions and violets pop up in the lawn, and garlic mustard blooms by the side of the road.

On my next ride to work, I see tiny stellaria blooming in the grass by the river trail:

And pennycress:

The week before, the river was in flood, and the far banks were covered in water. This week the water is down and the dry grass is once again visible:

My evening ride home takes me past a picturesque barn:

There have been a few more May rides, but I'll save them for another post. :)


In other news, I've been working hard on The Book. Pattern revision is taking much longer than I expected, but progress is  s l o w l y  being made. I will be so glad when it's finished. (If it ever gets finished....)

A belated happy May to you all!

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