Thursday, August 1, 2019

July Journeys

Aaaaaand whoosh! Another month has rushed by, filled with work and rides and family visits, and even a little travel. The July weather was hot, then hotter, and has now cooled off again. We enjoyed (endured?) some spectacular thunderstorms, waited patiently through the stickiest weather, and are now marvelling at the crisp, almost autumn-like blue skies of the last few days.

I've got a month's worth of photos to show you, so find a comfortable seat, and get ready for a trip down Wisconsin summer roads....

July 3rd

The day before the glorious 4th started out sunny and warm - a perfect day for a ride.

Wild turkeys (our national bird) are on view in a soybean field:

Many miles later, the clouds begin to roll in:

Wild daylilies are just starting to bloom. Here's a closeup of one (so gorgeous!):

July 5th, Riding Home from Work

A beautiful evening of clear light, calm river reflecting the trees and sky, and wildflowers glowing in the westering sun.

Salsify on the riverbank:

Wild Rudbeckia (or Black-Eyed Susan):

Orange milkweed:

On the edge of the trail grows birdsfoot trefoil:

Dragonflies are zipping and zooming among the grasses. This one sits obligingly still long enough for me to take a photo:

I've mentioned in an earlier post how thick the spiderwort was this year; just look at those blossom clusters:

Common milkweed just coming on to bloom:

Wild bergamot growing thick by the side of the trail:

Delicate St. John's Wort (with a glimpse of orange milkweed in the background):

What a richness and variety of bloom! I love July. :)

Sunday the 7th

The glorious weather continues, and I take off for a Sunday afternoon ride past gold-and-green fields:

I love the delicate sculptural look of these rakes, and their graphic contrast with the barn window and barn quilt:

My shadow races beside me:

These three silos have always fascinated me. Here they seem to float on a field of corn:

A mile or so up the road is a field of ripening wheat:

And many miles later, a typical Wisconsin scene:

CGOA Conference

The following week, I was in Manchester, New Hampshire, for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Crochet Guild of America's annual conference.

The hotel was charmingly crochet-bombed by Jennifer Ryan and friends:

Crochet bombing by Jennifer Ryan and friends

The conference included a small marketplace, with yarn and yarn-related goodies for sale. One of my favourite booths featured Nancy Nehring's astounding collection of vintage crochet sample books made by crocheters of the past, who would work swatches, then paste or sew them into scrapbooks to use as pattern references (the way we use written patterns today). One of the books was literally falling apart with age. What a treat to get this glimpse into the history of our craft!

Nancy Nehring's collection of vintage crochet sample books

I didn't take a lot of photos at the conference, being too busy hanging out my roommate Amy (aka GreenHook; click here to see her comprehensive post on the conference); taking a class (Mosaic Crochet with Sharon Silverman); modeling some of my designs in the end-of-conference fashion show, and eating truly amazing locally-made ice cream from Granite State Candy Shoppe, which was just a short walk from the hotel. (I had ice cream for lunch every day I was there. It was that good.)

Clockwise from upper left: Amy and me (photo courtesy of Amy); ice cream for lunch;
modeling the Jewelweed Shawl (photo courtesy of Amy); samples worked in class

In short, four days of crochet bliss. :)

July 15th, Riding Home from Work

A balmy evening of blue skies and bounteous blossoms along the river trail. Riding home in conditions like these is the perfect way to end a workday (and work off some of that ice cream I ate in Manchester).

The Rudbeckia and wild bergamot are thicker than ever:

Huge clusters of Turk's-cap lilies are nodding over the grass by the side of the trail:

Queen Anne's Lace is making its first delicate appearance:

Can you tell that I really like rudbeckia and wild bergamot? They're so pretty together:

The following photo is just to prove that I do occasionally look upwards when riding:

Mourning doves

Evening Walk to the Park

Later in the week, on a hot, humid evening, I head over to the park in search of more wildflowers.

First to be seen is a colourful coneflower variety (complete with bug):

At the edge of the pond, a bee makes the most of ... motherwort? Catnip? Some member of the mint family, I think:

A bunny relaxes in the grass a few feet away:

Also growing at the edge of the pond are purple coneflower (this one just coming into bloom):

Swamp milkweed:

and more of the ubiquitous Rudbeckia (here with bonus beetle):

At the park entrance grows an oak tree with an intriguing pattern of holes in its leaves:

A songbird looks out over the lake:

And the lake itself lies serenely silver under the setting sun:

Sunday the 21st

Massive thunderstorms have cleared the air of last week's sticky heat, and brought back the blue of the sky. It's a beautiful day for a ride.

Sun shines through corn leaves:

A deer watches me ride past:

Wild sunflower and cow vetch bloom against a rusty fence:

A new batch of pedigreed piggies has appeared in the field next to a friend's house:

And up the road a favourite tree stands handsomely green under summer skies:

Around the corner, tiny dog-fennel (Anthemis cotula) grows by the side of the road:

Gratuitous barn photo:

Now comes the very best part of the ride. I pass a patch of knapweed, with one large swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from a blossom. The knapweed is about ten feet away from the road's edge, so I stop the bike, set my camera to zoom, and shoot several photos.

The butterfly moves to the next flower, ignoring me completely, so I walk a few feet closer, lessen the zoom on my camera, and take a few more shots. Still the butterfly clings to its blossom, sipping as hard as it can.

So I walk right up to it, holding the camera (and my breath), and from just a few inches away get the best butterfly shots I'll probably ever get. Here are just two (it was hard not to post them all!):

Finally the butterfly flies away. I get back on the bike, grinning from ear to ear, and head down the road towards home.

Though everything seems anticlimactic after that butterfly, I can't pass up this soapwort without stopping for a photo:

Or this delicate water parsley (at least I think that's what it is):

The last shot of the day is a family of geese hanging out by a stream:

Thursday the 25th a busy day, but I manage to squeeze in a short ride. And shoot a few wildflowers along the way, of course.

Swamp milkweed:

Joe-Pye weed:

After the ride, hanging out cycling laundry reminds me of distant friends Snowcatcher and the Lizard (the two jerseys below were gifts from Snowcatcher):

That Evening, at the County Fairgrounds

For the first time ever I entered some things in the County Fair. When we go to the fair Thursday evening, in company with some visiting family members, I am thrilled to see that all of my entries have gotten a ribbon.

Clockwise from upper left: a sheep, some of my entries, another sheep (or is it a goat?), and a somersaulting great-niece

Saturday the 27th

A hot and windy day, but dry and pleasant for riding. I take off down a tree-lined road:

Stop for photos of horsemint:

And admire sun-dappled shady pines:

Miles on, I spy plum-coloured blossoms growing on a bank above the road. I think they may be wild alfalfa - the thickest I've ever seen.

In one of the sprays a beetle is hiding; the tiny blossoms cast even tinier shadows onto his shell:

I love it when bugs show up unexpectedly in photos. :)

Wednesday the 31st

Tallulah and I can't stay inside on this beautiful day of blue skies and windless, almost-cool air:

I pass the osprey's nest (first found a few months ago), and two birds are visible - one on the nest, one on the crossbar above. When I stop for photos (the nest is a couple hundred yards from the road, so the camera is on extreme zoom), the bird on the nest takes off, flies towards me, and circles over my head, calling all the while. Then it heads back to the power pole to join its mate, and I take off so as not to alarm them further. Another fascinating wildlife encounter!

Several miles on is a favourite barn (in fact I've featured it twice in this post):

And cattle on a hill:

And here is the last flower photo of July - a slightly ragged yellow coneflower growing by the side of the road:


I can't quite believe that August is upon us. Every summer seems to pass more quickly than the last. Any time now, the goldenrod will bloom, and thoughts of autumn will start to creep in. (On the bright side, our tomatoes will finally ripen. To everything there is a season.)

How was your July? Did you take any trips, or do anything exciting? Or just enjoy being at home?

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