Friday, July 31, 2020

Summer Flowers (and Other Things)

Can you believe it's nearly August? Time has been such a blur this year, for me at least. Has it been that way for you too?

Things are much the same here. Covid rages, seemingly unabated; a statewide mask order has (finally) been implemented; and stress and frustration continue to plague the population.

On the bright side, I am back at work (with reduced hours), and Very Close to being done with the book. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement on that front. :)

I have a month's worth of cycling photos to share, so grab a snack and a cuppa, find somewhere comfy to sit, and enjoy this virtual visit to the Wisconsin summer countryside.


June 25

My first day back at work. What a treat to be riding the river trail once more, with the wind in my face, a blue sky overhead, and flowers all around! (I counted 22 varieties in the space of two miles.)

Fleabane, like a cloud of tiny hovering daisies:

St. Johns' Wort shines like cheery golden stars:

White wild lupine stands up from the tall grass:

Hoary verbena (dreadful name for a lovely plant) grows at the edge of the trail:

Clusters of spiderwort stand regal in purple:

Bright birdsfoot trefoil lines the trail:

Rosy crown vetch cuddles with yellow rudbeckia:

Clumps of glorious orange milkweed draw the eye:

The Wisconsin River flows placidly under summer skies:

At the end of the workday, I get to enjoy it all in reverse - fleabane and birdsfoot trefoil:

Common yarrow (uncommonly pretty):

Part of my route lies along country roads, where deer browse in wide green pastures:

I am so blessed to live and work where I do.


June 28

A leisurely Sunday ride, with many flower photo ops.

Elderflower blossom:

I stop at a nature preserve, where Iris gets parked against a handy signpost while I clamber through the tall grass to see what's blooming in the fields beyond.

Crown vetch:

Mullein, I think:

Here's a rudbeckia bud, just beginning to open:

Another one, slightly farther along:

And all around are swarms of fully-open blossoms:

Such cheery flowers! I also love their common name of Black-Eyed Susans.

Here's a mullein in bloom against a background of crown vetch:

A mile or so down the road, I pass a salsify blossom gone to seed, looking like a dandelion puffball on steroids:

A few miles farther on grows a mysterious shrub with cloudy red foliage:

Around another corner, this yellow flower is growing on the verge. I think it's rough-fruited cinquefoil:

It's a hot day. Sheep are resting in the shade of a barn:

Across the road, in the field next to our egg supplier's house, cattle also seek the shade:

Adorable calves watch me through the fence:

Many miles later, I stop to listen to the water spilling over this country dam:

On the outskirts of town, I spy a wildflower that I don't remember seeing before. Research identifies it as Penstemon - possibly P. digitalis, also known as false foxglove:

A satisfying Sunday ride.


July 1

Back on the road to work. At my job, every day is Take Your Turtle to Work Day:

(When we get to work, Tallulah promptly goes to sleep until it's time to ride home again. Slacker.)

The view on the way home:

Wild bergamot growing by the trail:

The white wild indigo is still in bloom:


July 5

Another Sunday ride, in which I surprise a pair of sandhill cranes:

Later, the road climbs and winds away from the low-lying marsh on the right:

Wild daylilies are now in bloom:

Many miles later, Iris the bike poses prettily on a bridge:

Trees and sky, a typical summer view on our country roads:

Soapwort, or Bouncing Bet, blooms in front of a stone wall:


July 8

On my next ride to work, I see families of wild geese on the river. The young ones, just a few months old, are nearly as big as the parents:


July 12

It's Sunday once more - another beautiful July day, another beautiful ride.

A round bale sits alone in a green field:

The corn is as high as an elephant's eye:

I pass a favourite old shed:

(Its rear wall is nearly gone. Will this be its last summer?)

Here, a river of green flows through golden fields:

Cattle graze on a hillside pasture:

Dog-fennel grows on the verge (along with ragweed - boo hiss):

Dog-fennel is one of the common names for Anthemis cotula. It's also known as stinking-cotula or stinking chamomile. I think I'll stick with dog-fennel.

The road goes ever on and on ... and sometimes up:

Later in the ride, I spy a huge clump of white flowers just off the road, on the edge of some public hunting grounds.

Iris gets parked against a handy gate, in defiance of this sign...

...while I stroll over to look at the flowers, which prove to be common yarrow. They look white in these photos, but in real life they were actually a very pale grey:

It's evening, and the low sun is casting a lovely light across some of the petals:

Miles later, at the edge of town, grows swamp milkweed, deep-pink and beautiful:

Across the road, the first Queen Anne's Lace is lit from behind by the westering sun...

...which also shines through the stem of this hanging flower head:

In the nearby shade grows a Turk's-cap lily:

What a wealth of wildflowers is July!


July 19

A week later, Sunday is hot and windy. The sun beats down on my back as I ride through the rolling farmland outside of town:

At the bottom of a long hill is a patch of refreshing shade where drifts of dog-fennel grow:

A few hundred yards down the road, an unobtrusive turnoff leads to a flowery wonderland:

This glorious meadow is part of the nature preserve mentioned above. In summer it's simply jammed with wildflowers; today I see fleabane, rudbeckia, wild bergamot, knapweed, hoary verbena, and mullein.

A blossoming paradise, well worth the many mosquito bites I collected getting these photos. :)

At the entrance grows wild parsnip, which I am careful not to touch, as it can cause a painful skin reaction (though the ants don't seem to mind):

A mile or so down the road I see a plumy, new-to-me wildflower:

Later research identifies it as Culver's-root.

Around the next corner, common milkweed is blooming:

Its blossoms are a paler, dustier pink than swamp milkweed, but still exotic-looking and lovely to my eyes.

Here hare's-foot clover swarms at the edge of the road:

A little farther on is a field full of knapweed, humming with bees:

Near the end of the ride, I find wild catnip growing on a bank:

Its blossoms bear tiny pink spots that make me think of candy.


July 27

It's Monday, and Mr. M has two-wheeled it to work. In the afternoon I ride out to meet him and ride home with him. He's wearing his favourite plaid "jersey":

His bright fuchsia backpack started life as a cycling jersey, sewn by me decades ago. It's now been remade into a pack just large enough to hold his shoes and keys. He loves the high-vis colour.


July 30

My last ride of the month is to work. Here's a favourite barn I pass on the way home:


Thanks for travelling these Wisconsin roads with me. I hope that you too are enjoying some blue skies and sunshine.

Stay safe and well, my friends.

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