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.

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


  1. WOW!!! And thank you once again, Sue, for a beautiful post! I am so pleased to know you are well, enjoying more rides, back to work, and that your book is nearly completed! I eagerly await your exciting announcement! xx :)

  2. Summer in your part of the world is amazing what beautiful scenery and abundance of wild flowers, we just get to see some of those in our gardens. Thank you for sharing your cycling adventures I will be popping back to get another look at all that loveliness. I can't wait to hear all about your book, how exciting! Have a great weekend. x

  3. Wisconsin roads are wonderful. :-) Enjoy the summer. I'm curious about your book.

    All the best


  4. Wow! What stunning wild flowers in your neck of the woods. I love that you take time to stop and find them for us. CN xx

  5. Beautiful. You have truly captured your neck of the woods. Thank you for allowing us to tag along on your many adventures. I love your husbands back pack. That is one of my fav colors. The flowers are so lovely, and those two little calves just crack me up. So cute. Your book will be a huge seller, I know. You are so very talented sweet friend. Yay, for getting to go back to work. That is awesome. I wish you an awesome day full of blessings dear friend. ((hugs)) :)

  6. Really enjoyed all the photos. Looks like a lovely place to ride. Glad to catch up with you. Stay safe,
    Hugs, Sharon

  7. All of your photos are spectacular. Thank you for all the identification work! Hoping to get a good ride in this week. Out in our rolling pastures, troubles feel far far away. And I need that false sense of quiet right now.

  8. You are so fortunate to have such a lovely commute. I especially love the milkweeds. Such an interesting flower. You have to slow down and look closely to appreciate it like a lot of things in life.

  9. Wow! That's a lot of photos from so many of your outings! I find that I'm making longer blog entries too as I'm doing less of them! A beautifu choice of wild flowers, water elements and meadows. So lovely to cycle on safe roads without traffic!

    My favourite flowers were the Rosy Crown Vetch and the two different coloured Milkweed! Enjoy your month of August!

  10. Thank you for taking us along, Wisconsin is near and dear to my heart. Glad you are back to work a bit and even happier your book is almost finished, I can't wait to order it. Stay safe.

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