2015 Riding and Wildflower Diary

2015 miles to date: 779.1
Wildflower varieties spotted to date: 140

Sunday, October 11 - Skipped riding last weekend due to cold grey weather. Today is sunny and almost hot, strong south wind - very good riding weather, especially for mid-October. Trees are drying out, not much colour in our area - perhaps we need a good hard frost to kick up the colours? Birch trees especially not as golden as I'd hoped - leaves just turning brown and falling. Sumac is stunning though, like scarlet banners in the wind. Many oak trees turning much sooner than they usually do, and some of the walnuts are already bare. We could have used more rain this year; can still see trees suffering effects of 2012 drought. Take roundabout route to L road (on way to campground) - woods there as magical as they always are. See some lovely red and gold maples, hear birds I don't hear anywhere else, and the birch and aspen along this road are golden! Try to avoid climbs on the way home because right shoulder and arm are very sore (dang it) - getting out of the saddle makes biceps really hurt. This is the first time riding has made the shoulder feel worse. Have to switch camera to other pocket because I can no longer reach back and twitch it out on that side. Start to feel good and warmed up after the first 15 miles; if shoulder weren't so sore today would love to go farther. No new flowers; think I may have hit the total for the year. A gorgeous and mostly relaxed ride (apart from painful bits). Must be lots of allergens still around; eyes are pretty bloodshot when I get home. A good frost will settle all that. :)
24.3 miles
No new flowers spotted.

Sunday, September 27 - Short ride on a sunny day with a cool wind blowing. Find new flower on side road - Great Blue Lobelia - absolutely gorgeous. Miles on, see fuzzy white blossom which I think is Pearly Everlasting but turns out to be Cat's-foot. Lots of Butter-and-Eggs blooming just across the road - you'd think it was still summer! Lots of orange and red pops of colour at the edge of the woods. Fall is here!
11.6 miles
New Flowers Spotted: Great Blue Lobelia, Cat's-foot
Still Blooming: Bladder Campion, Red Clover, Knapweed, Hoary Alyssum, Stellaria, Mullein, Butter-and-Eggs, QAL, Goldenrod (almost gone) 

Sunday, September 20 - Probably the last Summer ride - Autumn starts Wed. Rode past Christmas tree farm - in 3 months I'll be going there to cut a tree. Aack! Beautiful sky today, warm sun but as soon as it gets low in the sky the temps drop. Today's ride is a wandering one, looking at flowers, hoping for a train (though I linger quite a while in the vicinity of the tracks, nothing happens until I turn down another road and am in the ditch taking flower photos - THEN the train comes!). Asters this year are more prolific than I've ever seen them, especially the white ones - like drifts of snow at the side of the road. See some especially thick ones that turn out to be Heath Aster - tiny, tiny blossoms packed into pointed white spires. Also see some donkeys on a road I seldom ride - such sweet eyes. A good ride, with climbs better than I expected considering I've hardly spent any time in the saddle lately. Work schedule is very bad for riding right now. Ah well. Have to keep reminding myself that this is a no-pressure year. :)
15.5 miles
New Flowers Spotted: Heath Aster

Flowers Spotted Between Rides: Cardinal Flower, Wild Ageratum (gorgeous drifts of blue by the pond at the park), Thimbleweed Split-Leaf Coneflower

Sunday, September 13 - Two weeks since my last ride! Too much work and an exhaustingly painful dental problem have kept me off the bike but today I'm determined to get out and see what's blooming. Lots of aster, for one - see 3 or 4 different types, also Burdock. Spend some time watching turkey buzzards, who in their turn watch me - rather creepy. There are nine in all, and after circling overhead for several minutes they begin to land, one by one, in a tree not far away, all facing me and (I presume) staring at me. Are they waiting to see if I move? What would happen if I lay down on the road and played dead? (Too horrible to contemplate.) They are fascinating creatures but I've seen enough of them for now! Rest of ride uneventful, except for spotting new flower in marsh - Nodding Beggar-Ticks.
New Flowers Spotted: 3 varieties of Aster, also False Aster, Burdock, Nodding Beggar-Tick
Still Blooming: Knapweed, Red Clover, Mullein (almost gone), Soapwort (almost gone), White Campion (almost gone), Evening Primrose, QAL, Wild Sunflowers (various), Thistle (almost gone), Horsemint, Ragweed.

Sunday, August 30 - Beautiful and much warmer today. Take out and back to local lake; see lovely white aster (now using as blog header) - probably Arrow-Leaved Aster. Get some good shots at the lake - never noticed before how many tiny shells are mixed in with the sand! See also Woodland Sunflower and Spotted Jewelweed, among others.
11.5 miles
New Flowers Spotted: Arrow-Leaved Aster

Monday, August 24 - Weather ridiculously cool for time of year - has been down in 50s. Actually have to put on tights and a long-sleeved jersey today - aaugh! Only time for a short ride this morning, but am gone longer than expected due to spotting some wildflowers: Spotted Jewelweed (thought I'd missed it this year!), mysterious plant with many tiny pink or white buds at the tips of profuse, rather needle-like leaves (could it possibly be phlox or Dame's Rocket at the very end of the flower cycle?), slightly feathery white blossom that I realise is Boneset in bloom (leaves clasping stem are a giveaway - glad I've been reading those wildflower pages).
9.6 miles
New Flowers Spotted: Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Lady's-Thumb
Still Blooming: Bouncing Bet (almost gone), QAL, Goldenrod, Thistle, Rudbeckia, Heliopsis, various Wild Sunflowers (Woodland, Giant?), Red Clover, Knapweed, Horsemint (almost gone), Joe-Pye Weed, Purple Loosestrife, Flowering Spurge, Fleabane, Wild Cucumber, Ragweed (achoo).

Friday, August 21 - Feels like forever since I've been on the bike. (Rain and other things have kept me off for nearly a week.) Mr. M and I take an early evening ride. Temps moderately warm, wind pretty strong. I don't mind wind as a riding foe, but since the accident I hate the way it keeps me from hearing traffic coming up behind me. Always a relief to turn out of the wind and into safe hearing again.... Good ride, only one hill, beautiful winding road passing quarry and through wooded stretches.
15.6 miles
No new flowers spotted

Saturday, August 15 - Meant to ride yesterday but got sucked into creating stitch diagrams for magazine article to be published next spring - this became so engrossing I spent the entire day at it. Weather VERY hot and sticky; Mr. M is riding early this morning and we take off together. Air is so thick that photos all look glary. We cross paths with another couple, both their bikes loaded down with panniers front and back. If I were to take a long bike trip I don't think I'd choose August. I hope they don't have far to go as the day is forecast to be brutally hot and humid. Mr. M turns back at a certain point, but I keep going as I want to put a few more miles on. Breathing while climbing is a bit difficult due to allergies and thick air, but still a very enjoyable ride. Lots of goldenrod blooming now. Am just getting well warmed up and comfy in the saddle when the ride is over.
18.6 miles
No new flowers spotted

Tuesday, August 11 - For the first time in weeks I'm able to take a longer, relaxed ride. A gorgeously hot day, blue-skied and sunny. Lots of familiar flowers to be seen, but no new varieties. Get some good photos of birdsfoot trefoil and Sweet Joe-Pye Weed, also find a new barn quilt. Am chased in a friendly though annoying way by two border collies who obviously want to herd me to the side of the road. I outpace them, but one of them chases me for what feels like a mile, his owners yelling fruitlessly from their yard.... Lots of hills today! :)
23.5 miles
No new flowers spotted

Flowers spotted between rides: Walk to the post office one morning, taking the back road. See lots of flowers: knapweed, goldenrod, hoary alyssum, flowering spurge, whorled milkweed (such tiny blossoms), ragweed (dang it), and more. Also a mystery white blossom (possibly snakeroot?), and an unidentified plant with rosy-green buds which I've seen other years but never been able to name. Edited to add: Rosy-green bud plant is Wild Four O'Clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea); mystery white blossoms are White Snakeroot. :)

Friday, August 7 - A cloudy, sticky, lowering day. Thunder in the forecast. Quick ride with one long hill in it. See lots of wild cucumber in bloom, also the first red creeper leaves. Fall's a-comin'! Weather gets darker the closer I get to home; stop for a photo of red creeper and the rain begins to fall. A cyclist rides by (seemingly out of nowhere) and says "Got problems?" "No, I'm fine, thanks," I call to his retreating back. "Get home out of this rain!" he calls and disappears down the road. I'm only a few blocks from home but by the time I get there I'm soaked through. It's okay though. We really need the moisture.
10.3 miles
No new flowers spotted

Tuesday, August 4 - Weather a bit stickier today but still very pleasant. See the first Ironweed (am foolishly proud of myself for remembering the name as I've never spotted it in the wild - the only other time I've seen it is at the park where it was planted on purpose). Fun short ride with lots of steep little climbs.
14.6 miles
New flowers spotted: Ironweed

Monday, August 3 - Ought to have ridden yesterday (actually Mr. M and I did ride over to the park last night and take a walk there - 2 miles on the bike, 1 mile on foot). But I was feeling lazy and catching up on computer stuff most of Sunday, so went out this morning for a quick ride-before-work. Another beautiful, clear-skied, windy day.
9 miles (plus 2 from last night)
No new flowers spotted

Whorled Milkweed
Spotted between rides: Sweet Joe-Pye Weed, Prairie Blazing Star, Nodding Wild Onion (new to me), Whorled Milkweed (new to me)

Saturday, August 1 - Mr. M having turned over a new cycling leaf last week, we've been planning for days to take a ride together this weekend. Weather starts out sunny but quickly clouds over. Goldenrod is breaking out all over (dang it); the county butchers (road crew) have been doing their worst on R road and in addition to hacking down several young trees on the verge, have knocked down a lovely old tree trunk that never did anyone any harm. Mr. M lets me set the pace, which puts me on my mettle. On the homeward ride a very dark cloud begins to loom in the northwest (please, please let it rain - after we get home that is). In the final half-mile a few large drops begin to fall, but unfortunately that's all the rain we get. A good ride; it's really fun to be riding with Mr. M again. No photo today; forgot my camera.
17.5 miles
No new flowers spotted
Still blooming: Catnip, Evening Primrose, Chicory, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Goldenrod, Daylily, Water Hemlock or Wild Caraway (?), Knapweed, Prairie Coneflower, Flowering Spurge, Fleabane, Hoary Alyssum, Mullein, Wild Bergamot, St. John's Wort, Bindweed (Hedge and Field), Bouncing Bet, False Sunflower, Wild Sunflower, Wood Sunflower, QAL, Rudbeckia, Thistle, White Sweet Clover, Yellow Sweet Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Hoary Vetch, Red Clover, White Clover, Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Yellow Hawkweed, Wild Cucumber.

Friday, July 31 - Can it really be the end of July? *sigh* Best ride while the sun shines. A gorgeous day, clear, windy, and hot - the kind of day we dream about all winter. See the first fallen walnut on the road; pass large patches of rather alpine-looking plants with spiky leaves that turn pale at the top and seem to have little blossoms between the top leaves; is this something going to seed or something just blooming? Will try to find out. (Have just done a search and find it looks scarily like some kind of hemp.) Ride ends at lake where wind is whipping water into wavelets; T and I spend several minutes crouched on the rocks taking pictures. It's a lovely shady spot and I'm tempted to linger but am due at work soon, so must tear myself away. Get home to find my cycling short suspenders have been hanging down my backside the whole ride, looking like a thong gone wrong. Ah well! Good ride on a dreamy summer day.
14.7 miles
New flowers spotted: Unidentified (hemp???), American Lotus, Parasol Aster
Still Blooming: See Aug. 1 above.

Double Soapwort
Tuesday, July 28 - Hot, sticky and wonderful. People are complaining about the humidity but when I think of all the chilly rides I took in the early spring I'm grateful to be able to get honestly hot and sweaty. See several tall Blue Vervain, and next to them a white flower that turns out to be Boneset. Wild Cucumber is coming on, and a few more goldenrod have opened. See some gorgeous double, pale pink Bouncing Bet - later search for variety but apparently they're they same as the single white flower (Saponaria officinalis). A satisfying 15-miler before taking on the afternoon's engagements. Stopping for flower photos makes me late and forces me to keep a fast pace on second half of ride, which is good for me. :)
15 miles
New flowers spotted: Blue Vervain, Boneset, Wild Cucumber

Spotted between rides: Canadian Hornwort (Cryptotaenia canadensis), Asiatic Dayflower

Mr. and Mrs. M hit the road together
Saturday, July 25 - Mr. M and I are doing the local MS benefit ride. I plan to do the 40-miler and he has planned to do the 10, but on the morning of he says he's going to try for the 30-mile ride. (!!!!!) Weather is partly cloudy, warm, and sticky; luckily there's a good breeze blowing. We keep an easy pace and stop at all the rest stops for food and chat with other riders. I have a rough time climbing the one stiff little grade on this route - get dizzy before I reach the top (really thought I was in better shape than this, but allergies are horrible right now and my head is all plugged up). Edited to add: later found out that the grade is 9-12%. Now I don't feel so awful. Mr. M is also struggling with allergies and congestion; he blows his nose so often that another rider jokes about it being his "bell". At second-to-last stop we meet a lovely volunteer originally from Wales and have a good discussion about British television, the Tour, and Anthony Hopkins. Then back on the bike, where things get a little harder for Mr. M. At about mile 23 his legs give out. We slow down and take it easy for a bit, then he gets a second wind and we buzz home (luckily it's almost all downhill from there). This is the first time since 1994 (brain tumor) that he has ridden anything over 20 miles; the first time since 2010 (pulmonary embolism) that he has gone farther than 10 or 12 miles. I am so proud of him for persisting all these years: for keeping up his stretching and static exercises when he couldn't ride or even walk more than a block, for taking short walks whenever he was able; for getting back on the bike even when he could only go a mile or two, and for overcoming his fears, his permanent double vision, his chronic fatigue and his lack of balance to keep trying to do the cycling he loves. He spent the rest of the weekend sleeping and eating and sleeping again, and as of this writing (Monday morning) is recovering better than he ever has since 2010 (apart from severe back pain which is unfortunately a constant problem). I hope this will be the start of a new and stronger chapter in his life. Bike MS next year???? :)
33.5 miles
No new flowers spotted

Thursday, July 23 - Overslept and have a dental appointment this morning, so only enough time for a quick sprint. Thick air, heading for a hot day, but still pretty nice. See lots of ground squirrels, also deer, wild turkeys, and sandhill cranes. Wish I had time to ride farther. (Forgot camera so no photos.)
9 miles
No new flowers spotted

Tuesday, July 21 - Busy morning, lots to do before work but manage to get a ride in. Beautiful day, no humidity, wind W by NW, strong and rather cool. Have best intentions to finish ride quickly but am tempted by flowers to make several stops. Summer has turned the corner and is looking a bit tired - here and there a yellow leaf on the  milkweed, grasses drying, corn tasselled out. Swallows beginning to gather on the telephone wires, and blackbirds getting plump on corn. See new flower - tiny pink blossoms on a long stem - turns out to be Desmodium. See also tons of Bouncing Bet and some lovely light-purple Spiderwort with petals open wide. All the flowers have their faces turned towards the morning sun. A good ride and for me, a very quick one despite the photo stops. Last two rides have suddenly jumped up to a new level of speed and strength.
15 miles
New flowers spotted: Desmodium
Still Blooming: Same as Sunday.

Wild Bergamot with Bumblebee
Sunday, July 19 - Windy and warm. First ride in 2 weeks due to vacation and other issues - feels good to get back on the bike. Annoying sinus headache but otherwise a good ride. See all kinds of flowers on B road: White Wild Indigo (very exciting to spot this in the wild as I've only seen it in the prairie restoration project before now); Heal-all (somewhat lighter than the ones I saw blooming in New York); a large swath of Water Hemlock (I think); Evening Primrose; Chicory (finally spotted some on a bike ride!); Wild Bergamot. On other roads, see large patch of Catmint or Catnip, and what I think is Purple Loosestrife but turns out to be Fireweed - another exciting discovery as I've never seen it here before.
18 miles
New flowers spotted: Swamp Milkweed, Goldenrod (nooooo!), Turk's-Cap Lily, Prairie Lily, Water Hemlock, Knapweed, Fireweed, Purple Coneflower, Prairie Coneflower.
Still Blooming: Flowering Spurge, Leafy Spurge, Fleabane, Hoary Alyssum, Mullein, Wild Bergamot, Butter-and-Eggs, St. John's Wort, Bindweed (Hedge and Field), Elder, Bouncing Bet, False Sunflower, Wild Sunflower, Wood Sunflower, QAL, Common Milkweed, Orange Milkweed, Rudbeckia, Daylilies, Thistle, White Sweet Clover, Yellow Sweet Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Black Medick, Hoary Vetch, Curly Dock, red clover, white clover, Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Yellow Hawkweed, White Campion.

Greater Celandine
New flowers spotted between rides (all seen in New York, but they grow in Wisconsin too): Heal-All, Bittersweet Nightshade, Bellflower, Unidentified (yellow blossom, 4-petal, leaves like meadow anemone) - edited to add: this flower now identified as Greater Celandine thanks to an fb friend.

Sunday, July 5 - Hot and sticky - classic July weather. Air is very thick so photos will probably not be that great - also camera is still acting up (today it's the auto/movie button). Luckily there's a good strong south wind (12-17) to keep the air moving. Am planning easterly out-and-back ride to a lake in the next county - haven't been there since 2013. I think it will be just under 40 miles total so am careful to take a snack and fill two bottles with Micawberade (water with potassium, salt, sugar, and lime juice). A few miles out a groundhog runs from right to left practically under my front wheel - glad I didn't hit it! The ride is a more or less straight shot on a road that seems to consist of nothing but rollies (but that's okay). See some amazing wild grasses about halfway out - feathery bristled heads with a prismatic appearance as they turn from green to red. Takes longer than I thought it would to reach the turning point - did I make that many photo stops, or am I just slow? Call Mr. M and let him know my homecoming ETA will be later than suggested. Sit on a gravelly bit of bank and enjoy the wide blue view and the wind on my sticky face while I eat my snack and drink my Micawberade. The ride home is undertaken in a spirit of determination - it's too windy for flower photos, the sun is in my eyes making it hard to see anything - just keep pedalling, head down, and eventually I'll get there. Legs are feeling fine but crotch, shoulders, and hands are sore - do lots of shoulder-shrugs on the way back. Also lots of yawning (am I breathing improperly, or just tired?). See plenty of deer and rabbits in the gloaming. About a mile from home find I have heatrash on left upper thigh - ah well. Reach home with a bit of Micawberade to spare - feels great to shower, then have salad and two Very Large slices of lavishly buttered toast (homemade semolina bread) for supper. Mr. M kindly rubs my shoulders and hands which really helps get the kinks out. On Monday morning I look at a map program to check my mileage and find the ride was just over 46 miles. No wonder it took longer than I expected! Quite a jump up from my last longest ride of the year (which was 30 miles 2 weeks ago). I guess I'll be good for a 40-miler at least in the small MS ride at the end of July.
46.2 miles
New flowers spotted: Mullein, Wild Bergamot, Butter-and-Eggs, Unidentified (tiny white 5-pointed star-shaped flower a bit like a bluet - will look it up later)
Still blooming: Dame's Rocket (very scanty), Hoary Alyssum, St. John's Wort, Bindweed (Hedge and Field), Elder, Bouncing Bet, False Sunflower, Wild Sunflower, Wood Sunflower, Dog-Fennel, St. John's Wort, QAL, Milkweed, Rudbeckia, Daylilies, Thistle, White Sweet Clover, Yellow Sweet Clover, Crown Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Black Medick, Hoary Vetch (previously misidentified as Cow Vetch), Hoary Puccoon, Cow Parsnip, dock, red clover, white clover, Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, White Yarrow, Yellow Hawkweed, White Campion.

Saturday, July 4 - An afternoon ride, cloudy and sticky and grey. Heading to a barbecue this evening so have to burn off a few calories first. Forget to bring my camera and find it's very liberating (no need to stop for photos!), but also very frustrating (aack! see new flowers and can't get photos!). :)
13.1 miles
New flowers spotted: Smaller bindweed (pink-and-white striped), Unidentified (largish pale yellow flower, 6" stalk, shaped like anemone or partly-closed poppy blossom - turns out to be Evening Primrose), Dog-fennel (Anthemis cotula), Purple Loosestrife.

New flowers spotted between rides: Chicory (at last!)

Tuesday, June 30 - Feeling patriotic in new red-white-blue "Wisconsin" jersey. See lovely barn with patriotic bunting on gate flanked by tubs of red geranium. Camera acts up a bit - power button reluctant to work. Beautiful evening ride.
10.4 miles
No new flowers spotted

Monday, June 29 - Morning ride before work. Am writing this a week later and can't remember details other than dark grey sky and clouds of lavender thistle. :)
11 miles
New flowers spotted: Rabbit-foot Clover

Sunday, June 28 - Ought to have ridden today, but didn't. No excuse. Took an evening walk to the prairie restoration project which turned out to be a rich source of wildflowers for the list (see below), although some of them took a bit of work to identify. Cloudy and impressively moody skies.
New flowers spotted: Yellow Alfalfa, Wild White Indigo, Pale Purple Coneflower (Echniacea pallida), Orange Milkweed, Queen Anne's Lace (first of the year!), Catmint (or Catnip)

Saturday, June 27 - Gorgeous day. Quick ride down to lake and back, with hilly side roads. See tons of Hoary Puccoon today - how is it I've never noticed this flower until this year? Seems to be all over the place, and such a cheery golden yellow. Lots of boats on the lake - summer is here!
10.4 miles
New flowers spotted: Hedge Bindweed, St. John's Wort

Friday, June 26 - Work schedule all messed up this week (and will be for another month or so). Ought to have ridden earlier in the week but didn't, so squeeze in a short sprint before today's shift. Beautifully warm and sunny. Good pace (for me). Am beginning to enjoy these quick 40-minute rides. More bang for the exercise buck than walking a couple of miles.
9.0 miles
New flowers spotted: Milkweed, Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)

Tallulah at the Wisconsin River
Sunday, June 21 - Take off for a leisurely ride to the river. Hot, slightly humid, but it feels wonderful. Keep telling myself that this is the weather we wait for all winter long. Relaxed but steady pace. See the first thistles - they seem to have popped up out of nowhere. Take some new side roads today - there are some nice little climbs over by the river. Stop for a break at little park just above HR; lean Iris against a ginormous aspen while Tallulah and I go down to the river's edge for photos. Sun on the water, birds singing, friendly robin hopping around. We sit on the grass under the aspen while I eat my banana, then back on the bike for the ride home. Air still smells sweet - possibly from catalpa or elder? Both are blooming right now. A wonderful ride, though shoulders are sore by the end of it.
30.0 miles
New flowers spotted: Thistle, Motherwort, Daylily, Elder, Unidentified (yellow flower, similar to mullein flower stalk but very close to the ground, blooming from the bottom up - possibly Butter and Eggs???), Heliopsis, White Sweet Clover.

Friday, June 19 - Quick out-and-back before work. Was hoping to see some chicory but no luck - where is it this year? See an entire field of hawkweed though - very cheerful and sunshiny-looking.
8.8 miles
No new flowers spotted.

New flowers spotted between rides: Crown Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil (very tall this year!), Stringy Stonecrop, Unidentified (tiny green-white blossom, creeping, matlike, looks like greenish-greyish dry moss from a distance). 

Sunday, June 14 - After several days of rain and general gloom the sun has finally broken through. Take a nice easy ride starting north and west, turning down whatever roads I want to follow, ending up north and east of home. Beautiful skies, wind west about 5 mph, temp just over 80. It's wonderful to feel warm on the bike - spring has been so up-and-down weatherwise. See lots of rabbits today, wild duck, a turtle crossing the road, and startle several deer out of various ditches. Flowers not so numerous in this direction, but I do notice that White Yarrow is extremely profuse this year, and the Daisy Fleabane are pinker than usual. See some yellow flowers - small cluster of tiny flowers atop long stem - think they're new, but not sure - they may just be the last of the Winter Cress. Great ride - finish strongly and feeling like I could go another hour or two.
27 miles
New flowers spotted: Wild Alfalfa.
Still blooming - same as Tuesday.

Northern Bedstraw
Tuesday, June 9 - Sunny and beautiful. Short ride with a bit of climbing. Finally spot some Wild Columbine - seems very thin this year (except in our yard at home where it bloomed beautifully). See some Meadow Rue about to blossom; find also tiny white flower, growing in spikes with leaves shaped like rosemary (possibly Labrador Tea?), also first Orange Hawkweed of the year. See patch of red-headed (don't know how else to describe it) wild grass - seed heads long and dangling like oats, only finer - very beautiful. When I get home look up the tiny white flower and find it's Northern Bedstraw (not Labrador Tea).
13.3 miles
New flowers spotted: Meadow Rue (Early or Tall - not sure which), Orange Hawkweed, Northern Bedstraw.
Still Blooming: Wild Columbine, Sweet Yellow Clover, Pineapple Weed, Common Chickweed, Cinquefoil, Hawthorn, Black Medick, Cow Vetch, Hoary Puccoon, Wild Rose, Giant Cow Parsnip, Honey locust (trees), dock, red clover, white clover, Hoary Alyssum, Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Spiderwort, Swamp Buttercup, White Yarrow, Dame's Rocket (getting sparse), Golden Alexanders, Yellow Hawkweed, Canada Anemone, Wild Geranium, White Campion, Dogwood.

Sunday, June 7 - Rainy morning and forecast for more so stayed in until very late afternoon when weather cleared for about 2 hours. Decided to do very local out-and-back ride (B road) but include all the little dead-end side roads, which turned out to be very pretty and longer than anticipated. Saw lots of new wildflowers (see list below). At turning point glorious clouds were sweeping in over the lake with sunbeams breaking through. By end of ride weather had clouded over again - glad I caught the sunny interim.
14.9 miles
New flowers spotted: Sweet Yellow Clover, Pineapple Weed, Common Chickweed (new to me), Cinquefoil (new to me), Hawthorn (new to me), Black Medick (new to me), patch of daisies in the middle of nowhere - probably not true wildflowers but very cheery.
Still blooming: Cow Vetch, Hoary Puccoon, Wild Rose, Giant Cow Parsnip, Honey locust (trees), dock, red clover, white clover, Hoary Alyssum (previously misidentified as Mouse-Ear Chickweed), Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Spiderwort, Swamp Buttercup, White Yarrow, Dame's Rocket, Golden Alexanders, Yellow Hawkweed, Canada Anemone, Wild Geranium, White Campion, Dogwood.

Hoary Puccoon
Friday, June 5 - Cloudy, cold east wind about 10 mph. A quick circuit squeezed in between day's work and dinner date with fam.  Low-flying turkey sailed right across my path on S. road. Meant to make this ride a time trial but saw a  new flower and had to stop for photos (of course). Flower turns out to be Hoary Puccoon - bright schoolbus-yellow in colour and very pretty despite the dreadful name. Other than the flower stop kept a very good pace (for me) and finished strong. Definitely time to up the mileage if only weather and schedule (and mood) will allow.
14.3 miles
New flowers spotted: Cow Vetch, Hoary Puccoon (new to me)
Still blooming: Wild Rose, Giant Cow Parsnip, Honey locust (trees), dock, red clover, Mouse-Ear Chickweed (or possibly Stitchwort), Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Spiderwort, Swamp Buttercup, White Yarrow, Dame's Rocket, Golden Alexanders, Winter Cress (almost gone), Yellow Hawkweed, Canada Anemone, Wild Geranium, White Campion, Dogwood.

Honey locust in bloom
Tuesday, June 2 - Waited for UPS truck to bring new shorts from Sierra Trading Post, then hit the road for a leisurely 2-hour ride with lots of climbs. Have decided (starting today) that I need to relax and enjoy my rides this season rather than pressure myself to achieve mileage or speed. Beautiful day, low 70s, wind E when I started but swung round to SW before I was halfway done. Saw deer, groundhog, leatherback turtle, as well as usual birdlife. Find that honey locust blooms are much more profuse about 10 mi east of here; got some nice shots and enjoyed riding through several blossomy avenues. Yellow Hawkweed becoming very thick. Passed really impressive stretch of Giant Hogweed in all stages of bloom - plants right up to the road - was careful not to touch while photographing them. Saw the first wild roses on WP. Rode some new roads today - partly nice and partly not - V road in desperate need of repaving, and H road would be awesome if not for the ridiculous amount of gravel on the steep downhill curves. Passed empty old schoolhouse, wondered what it would be like to see the silhouettes of the bygone children in the windows as I rode by - mildly creepy thought! (No silhouettes appeared, bygone or otherwise.)
23.6 miles
New flowers spotted: Wild Rose, Giant Hogweed, unidentified shrub with 5-petal white blossom (possibly hawthorn?). Edited: plant I saw was Giant Cow Parsnip, not Giant Hogweed.
Still blooming: Honey locust (trees), dock, red clover, Mouse-Ear Chickweed (or possibly Stitchwort), Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Spiderwort, Swamp Buttercup, White Yarrow, Dame's Rocket, Golden Alexanders, Winter Cress (almost gone), Yellow Hawkweed, Canada Anemone, Wild Geranium, White Campion, Honeysuckle, Dogwood.

Here, piggy piggy piggy
Monday, June 1 - Spent the weekend gardening instead of riding, so had to get out this morning for a quick one. Meant to ride about 20 but there were too many new wildflowers out and since I just happened to have my camera with me.... Sunny and 50-ish, icy east wind. It's got to warm up eventually. Beautiful morning though and lovely to be out hearing the birdsong (especially as the hormones are positively raging this morning - perimenopause SUCKS - better for me to work off that negative energy on the bike rather than sit at home feeling like I might explode). Piggies at P's house very curious - crossed the pasture at a run and came almost up to fence to take a look at me - stood there and grunted while I took some photos. Honey locust has bloomed and is almost done; kind of thin this year. Wild geraniums very tall this year, also paler than the last two seasons; could rainfall amount have something to do with it?
16 miles
New flowers spotted: Honey locust (trees), dock, red clover, Mouse-Ear Chickweed (or possibly Stitchwort), Salsify, Wild Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Spiderwort, Buttercup (Swamp or Meadow? Swamp I think), White Yarrow.
Still blooming: Dame's Rocket, Golden Alexanders, Winter Cress (almost gone), Yellow Hawkweed, Canada Anemone, Wild Geranium, White Campion, Honeysuckle.

Wish this little barn were mine....
Monday, May 25 - Rainclouds break to a beautifully clear evening, so after supper it's onto the bike. Take hilly road by lake and throw in an extra short climb for the fun of it. Pass campground - one site has hilarious collection of plastic flamingos in a pen. Hope for a train on G road but no luck - they don't seem to be running today. A family of geese crosses the road right in front of me by Ps's house; great photo op. Feel very strong this evening and would like to ride another 5-10 miles but the sun is about to set. Maybe next weekend time and weather will allow for a longer ride.

18.4 miles
New flowers spotted: Yellow Flag Iris? Seen from a distance so not sure.

Monday, May 25 - Memorial Day walk (not ride). Rainy with thunderstorms forecast. Take advantage of a break in the drizzle to walk over to prairie restoration project. Of course I don't take my camera, and of course I see lots of wildflowers I would've liked to photograph. Let this be a lesson to me - always take the camera!
New flowers spotted: White Campion, Hawkweed, Yellow (common) Wood Sorrel, Balsam Groundsel, Wild Lupine (absolutely gorgeous, with fascinating palmate leaves - very tropical-looking).

Wild Asparagus!
Saturday May 23 - Beautifully sunny and very windy. Finger much better - whew! Thank God for antibiotics. Can use both brake levers today. Lots of rain and thunder forecast (typical Memorial weekend weather), so must ride while the sun shines. Red-twig dogwood just in flower. Stop to take photos of alternate-leaf dogwood (beautiful big round clumps of tiny white bloom), look down and see a lovely large spear of wild asparagus just at my feet. Cast around and find a few more, then have to stop hunting and ride away as the bugs are beginning to bite. What a nice bonus to the ride (and the asparagus tastes wonderful the next morning in an omelette.
15.7 miles
New flowers spotted: Red-twig Dogwood, Alternate-leaf Dogwood

Tuesday May 19 - short ride worked in around other commitments. Have very painful finger infection which makes it impossible to squeeze the right brake lever - am hoping no sudden braking will be needed. Ride is uneventful. :)
10.0 miles.
No new flowers spotted.

Dame's Rocket
Sunday, May 17 - Thunderstorms forecast. Waited all morning for them to arrive, but nothing happened. Took a long nap in the afternoon and woke up to warm humid weather and sunshine. Yay! Wind south 10-20, gusting to 30 - like riding into a wall. On the way out find new (to me) lavender flower (Blue-eyed grass) just a few hundred yards from yesterday's Greek-valerian. Also see new flowering shrub with laurel-like leaves (autumn olive or spreading oleaster - apparently very invasive), and some unknown flowering trees. See some sweet Jersey (?) cattle on B road. Wind very strong on high prairie, shrieking and whistling most unpleasantly. While descending the grade on R road and saying a prayer that I won't hit any deer, one suddenly jumps across the road in front of me. It turns into a neighbouring field and runs alongside for a few hundred yards, quickly outpacing me. Then it disappears. I hope it's not about to dash across the road again as I am still descending quite fast. I look through the bushes to my right and there it is, framed in an opening at the edge of the road, watching me fly by.
24.1 miles.
New flowers spotted: Blue-eyed grass, Golden Alexanders, autumn olive, first sunflower-type of the season (awfully early - did not stop to photograph in the hopes that if I ignore it the summer won't come and go so quickly - same strategy I pursue with goldenrod every year though must admit has not been successful to date).

A Favourite Tree
Saturday, May 16 - An oddly warm day but very welcome after some near-freezing temps earlier in the week. Wind strong, southeast 18-30, plus scattered showers that sprinkle me a few times on the ride. Honeysuckle very thick now - see several varieties. Lilac still abundant but beginning to rust. Find what looks very like wild strawberry in ditch down the road from B&B. At willowy curve see two pair of Canada geese with offspring - one pair has 7 or 8 (!) goslings and the other has 6. As soon as I stop for a photo they waddle into the water and sail off. See Marsh Marigold just around the corner - first time in this spot. On P road find what look like wild forget-me-nots - rather exciting as I've never seen them before (later research reveals them to be Greek-valerian or Spreading Jacob's-Ladder). While photographing them a cyclist rides up and asks me for directions. She's finishing up a 90-mile ride and has gotten lost. She turns and rides back to town with me - so nice to have someone to ride with for a change, especially someone my age and about my speed (though way ahead of me on mileage). We part at the corner with mutual good wishes.
15.8 miles
Flowers spotted: Wild honeysuckle, Dame's Rocket, winter cress, garlic mustard, lilac, wild violets, Marsh Marigold, Greek Valerian, wild geranium, leafy spurge, euphorbia (I think), wild strawberry, Canada anemone, dandelion.

New season....
Mid-May - I've been putting off starting this diary, because my cycling season has been practically nonexistent. A minor health problem has kept me more off the bike than on - only 4 rides in March and 2 in April (!), but things seem to be stabilizing. Here's to a safer and better season than last year's.
Miles to date: 142.6.
Some flowers spotted to date: Wild apple blossom, plum blossom, Marsh Marigold, wild violets, Allegheny serviceberry.

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