Here it is summer and I’ve been sampling a little of it all, so I don’t have a concise post to write. Here is some of my stream of life.
Four-year-old Henry spent the night with George and me. It was his first night away from home alone and he was absolutely blissful to be an only child. He saw the truck and equipment quilt on a bed and declared “That’s my bed!” We visited my childhood by reading two of my favorite picture books. I think Carol gave me I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. As a child I had ambiguous feelings about the book because while I knew that a perfect world didn’t exist, wasn’t a book just the place to explore one? Professor Wormbog in the Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo has always delighted me with its detailed drawings. Professor Wormbog leaving Island Joe’s Rentals is one of my favorite illustrations. Henry and I listened to Bob and Louise De Cormier perform Woody Guthrie’s Children’s Songs on the way to Henry’s house. Take You Riding in my Car-Car is one of my favorites.
We also picked peas in the garden.
Me: [Offering Henry peas in the pod]
Henry: I will stick my gum on my shirt to keep it clean.
Henry: Do them [these] need to be fried?
Me: No, you can eat them as they are.
Henry: I don’t like them. But they got rid of the cookie-ness in my mouth. [Not sounding displeased, just interested.]
Henry shares my enthusiasm for plants. He points out mullien (even as a wilted leaf on the road). He jumps off his bicycle to point out asparagus in the ditch (too big to eat, he correctly declares). While zooming by on his bicycle he says “I see strawberries!” and then corrects himself that he doesn’t (it was Virginia Creeper). That boy is learning the best stuff!
Henry: [Arriving in the living room using my electric toothbrush.] I didn’t brush my teeth yet so I thought I should.
Me: Okay. [The horse was already out of the barn.]
Henry: Where is your toothbrush?
Me: [Indicating the brush in his mouth] That’s it.
Henry: I thought it was George’s.
Each of Jack and Jenny’s boys has had a night alone with us now. It is busy enough when they are here that I haven’t gotten any photos of them yet. Robbie, Charlie, and Henry are such great kids that I hope that they can come again soon!
Invasive St. Johnswort has shown up on our farm within the last few years. We have been pulling it by hand, but it has expanded its range. It is also more prominent in ditches and roadsides. We also have the native, non-invasive St. Johnswort in our wet meadow.
George has been crazy busy cutting and dabbing invasive buckthorn.
In the garden, eggplant and tomatoes are growing.
Carol gave us thimbleberry to plant and it is doing well in our yard and woods.
Mom and Larry shared raspberries with us. Just like puppies, they look very appealing to me when they are small!
The yucca in our prairie is crazy pretty.
Prairie plants with yellow blossoms fall into the yellow flowers category for me. If you can ID them, let me know!
The wild quinine looks happy.
The toad was not interested in being photographed and kept hopping away.
We have spiderwort in our prairie and flowerbeds. This one is in the flowerbed.
Monarda is a nectar species for the Karner blue butterfly.
Milkweed is competing for space among our tomatoes.
Luckily I can pull it out since there is much of it in our prairie.
Deer eat the seed pods from our cream wild indigo every year.
The compass plant in the prairie hasn’t grown upward in the prairie for the last ten years because of deer browsing. It is crazy big in the composted flower bed though! Here it is blooming above George’s head. The redbud next to it is happy too.
We saw several small frogs (wood frogs, from what I could see before they hopped away). There is a nice grove of hemlock, but the area is so heavily browsed by deer that there is no understory in much of the woods. We will be back to visit after the frost when the leaves are pretty and mosquitoes dead.
Spring has been unusually hot and dry here, starting from way back in March. I’m not one of those crazy gardeners that water the plants regardless of the weather, but I’ve been watering the garden and it’s not even Memorial Day yet. This weekend was hot and windy…this iris bloomed today only to become part of the frazzled landscape before the day was done. Not exactly great weather for transplanting, but when you meet an unsuspecting someone looking for hosta and rhubarb plants and your own plants are overgrowing their allotment, it is time to dig plants! I was very excited to make some room for a couple of roses that don’t exactly thrive when the nearby plants are always looking for ways to encroach on them. I dug violas, tulips, and garlic around the roses. Would you believe that I have a hard time even composting the excess violas? My mind must be frazzled.
The rose didn’t look so great when it was unearthed.
There is another type of rose in the same garden. It self seeds everywhere! The unsuspecting plant lady got one of them, and these violas lost the support that it provided.
I love garlic, but I may finally have too much of it! I couldn’t throw out the excess dug out from the frazzled rose bush, but I wasn’t motivated to transplant it either. It got thrown in a plastic bag with wet rags so that George can save it if he wants.
This Swiss chard that survived from last year is growing well, but looks frazzled because it wants to bolt in this hot weather. I declare the whole darn place frazzled.
Springtime brings the good, bad, and ugly. The good news about prickly ash is that it’s native. The bad news is that it is prickly and invasive.
Fortunately we have more good plants than bad ones. Here’s a white lilac in our garden.
The garlic planted last fall looks healthy.
There was a lot in bloom in Grandpa Neil and Grandma Siggie’s woods on April 21.
The honeysuckle leaves are pretty, and they come out early. Unfortunately, they are very invasive in Wisconsin and are difficult to remove.
It occurs to me now that I don’t know what the quality of the apples on this tree at the edge of the woods is. It’s likely that it is a wild tree since I don’t ever remember harvesting them.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Springtime in our prairie… it’s always fun to see how much good stuff has spread. Look at the pollen on this bee!
A friend gave us wild lupine seeds several years ago and it is spreading well. It’s neat to see the variation in the plants. This one has darker colored leaves with hairy edges.
Happy spring! May summer not come too quickly.