Over the years, this book by Aldo Leopold has been recommended by many as a good read. I was born and raised only 30 miles from his hometown. My farm life and closeness to nature were strong influences on how I saw the world. A month ago while browsing a used bookstore, I found this copy of his book and decided it was time to read it. I am so glad I did. Leopold’s reflections on the natural world and our place in it fit squarely with mine. If you have not yet read the book, I encourage you to do so.
Tag Archives: Wildflowers
Utah | 9 Oct 2021
by Jim and Melanie
For our fourth day in the Moab UT area, we decided to hike in nearby Grandstaff Canyon instead of in the national parks. This canyon has an interesting history. Here are typical views of the left and right canyon walls. We met a lot of hikers, many of them with children and dogs.Continue reading
Fall Colors 2021
F.W. Kent Park is a great place to visit. On any day, it offers a variety of nature’s wonders. Today, was bright and sunny. The naturalists were demonstrating bird banding. Lots of families brought small children. The kids enjoyed watching as a Downy Woodpecker was banded.
We then set out for a hike along a few trails. The wildflowers were gorgeous. Enjoy. Click any pictures for larger views.Continue reading
Hiking With 1000 White Pelicans
We set out early from Solon IA on the North Shore Trail along Lake MacBride. We walked about 2 miles along the 5 mile trail before returning to our car. There were many yellow wildflower varieties in bloom as well as Canadian Thistle. Some trees were damaged by the August 10 derecho that roared through this part of Iowa. But the trail had been cleared of debris. An enormous pile of tree limbs and trunks was piled in the parking lot that had been removed from town. It is slowly being reduced to mulch.
Here are a few sights along the way. Click to enlarge.
Morning Walk | Yellow Wildflowers
It was a beautiful morning for a walk with temperature in the low 60s and clear sky. The waning moon was visible above the western horizon. It was heading east for the grand solar eclipse on 21 August.
We set out from this location in Solon, Iowa. We walked about two miles west and then headed back. Lake Macbride trail heads west from the parking lot. It is mostly flat as it passes several wooded areas and native prairie restorations. Numerous wildflowers were showy in the prairies. Especially colorful were the yellow ones.
We captured photos of as many different ones as we could find. There might be some duplicates. We made no attempt to ID them. Fellow blogger Eliza Waters offered some IDs which are in the photo descriptions. See her comment below. All photos can be viewed larger for details.
Mother’s Day Hike | Ryerson’s Woods
by Melanie and Jim
After our early morning breakfast, we drove across town to Ryerson’s Woods. It was acquired by Iowa City in 1985. The park has about 50 acres and includes less than a mile of trails. Last time we visited was in mosquito season. We got a short distance into the trees and ran back to the car with several bites each. This time there were no mosquitoes.
We met two men and their dogs who were on the way out. The men were chatty. One dog reminded us of the Good Dog, Carl. The children’s book series about Carl is wonderful. We saw only two other people from afar.
There is a bit of up and down in the park, but the trail is well maintained with mulch under foot. Clean-up of fallen trees needs to be done in a few places, but the path was only blocked in one spot, and we climbed over easily.
As the park name implies, it is a wooded site. The ground vegetation struggles in many places to capture sunlight. Even so, it is lush and dense with green, as well as with wildflowers.
We saw a lot of Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum plants in many different sizes. Most were about a foot tall. There were a few two feet tall and shaded a red color.
Easter Hike | Argyle Lake State Park
by Jim and Melanie
Our family gathered for a potluck dinner on Easter at a country church in Illinois. On Saturday, we drove down to the area from our home in Iowa. It took a little more than two hours. In the area is a state park called Argyle Lake. It had been many years since either of us visited the park. We decided to spend part of the nice day hiking. We chose a trailhead near the dam.
The 1700 acre park, with a 93 acre lake, was established in 1948 by the state of Illinois. The site was formerly known as Argyle Hollow. It served as a stage coach stop on the line between Galena and Beardstown, IL. The hollow was also home to many drift coal mines dug into the hillsides. The park today suffers from neglect by the state. Their lack of funds is obvious. The trails we hiked really needed attention. Tick spray with DEET was a necessary precaution, given the brush impeding on the trail.
One trail bordered the lake. We encountered this pair of Canada Geese sitting on a branch.
Such a Beautiful Day
by Melanie and Jim
The weather changes a lot in Iowa. It is one of the features of our state we like. Now and then, we enjoy some of the most splendid and beautiful days. It was like that recently with absolutely clear skies, very light breeze, and 72˚F. We changed clothes and drove a few miles to a favorite place, FW Kent County Park. We hiked around the central lake and then around a smaller pond in the northeast corner. Total distance was about 2 miles. Not far. But, it was a beautiful day. Not much needs to be said. The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!
Tiny Flowers | Tatarian Honeysuckle
This is the last of the Tiny Flowers posts. Check the recent posts at the right for links to the earlier ones. The term ‘flowers’ is actually not correct this time. What I found in hunting for 1/4″ flowers was a berry of that size. It deserved to be in the spotlight with its translucent orange skin.
Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) is a shrub found in most of Canada and the U.S. except for the south eastern states. It is not native according to the USDA. The plant is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into North America as an ornamental in 1752. It is classified as noxious and invasive in several regions.
My two photos were taken from about 2″ away using the super-macro setting with no flash.
Tiny Flowers | Japanese Meadowsweet
In front of our house we have some shrubs. One type is spirea. Some species of spirea have pure white flowers. The one in front of our house has pink flowers. It is known as Japanese Meadowsweet (Spiraea japonica). The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture shows it distributed in the eastern third of the country and part of Canada. It is not native here. It is native to Japan, China, and Korea. Many nurseries offer it as a yard shrub.
We like the bunches of pink it presents in the late spring and early summer. Closer inspection shows a mass of individual small 1/4″ flowers.
This picture reminds me that it is getting to be time to trim the shrubs before they get too big.