Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tree Fruit

I have several persimmon trees. Because they are still young we sometimes get great fruit in the late fall yet sometimes the cold weather comes too early, sometimes the crows and raccoons discover our harvest before us.   But the colors this year are more than enough reward.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Feather Heads

This common reed plant (Phragmites) has some varieties that are native to the USA. Back in the 1800's it is believed that the phragmites from Europe came through ballasts in the boats and invaded the United States pushing out the native reed grasses.  Recently this is being questioned.  Peat bog research indicates that it has been here for over 3,000 years.  The non-native version is much more invasive and has squeezed out all types of native plants along coastlines in the mid-Atlantic but the reason for that is still disputed.  While the photo above makes you think it has lots of seeds, it spreads mostly underground by rhizomes. A recent study has found 27 lineages/strains of this plant exist with only 11 being native to North America.  With the rise of water against shorelines, it will interesting to see how rapidly this reed adapts or dies.  Only an expert can tell the different varieties by observation.  When putting up our wood duck boxes we found we had to move a number further out into the marsh since the phragmites had taken over the space providing a tool for predators such as snakes to climb up into the boxes.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Looking Down

A week or so ago I took a walk around a cluster of lakes west of where I live.  The wooded paths were more than inviting.  We have had a perfect fall that kept cool weather plants spring green while changing all other plants to a rainbow of warm colors.

But while most of us look up at the rich leaves dancing against a blue sky, I decided to spend some time looking down.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Neutral in the Light

Mousy gray, velvet fog is
moving stealthily between 
half-dressed tree branches 
quietly bumping a leaf or two 
starting a yellow spinning fall. 

Then it drapes the webs 
of small spiders in diamonds and pearls 
revealing their secret locations 
against the smokey air 
in its frozen movement.

It hides the blue heron across the river 
until he sees my advance 
and like his pterodactyl ancestor 
breaks a perfect silence by screeching harshly
in his departure into the grayness 
disappearing like an angry ghost 
over the distant river.

Hidden even closer
breaking the surface of mirrored water
at my side
a Canada loon cantillates a nostalgic song 
as if missing his summer already
and eyeing me to see if I understand.

The Earth is sighing
after the brash energetic show 
she put on all week for the masses.
Then throwing a silky covering 
across her shoulders 
like a Prima Donna
she begins to remove the last of her make-up
just as the final curtain comes down.

Sunday, November 01, 2015


I have a sugar maple tree.  Boy do I have a sugar maple tree! 
When first planted it was just my height, now it is thrice my size 
and I am probably a bit shorter, and still it is young.
It grows with madness creating huge palm shaped fans of green 
that flicker and fly and make deep green shade
in the summer
sheltering insects and birds and me. 
It is a snow bird in my warmer climate
but seems to accept the longer season.

When autumn comes for her audacious visit,
my maple becomes insane in reds, peaches,
oranges and limes 
flaunting color back at the sun 
bold and bodacious in its shades of glory

expending the last of its energy before casting everything to the ground,
in the grand finale then taking a long winter's nap.