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Monday, July 24, 2017

FIREWEED IS BLOOMING


FIREWEED ALONG TOWNSEND ROAD...
FIREWEED COTTONY SEEDS

...FIREWEED FLOWER SPIKE


Monday, 8:00 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 57 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 100%.  The barometer is falling, predicting a chance of thunderstorms tomorrow and Wednesday.  The high today will be in the low 70's, rising to the mid-70's for the remainder of the week, with mostly clear skies,  Looks like nice weather ahead.
   I took Buddy for a run on the beach yesterday evening.  We hadn't gone to the beach for several weeks because there were always too many people.  Buddy overdid it and is limping around and feeling sorry for himself.
   Juneberries at the beach were ripe.  When blue-black they are as sweet as raisins.
JUNEBERRIES: SWEET AS RAISINS WHEN FULLY RIPE

   Fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium, in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae) is a circumboreal  perennial plant that typically occupies disturbed habitats, such as occur due to a fire, hence its common name. Chamerium angustifolium is a botanical synonym.  It is also called willow-herb (because of its long, narrow, willow-like leaves) as well as wicup.  It is often seen in large masses in fields and roadsides after a fire and can be very prominent in the landscape.  It is quite beautiful and blooms for a long time, the lower flowers on the flower spike blooming first, the ripe seed pods being as colorful as the flowers. The fluffy, cottony seeds are also very attractive.   It is native to most of the northern half of North America, and at elevation in the western mountains.
  All parts of the young plant and roots are reportedly edible, sweet and quite good, eaten raw as a salad, or cooked.  It has many reported medicinal properties, including for the treatment of urinary tract problems, and the leaves have been used as a restorative tea.  I have no personal experience with it as an edible or medicinal plant. Once again, never ingest any wild plant without definite identification and exact knowledge of edibility or medicinal use. 
   The stem fibers are quite tough and were used by native peoples to make cordage and fish nets.
   Altogether it is a very beautiful and traditionally useful wild plant. I have never seen it used as a garden plant, and it probably would be difficult to do so, although I have used it in a natural setting as a pioneer plant, which other plants replace in time.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

BEARS AND CATTAILS

A GOOD HAY CROP

CATTAILS ALONG COMPTON ROAD
BEAR  GOING DOWNTOWN FOR ICE CREAM

Sunday, 8:45 AM.  57 degrees F at both the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind variable and mostly calm, with occasional light gusts.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 99%.  The barometer is rising, now at 29.84".  The high today will be around 60, warming into the mid-seventies thereafter.  Chance of thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday, and mixed skies for the rest of the week.  It is a very quiet morning.
   Yesterday around mid-day a cop car sat outside the house with whistle blowing, and I immediately looked for a bear but saw none.  I found out from neighbors this morning that the cops were indeed chasing a bear out of downtown, where they cause considerable havoc among the tourists buying ice cream at The Candy Shop.  It evidently ran through the yard but I missed it.
   Another neighbor had a bear cub in her garage going after garbage after she forgot to close the garage door.  That reminds me to keep the garage door closed, as they have been known to open a freezer to steal the contents.  Buddy was barking and growling and patrolling around the house about 3:00 this morning so we probably have a bear on the prowl again.
   Cattails are in bloom. The flowers are similar to those of the grasses, and have no colorful floral parts. They are rather unusual, the male parts being produced above the female, on the same flowering stalk. This is quite evident, particularly before the “cat tail” sets seed.
    Cattails are in the genus Typha, and are quite primitive plants, just a step above the Gymnosperms, or conifers. They are monocots, like grasses, sedges and lilies. T. latifolia (wide leaved) and T. angustifolia (narrow leaved) are both native, that pictured probably being the latter. They may grow together, and often hybridize. There are perhaps ten species of cattails, growing throughout much of the world. These are along Compton Road.
   When we were kids we used to smoke the ripe cattails, which burn like punk and produce a heavy white smoke.  The seed stalk is hollow and when sucked on, the burning cattails smolder brightly, like a cigar.  My mother would have given me a good licking had she found out.
   The first hay crop is in, and with all the wet weather it looks like a good crop.  There should be a good second crop as well.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

SUMMERTIME...

A TERRIFIC SUMMER FOR ROSES

LOCAL RASPBERRIES AND CHERRIES
Saturday, 9:00 AM,  63 degrees F at the ferry dock, 61 on the back porch. Wind variable with occasional light gusts.  The sky is mostly cloudy with some sun, the humidity 96% after a rain squall last night.  High temperatures today and tomorrow in the mid-60's, warming to mid-70's, with mostly clear skies next week.
   As summer progresses, it's one local fruit crop after another, beginning with strawberries, then cherries, then raspberries, blueberries and finally apples and pears,  Strawberries are over for the most part now, and the second crop of cherries, the Lapins, are in, along with the raspberries.
   The raspberry crop is large and very good, and the Lapins are excellent, better than the earlier Cavaliers, which suffered from poor pollination.
   Shrub roses are more floriferous than I have ever seen them here, the 'Knockout' roses pictured being especially so.  Bayfield is too far north for the Japanese beetle, so they bloom unscathed.
Summertime
Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'
So hush, little baby, don't you cry
One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing
And you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But till that morning, there ain't nothin' can harm you
With daddy and mammy standin' by
songwriters Du Bose Heywood/George and Ira Gershwin

Friday, July 21, 2017

WATERLILY AND SPATTERDOCK ARE BLOOMING


WHITE WATER LILY
.
                               

YELLOW WATER LILY:MORE PROPERLY, SPATTERDOCK...

...IN A BACKWATER OF THE SIOUX RIVER

WATER CHINQUAPIN  Green Dean photo
LOW LYING FOG AT DUSK ON OLD HWY. K


Friday, 8:15 AM.  68 degrees F at the ferry dock, 66 on the back porch.  Wind variable, with very light gusts.  The sky is overcast, but looks like it will clear, the humidity is 78%.  The barometer is starting to fall, now at 20.87".  High temperatures will be in the mid-70's today, then fall to the mid-60's tomorrow, and remain around 70 for the coming week.  There will be chances of a thunderstorm tomorrow, and mixed skies thereafter.
  We took a ride at dusk last night, and the fields and low spots were filled with  fog, some of which looked for all the world like snow. Quite beautiful.
  In other "backyard news,' the Juneberries are finally ripe and the birds are having a feast. 
  Yellow pondlily, AKA spatterdock, Nuphar advena,   synonym lutea, in the Waterlily Family (Nymphaceae) is blooming in backwaters of the Sioux River and other quiet waters.  
   Our native water lilies, Nymphaea odorata, which have also begun to bloom, have mostly white petals, and the flowers float flat on the water ( N. alba is an occasional escapee from cultivation and may have roseate petals).  As the species name indicates, the native waterlilies are very fragrant.   The yellow Nuphar flowers are cup shaped and rise above the water on a long stem; the leaves also float.  Both species are in the water lily family. 
    There is a third species of waterlily-like aquatic plant, native to southern wisconsin, Nelumbo lutea, the water chinquapin, or wonkapin.  It's pale yellow flowers are also held above the water on a tall stem, and are otherwise very similar in appearance to those of Nuphar advena.  It appears in southern Wisconsin along the southern reaches of the Wisconsin River. The entire plant is edible and was a mainstay of the American Indian diet.
    N. nucifera, the oriental sacred lotus, is an occasional escapee in the same regions in southern Wisconsin. It has pink flowers.  I do not recall ever seeing it in the wild.  The leaves of the last two species are often held up out of the water by long stems, rather than float, like water-lily leaves.
   According to my records, all these species are blooming essentially at the right time, in mid-July.

FLOWERS 4
by 
Soul Survivor

floating, water lily is free
but ever has her anchor
in the bottom of the pond

 
 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

TANSY IS BLOOMING


TANSY... JUST COMING INTO BLOOM...

COMPOUND FLOWER HEAD...

...FINELY CUT LEAVES

Thursday, 8:30 AM.  69 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind NW, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is clear with some haze, the humidity 83%.  The barometer is steady, now at 29.92" of mercury.  The  high  tpday will be around 80, then the temperature will fall through the weekend, with mixed skies and chance of a thunderstorm on Saturday.  It looks like it will be a nice summer day.
   Buddy and I had a close encounter ast night with the large coyote I mentioned a few posts back.  He ran right past us, at full speed.  Actually I don't think Buddy even saw or smelled him, but he startled me. It doesn't seem to be aggressive so I don't think I will be concerned about it at this point.
   Tansy, Tannecetum vulgare, (vulgare meaning common) is in the Sunflower Family, the Compositae.  Its golden yellow flower heads are a cheerful addition to the summer landscape. The name Tansy is of uncertain and ancient origin.  The species is European, probably coming to North America with agricultural seeds, and now is naturalized over much of the North American continent.
    The garden variety  millfoil, Achillea millifolium 'Moonshine' and the common tansy,Tanacetum vulgare, are easily confused at first glance.  Both have heavily dissected leaves and bright yellow flower heads, and grow to about the same height.  But the former seldom escapes the garden , and the latter is mainly a roadside plant (which should be kept out of the garden as it will take over).  Both have somewhat similar foliage, but the Tansy leaves smell rather medicinal when crushed, and the Achillea leaves have a strong rosin odor.  The individual Tansy flower heads look like golden buttons, and in fact "buttons" is its common name in England.  The individual flowers in the flower heads of the Achillea are minute and closely crowded together in an umbel.
   Tansy's aromatic leaves were used to strew over dirt floors in the Middle Ages.  It had many herbal uses in the past, particularly for stomach complaints and worms in children.  The dried root is said to be a remedy for gout  but I have not  tried it (I am pretty careful with herbal self-medication).  
   My recorded blooming dates for Tansy are: 7/11/15; 7/15/12; 7/22/11; 7/13/10; 7/21/09, so this year's bloom date  is right about on average.
   Tansy is on the Wisconsin DNR prohibited list of invasive plants.  However, it is everywhere, couldn't possibly be eradicated, and as far as I can see does little harm and is very colorful.  But you don't want it in your garden, because it spreads so vigorously, and I suppose it could be a problematic weed in farm fields.  In any case, I think worrying about things like Tansy is pretty much a dilettante luxury.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AMERICAN CHESTNUT IS BLOOMING


AMERICAN CHESTNUTS RIPEN IN LATE SEPTEMBER...

CHESTNUT BUR OPENING...

REVEALING (USUALLY) THREE  EDIBLE NUTS...

FLOWER CATKINS BLOOM IN EARLY TO MID JULY.

YOUNG AMERICAN CHESTNUT TREE ON TENTH AND MANYPENNY AVE. IN BLOOM NOW

LARGE NATIVE AMERICAN CHESTNUT TREE IN BLOOM...
HUGE OLD CHESTNUT ON 7TH AND MANYPENNY...

...WITH TRUNK CAVITY...

NOTE THE RIGGED BARK

CHESTNUT LEAF FALL COLOR; NOTE THE SHARP, CURVED TEETH
Wednesday, 8:00 AM. 67 degrees F at the ferry dock, 65 on the back porch.  Wind variable and mostly calm, with occasional very light gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 72%.  The barometer has begun a gentle decline, now at 30.12" of mercury.  The forecast is for clear skies and highs in the mid-70's today and tomorrow, then temperatures dropping into the 60's with cloudy skies and chances of rain and thunderstorms into next week.  It is a very quiet, pleasant morning.
   The American chestnut, Castanea dentata, in the Beech Family (Fagaceae) , as most people know, was until around a century ago a major component of the temperate deciduous forest of northeastern North America east of the Mississippi River.  It grew in close association with sugar maple, beech, and red oak. It was a major timber and food species for both animals and man. The trees were so numerous that it was said that a squirrel could travel from chestnut tree to chestnut tree from the east coast to the Mississippi  River without ever touching the ground. Upon the demise of the American Chestnut other species assumed its ecological role, even if imperfectly; nature always compensates for disasters, and none of its components are irreplaceable.
   The native population was decimated by an invasive Eurasian fungal disease that wiped out all but a few outlier populations of the species.  Those in and around Bayfield were either isolated enough to escape the disease or may have some immunity to it, I suspect the former.  In any case, a few of these trees have been propagated and planted around Bayfield, or have grown spontaneously, and the one pictured is a street tree located on the corner of Ninth Street and Mannypenny Ave.   
  The male flowers of the chestnut are long and filamentous, and are a creamy light green in color.  They have a very distinctive, pungent odor, akin to that of freshly turned earth, which must have once filled the forest. The female flower, which develops into the chestnut upon fertilization, is a minuscule catkin which subtends the male flower bract, or develops in the axils of nearby leaves.  The trees bloom in early to mid-July.  The edible nuts are released from the opening burr in late September or October, either while the burr is still attached to the tree or when it falls to the ground, where they sprout and begin to grow immediately, if not eaten by squirrels.
   The tree on Ninth St.  is  well worth a look if you are in Bayfield. A mature tree, unfortunately much in decline, is located on Seventh St. and Manypenny Ave., and more large trees are located in a ravine at the southeast end of the Apostle Highlands Golf Course, and here and there throughout the area.

UNDER THE SPREADING CHESTNUT TREE
Nursery Rhyme

Underneath the spreading chestnut tree,
There we sit both you and me,
Oh how happy we can be,
‘Neath the spreading chestnut tree.

I'm as happy as can be,
With my banjo on my knee,
Singing songs just you and me,
I'm as happy as can be.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ST. JOHN'S-WORT IS BLOOMING


ST. JOHN'S WORT PLANT...

...DISTINCTIVE YELLOW FLOWERS 
Tuesday, 8:30 AM.  66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 65 on the back porch.  Wind SW, mostly calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky has a high overcast, the humidity is 92%.  The barometer is mostly steady, now at 29.94" of mercury.  Today will be in the mid-seventies with chances of rain (we had a good shower last night), then clearing tomorrow with highs around 80.  There will be cooler weather and mixed skies towards the weekend, with further chances of rain.
    I have not seen Sasquatch in the rainy woods hereabouts as yet, but I won't be surprised if he shows up in Bayfield, as there have been consistent reported sightings in other northern Wisconsin counties, most occurring late on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
   Saint John's-wort is the common name for the Genus  Hypericum in the St. John's-wort Family, the Guttiferae  This is a confusing genus, with several dozen species common throughout North America, both native and introduced.  I would have a difficult time telling most of them apart and don't even try.  The genus name is from the ancient Greek for the plant.  "Wort" is old-English, simply meaning "plant." My recorded bloom dates for St. John's-wort are: 7/15/16; 7/27/15;7/18/13;7/15/08, right on time this year.
   Probably the most common is the European species, H. perforatum, which has long been known and used in herbal medicine for its antidepressant qualities, and as such is a valuable medicinal herb, which is readily available for purchase in drug stores, but I would not recommend its use, nor use the collected herb itself, without professional supervision, as it can interact with other medications. The species name refers to tiny clear dots on the leaves, that make them appear to be "perforated."
  Hypericum species are very common along roadsides and in vacant fields and are quite pretty, with distinctive stamens that extend above the five-petaled golden yellow flowers.  They are perennial herbs, which may grow to perhaps three feet in height.
   St. John's-wort is on the Wisconsin DNR list of prohibited invasive plants, and I suppose it might be considered a noxious field and garden weed, but banning it is a stretch for me.
   I may have to transplant one to my garden, just to be obstreperous.