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Tuesday, August 23, 2011



Tuesday, 7:00 AM.  64 degrees, wind WSW, calm.  The sky is overcast in the east but mostly clear in the west.  The barometer predicts rain and the humidity is up so it is possible to get a shower late in the day.  We need a good rain.
    The pearly everlasting and the everlasting, the small genus Anaphalis and the much larger gensus Gnaphalium (both in the snflower family), are are too difficult for me to try to key out right now, and anyway I think the one pictured is a species of Gnaphalium.  In any case they are interesting and quite different flowers in the late summer and fall landscape, looking like very tall pussytoes (Antennaria).  Dried, they are “everlasting.”
    Wild cucumber vine, Echinocystis lobata, in the cucumber family, is rambling all over this yard in Washburn.  On woods edges it is a graceful, interesting vine and fruit, but I wouldn’t want it to eat my house.
    Tragedy has struck the little community of Bayfield.  You may recall that on Saturday I wrote about a bicyclist found “breathing but unresponsive” on one of the orchard country roads, and how professional and concerned the local and regional EMT response was.  We found out later the bicyclist was Anne Runsey, who with her husband owns the second hand bookstore, What Goes Round, on south Second Street.  She set out after leaving the store Friday afternoon for a bike ride, was coming down a steep hill on Myers Olsen road, crashed, and although she was wearing a helmet, received fatal head injuries.  She leaves a husband and two school age daughters, a business that  was just getting established and an unfinished house. 
    Although I did not know her as long enough as I should have liked, we had a common bond in that we both formerly worked at the elite New York Botanical Garden.  How unlikely is that; two “refugees from the Bronx” at long last residents of the little Northern Wisconsin city of Bayfield?
    Life is fragile, and can be snuffed out in an instant.  As local writer and friend Howard Paap said to me as we talked about the tragedy, we should “Cherish every moment, and be kind to each other.”

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