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Saturday, June 29, 2013



...COMPLETED, 11:30 AM

Sunday,  9:00 AM.  65 degrees F, wind calm.  The sky is clear with some haze in the east.  The humidity is 69% and the barometer is up, at 30.06".  It is a gorgeous day, but the pollen count is increasing, and both Joan and I are snuffling and sneezing a unexpected moments.
   The new east entrance to the Brownstone Trail was planted to native wildflowers and grasses yesterday.  The planting itself was done quite quickly. The volunteer group (seven women and lucky me) met at 8:30 AM and 750 plus plants were in the ground before noon, and that included a coffee and muffin break.  The plants are native prairie and northern meadow wildflowers and Little and Big Bluestem grasses.  The site is well suited to the xerophytic and mesophytic  species planted.  The planting site had been tilled and topsoil and some well-rotted manure added on Friday.  The plants were grown by Wildflower Woods Nursery of Washburn, and the project funded through The Bayfield Regional Conservancy, which manages the two-mile trail along the lakeshore.  I designed the landscape last year.  It still has some other elements to plant but it looks quite good even at this stage of completion.
   Even though the plants are in the ground and well watered, they still have to be mulched with wood chips and monitored for water, and of course weeded.  Untended, they will not thrive.  There is no such thing as a "no maintenance" landscape, native or not.
   The Brownstone Trail is unique in that it is mostly private property on which the Conservancy has negotiated easements over a period of years.  It is very popular,  and is heavily used by residents and visitors alike.  It is on an old railroad right-of-way so the gradient is very amenable to walking and biking.  It is also quite scenic, starting at the downtown marina and boat launch and progressing along the lake bluffs and its cliffs and their beautiful views of harbor and lake.  It gives everyone the opportunity to take a hike or  bike ride in what I like to describe as the "friendly wilderness"of Bayfield.  On less busy days it is not unusual to catch a glimpse of deer, bear and eagles as well as other wildlife.  
   The "prettiest ditch in town" is on Ninth Street, just south of Washington Avenue.  It is blooming with lupines and wood lilies, and is inspiring me to do something similar with the drainage ditch in the front of our house.  The projects never end (and that's a good thing).






Saturday,  7:00 AM.  59 degrees, wind calm.  It i mostly cloudy  with a high overcast.  The humidity is very high at 92%, and the barometer is up slightly at 29.83".  I hope the weather holds, as we are planting the wildflowers and grasses at the new east trailhead to the Brownstone Trail.  The site is prepared for planting, the plants are waiting and we have secured permission to use water so we are all set.  I don't know how many volunteers will show up so I don't know how long it will take.  My role now is to lay out and supervise the planting,  since I did the plan.  I am hoping all goes well.
   High bush cranberry is not a cranberry at all, but a native Viburnum, Viburnum trilobum (AKA Americanum) with three-lobed, red maple-like leaves.  It has very interesting and decorative panicles of white flowers followed by red, edible fruit that stays on the bush well into winter, making it a good wild life plant as well. The fruit has long been used to make preserves. It is a shrub but can grow quite large or even tree-like.  It grows on woods edges and in wet places and is readily adaptable to the home landscape.
   The garden  Weigelas are all derivatives of the Weigela rosea, which is native to northern China and was introduced to England in 1845 and later to America.  I used to consider it an "old fashioned" plant but there are many newer hybrids.  It is beautiful in bloom but does not have much other seasonal interest.  It is very hardy and can be a good addition to the shrub border.
   The mountain maple, Acer spicatum, is a northern native woods understory shrub or small tree (use the blog search engine for more information and photos).  It bears interesting spikes of yellow flowers, blooming now, which are followed by rather attractive red, winged maple seeds.  It has outstanding blaze-orange (almost) fall leaf color.  I wish it were more available in the nursery trade, but it is hard to impossible to find.  I have never transplanted one myself so I don't know how easy or difficult it may be to move.
   Watching witness testimony before congress I am dismayed that the standard "I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," has somehow morphed into, "I refuse to tell the truth, any truth, even a little truth, but I promise to tell the smallest lies possible."  
  A democratic republic can survive wars, fires, tornadoes, floods and pestilence, but I fear it cannot survive institutionalized lying. 

Friday, June 28, 2013





 Friday,  7:00 AM.  64 degrees F, wind calm. The sky is overcast and heavy with rain clouds.  The barometer is down, at 29.65".  the humidity is 89% and more rain looks inevitable.
   Short blog this morning, due to picking up flats of native plants for tomorrow's planting of the Brownstone Trail's new east entrance.  If this weather keeps up we will have to postpone the planting until Monday.
  We had really violent rain squalls yesterday, which produced torrential rains and tossed a baby robin out of its nest in the spruce tree in the front yard.  Neighbor boys Cooper and Gabriel (left to right, above) found it on the ground and we managed to get a ladder and place it back in the nest with its three other siblings while the upset parents flitted around us.  The boys mother said if we weren't successful she would adopt the chick and feed it herself, to which Cooper replied, "Gee, Mom, you'll have to eat worms and puke them back up.  Neat!"
   The pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, above is in front of the Reiten Boatyard Condominiums on Wilson and Second Street.  It is the best I have ever seen.
   The white pines, Pinus strobus, are shedding their pollen in copious amounts, much to my discomfort.  The huge trees look like they are festooned with yellow ribbons.
  Edward Snowdon is fast becoming a 21st. Century version of "The Man Without A Country," seemingly destined to spend the rest of his days in airport transition terminals, which is probably worse than a federal prison sentence.  The President seems O.K. with that, as it saves the Administration the embarrassment of a sensational, tell-all trial.  It is a perfect example of the new management philosophy of doing nothing about the current crisis while waiting for a new one to eclipse it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013







Thursday, 8:30 AM.  67 degrees F, wind N, light.  It rained earlier but the sky has cleared rapidly to partly cloudy with towering white cumulous clouds.  The barometer stands at 29.76 in. and the humidity is 86%.  It is a pleasant morning overall, and I am waiting for things to dry out so I can mow the lawn.
   While visiting in Columbus  I came across this stunning European beech with purple, variegated leaves.  It will outgrow its location, as it is bound to be a very large tree, more suited to a park setting than a small yard.  I would love to try growing it in Bayfield.
   While traveling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we encountered this truck load of two very large balled fir trees. Each was on a cradle that would be unloaded and placed over the planting hole, greatly facilitating transplanting.  It was the first time I had seen this method of transportation.  Transplanting large trees is a horticultural challenge that I found very satisfying over the years, but the technology has changed considerably.
   The perennial garden is looking beautiful, if a bit crowded and overgrown, which is my style, I guess.
   The chickadees are busy feeding their young, and it is amazing how many insects they bring to the nest in a very short time.  Overall, there is no insecticide that can do the job that the birds do in controlling the insect population.
   Joan watches the cooking channel so I see it quite a bit by default, and I am disgusted at what has been done to chef Paula Dean, who has lost her show and sponsors because she admitted to using a racial slur (the N word, so horrible it can't be spoken or written, at least by aging white folks) over thirty years ago.  She is sixty years old, a white southern woman.  I have watched her host The Nealy's,  husband and wife black professional cooks, numerous times.  I never saw them otherwise on the cooking channel.  She treated them like family and as fellow professionals.  If she is racially prejudiced it is not at all evident.  Paula Dean raised two sons on her own after her husband abandoned the family.  She overcame great personal odds of class, education and economics and rose to the top of a very demanding profession.   She has apologized profusely for her long ago language, which was common at the time.  Is this the way society, black or white, should treat her? 
   I would hate to be held to account for any number of things I said or did thirty years and more ago, whether in anger, in jest, or out of stupidity.  Perhaps we should all remember something someone once said about "casting the first stone."
   We are fast loosing the ground we have gained over the past several generations in race relations through unforgiving and unrealistic political correctness  that no honest person can live up to.  I can't.  Can any of us?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013





Wednesday,  8:00 AM.  69 degrees F on the porch, 66 downtown.  Wind N, light.  the sky is partly cloudy and rather hazy but it is clearing rapidly.  The humidity is high at 93% and the barometer stands at 29.68".  Bayfield and environs evidently got a lot of rain while we were gone, as the lower Chequamegon Bay was rusty red when we drove past it yesterday evening on Hwy. 2.  Everything that was not yet blooming is doing so now, and the garden is colorful if somewhat overgrown (that's pretty much my style),  The lawn needs mowing, baskets need watering, shrubs need pruning and beds need weeding. There are a couple of work  projects that need  attention...and family arrives before the 4th of July.
  We left Columbus Monday morning.  It was a short but pleasant visit with eldest daughter Greta, but she is even busier than we are and we would have mostly kept  the three dogs company had we stayed longer.  And, we had forgotten how hot an muggy Ohio can get in the summer.  
   Columbus, Ohio is being badly hit with the Emerald Ash Borer, which is killing its ash trees one by one, and the loss of street trees is very evident and reminiscent of the Dutch elm disease disaster of the mid to late Twentieth Century.  Population diversity is the only certain defense against pestilential pandemics.  Humans please take note.
   We came home through lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, and the highlight of the trip for me was as always, crossing the Mackinac Bridge, across the straights of the same name that connect lakes Michigan and Huron.  It is a thing of true architectural an engineering beauty that adds to the awesome natural beauty of the  straits as few other human artifacts could.  
   We stayed just across the bridge Monday night, and walking Buddy the next morning I was amazed and gratified to find several patches of yellow lady slipper orchids, Cypripedium calceolus.  I don't believe it is actually rare around the Great Lakes, but I have only seen it a few times in the wild.
   President Obama made a major environmental speech today, citing the need for US leadership in combating so-called climate change (cool the earth, calm the storms, stop the rising seas, and all that).  He reminds me of King Canute commanding the tides to cease. Lots of luck, Mr. President. One particularly cynical pundit said that the speech was nothing but a "head fake" to disorient his hard core environmentalist supporters as he accepts the inevitability of approving the Keystone pipeline.  I think he has spent too much time watching basketball.

Sunday, June 23, 2013




Sunday, 12:30 PM EDT, Columbus, Ohio.  89 degrees F, wind S, light. It is partly cloudy and a warm, pleasant summer day.  We arrived in town yesterday evening, after driving from Milwaukee through Chicago and Indianapolis. The drive through the Windy City was unusually quick and easy, and the rest of the trip uneventful. Our stay will be short, since daughter Greta is busy with summer school and  daughter Eva's family is arriving in Bayfield at the end of the week.  My camera is out of juice, so no photos today.
  The Urban Forestry Council meeting in Milwaukee was interesting, and included a tour of an award winning building dedicated to recycling urban wood and sustainable architecture, all of which sounds great but which I must temper with, "Nothing is sustainable unless it is economically sustainable," and that means without tax dollars.
   We went to a Milwaukee Brewers/Atlanta Braves baseball game Friday night with my cousin Susan and had a particularly good time because the home team won and it was an exciting game. They are natural rivals since the Braves were formerly the Milwaukee home team and are much hated because they unceremoniously left us without a team to go to Atlanta back in the 1960's.  Of course Milwaukee had stolen the braves from Boston back in the 1950's.  What goes around comes around, as they say.
   At the game we were treated to a pleasant, mysterious surprise.  Between the third and fourth inning I happened to glance up at the big TV screen behind center field, and there we saw, in huge blue letters, "The Brewers welcome Joan and Art Ode."  Now who would have posted this message?  First, only a few people knew we were actually going to the game, as Sue only bought tickets Thursday afternoon, although my Thursday morning blog did say we planned to attend.  Second, it costs more than a few bucks to post a greeting.  Third, a greeting must be posted 48 hours in advance, which no one could have done with any certainty.  Fourth, the tickets were not in our names.
   Cousin Sue  might have been able to work this out when she bought the tickets but, she insists vehemently that she did not do it. So the pleasant surprise remains a mystery, unless someone comes forward and admits they did it (Doug?).  We sure would like to know, so we can thank them for all the fun we have had because of it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Thursday, 8:00 AM.  Wind NNE, light.  The sky has become increasingly filled with high black thunderheads.  The barometer is trending down, at 30l.04" and the humidity is up, at 85%.  It looks and feels like rain, and I now hear some distant rolls of thunder.  It looks like we may have a stormy trip to Milwaukee today.  I have an Urban Forestry Council meeting there tomorrow, and tomorrow night we are attending a Brewer's game with my cousin Sue.  We are then going on to Columbus, Ohio to visit eldest daughter Greta.  We will drive through Chicago which is  hassle, but will return through upper and lower Michigan, which is usually a nice trip.  I will blog along the way but it may be sporadic.
   A rather little known native maple, the mountain maple, Acer spicatum, is blooming along the edge of the woods on Ninth Street, between Old Military Road and Wilson Ave.  The species name refers to the upright spikes of small towers arising from new terminal growth.  This is an interesting and unusual plant, usually a large shrub to small understory tree, with three-lobed leaves reminiscent of red maple.  I don't see it in the nursery trade, and I have not had the opportunity to transplant it, but I think it would be a great addition to a native or natural landscape.  This is a plant of cool northern forests.  Its leaves turn vivid orange in fall.
   The false Solomon's seal, Smilacina racemosa, in the lily family, is in boom, and it is often very prominent on woods edges and in openings. The creamy white flowers are quite attractive and are followed by decorative berries which gradually turn from pink to red over the summer.  The species is mostly a far northern plant, and our Wisconsin  native is the somewhat smaller variety cylindrata.
   Madison, Wisconsin is a beautiful city, set among several connected lakes.  As the state capital and home of the University, it has many economic and social advantages, and is reputedly a good place to live.  But not so good a place to own a business, perhaps.  The ultra liberal mayor, Paul Soglan, along with a number of liberal council members, recently proposed an ordinance that would require businesses seeking city contracts to reveal their political contributions.  I can't imagine that would pass muster with either state or national constitutionality, but evidently they think it will.
   Fortunately sanity has prevailed and the council did not pass it, but since this is Madison we are discussing I would not be surprised to see it come up again.  This is pure Chicago politics, which has been slithering across the border for ages and has, with the Obama presidency, infested much of the federal government as well.  Scandal and bullying are now everywhere; and Madison isn't so beautiful anymore.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013





Wednesday, 8:30 AM  60 degrees F, wind N, calm to very light.  The sky is clear with some haze in the east, The humidity is 74% and the barometer is trending down but still high at 30.11 in.  It should be a really pleasant day.
   Ground cover plants are usually welcome in the landscape as alternatives to grass, to hold banks, and sometimes for their flowers and fruit.  Pictured are two that are quite common and useful, the lily-of-the-valley and sweet woodruff. When you find either of these ground covers growing in the woods or a clearing you can be pretty sure it was once the site of a home and its garden.
   Lily-of-the-valley, Convolvulus magus, in the lily family (Liliaceae), colonizes aggressively by stolons, and can be a very effective alternative to grass in places where there is little foot traffic.  Be careful with it in the garden though, as it can get away easily.  It has handsome lily-like leaves, grows to about a foot in height, and has sweet-scented white flowers in May to June (pretty late this year).  It also bears bright red berries about the size of a cherry which are not considered edible and I would be cautious of ingesting them.  The dried whole plant with flowers has been used in the same manner as digitalis (an extract of the fox glove plant) for heart failure since ancient times, and there are many other traditional herbal medicinal uses for the plant.  Lily-of-the-valley does not seem particular as to soil and will take quite a bit of shade.  The species is of European origin where it grows wild as well as in gardens. There is one American species, C. montana, native to the southern Appalachian mountains.
   Sweet woodruff, Asperula oderata, in the family Rubiaceaea is also a garden escapee, and I find it a delightful plant, very fragrant when dried.  It is traditionally used to make May wine, an old-world tradition.  A few sprigs of flowering sweet woodruff, picked fresh and steeped for a week or so in almost any white wine, makes a refreshing and somewhat different drink.  I think it is pretty good, but Joan doesn't care for it.  The plant has interesting whorled leaves and minute white flowers.  It also spreads from rhizomes, and I find it grows particularly well under and around pine trees where not much else will grow because of acid soil, shade and root competition.
   I have been thinking a lot about our current scandals and such, and have pretty much rethought my formerly rather noncommittal attitude regarding "torture," whether called "water boarding" or whatever.
   I have come up with a corollary for the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," which is, "Whatever you do unto others will eventually be done unto you."  Apply that to most of what has been going on of late and I think you will see that it is a pretty reasonable theory.      But, difficult to put into practice

Tuesday, June 18, 2013






Tuesday,  9:00 AM.  54 degrees F, wind NNE, calm to very light.  the sky is clear with some haze, the humidity is down at 66% and the barometer is way up, at 30.30 in.  It should be a nice day.
   The annual lupine display is starting, I would look for peak viewing to be in about a week to ten days.
   The reconstruction of Hwy. 13 through town is proceeding apace, but I think they will be hard pressed to have evrything done by the Fourth of July as planned.
   The mountain ash trees are in bloom.  We have two native species, Sorbus americana and Sorbus decora; we also have the European species, Sorbus aucuparia, which is much sold in the nursery trade and escaped into the wild.  All are quite similar in general flower, fruit and leaf characteristics and I am hard pressed myself to keep them apart. They are not true ash trees, but are closely related to apples in the rose family. They been  given the their common name because of their ash-like pinnately compound leaves.  At some point when I have time I will go into them in depth, but from a landscape standpoint they can be pretty much used and treated alike, as small to medium sized ornamental and street trees, the fruits of which are valuable to wildlife.  None are very long lived and they should not be used as anchor trees in the landscape.
  The hawthorns are also in bloom, the one pictured is a street tree on the corner of Second and Rittenhouse Ave.  There are many species in the hawthorn genus Crateagus, but at present I will lump them all together as small, decorative trees, with white blossoms and small apple-like red fruits, and most with thorns.  There are some truly spectacular varieties (use the blog site search engine to see the variety "Paul's scarlet')  and as I come across them in bloom I will address them separately.  Except for their thorns they make good park and landscape trees, but almost all are too low branching and spreading to make good street trees, requiring continual pruning to maintain sidewalk and street headroom.  If it weren't for that factor I would use them more as small ornamental street trees. The flowers have a scent that some find unpleasant, but I do not.
    As a young man digging trees in the nursery I hated hawthorns, for one could not ball and burlap a hawthorn without ending up looking like he had been in a fight with a bobcat.  Digging trees by machine  and growing them in pots eliminates some of the hazard but the thorniest varieties still can be dangerous to ship and to plant.
   Which brings up the thorny problems of the Obama administration, and a famous quote from Abe Lincoln:
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Monday, June 17, 2013





Monday,  8:30 AM.  The wind is NNE with occasional stronger gusts.  There was rain accompanied by high winds  at times last evening and it is very wet everywhere, but there was not much actual accumulation.    The barometer is rather stuck around 29.97 in. and the humidity is high.  The sky is blanketed with a low overcast and it promises to be a cold, wet day.
   Joan and I attended services at our little Christ Episcopal Church yesterday, which is now only open during the summer months and serviced by visiting clergy.  The hybrid horsechestnut pictured above is in the front yard of the parish house.  Its flowers are very similar to the hybrid buckeyes we have planted as city street trees, but the tree is much larger; it is, I believe, the hybrid 'Brioti.' It is beautiful in flower, and I have never seen it bear fruit (horsechestnuts are similar to the closely related Ohio buckeye  nut).  The tree is perfectly hardy in Bayfield and is quite handsome overall.
   The  bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, is a rather astonishing miniature of the famed flowering dogwood tree, Cornus Florida, of the South.  The flowers are similar but smaller, the leaves virtually the same, also the bright red berries.  It is, however, a creeping ground cover rather than a medium sized tree.  The small, football shaped berries grow in little bunches.  They are edible, but I find them rather tasteless.
   The plants pictured above are growing in great mats on the south side of Blume Road, which is a dead end road that intersects with Hwy. K north of Hwy.  13.
  We lived north of New York City in Westchester County for a number of years, and the hillsides were glorious with flowering dogwood blossoms in late spring (one bluff along the Hudson River turned so creamy white with dogwood blossoms it was called Buttermilk Hill). And then in the early '80's a devastating blight killed many of the trees and disfigured most.  The last I heard the disease, for which there is no real control,  had somewhat burned itself out.   The unrivaled beauty of  massed blooms of flowering dogwoods is no longer to be seen, but  their minute northern cousins, the bunchberries, bring back those buttermilk memories.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Sunday, 8:30 AM. 69 degrees F, wind W, light.  The sky is cobalt blue, the barometer is trending down at 29.82 in., and the humidity is 59%.  It is a perfect morning.
   Since it is Sunday, I will express my opinions with a quote from scripture, John 8:32,

   "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall  make you free."

It is axiomatic; there can be no freedom without knowledge of the truth, whether in spiritual or secular life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013





Saturday, 10:00 AM.  54 degrees F, wind NNE, calm.  The sky is overcast and and we had a thunderstorm last night that left perhaps a half inch of rain in the birdbath.  It is a gray, cold day.
   As we are all aware, our mild climate next to the big lake allows us to successfully grow some woody plants that would not normally survive this far north.  The Ohio buckeye tree, Aesculus glabra, in the Horsechestnut family, is a small to medium sized tree native to the southeastern Midwest.  It and a a number of hybrids do well as small ornamental street trees, the one pictured is growing on the north side of Manypenny Ave., between Fourth and Fifth streets.  Its greenish-yellow flowers are borne in large racemes that stand upright and are fairly prominent.  The large leaves are palmately compound, and the fruit is a pulpy  nut with a tough brown skin.  The nut is covered by a spiny yellow-brown husk.  the nut looks much like a horsechestnut, its close relative.  
   The buckeye is the state symbol of Ohio, and of course Ohioans and their football team are known as "Buckeyes."  The buckeye is not edible, but is considered a good luck charm by many, and having lived and worked in Ohio for some years I carried one in my pocket for a long time.  They are great things for little boys to throw, but I suppose that is now illegal and if your son or grandson pegs one at another kid he will go to jail.  And the politically correct do-gooders who infest our society should all go straight to hell.
   By the way,  I think I have gotten out of the dilemma of whether to call the NSA leaker, Snowden, a hero or a villain.  He is simply a statistical inevitability.  With an estimated 1.4 million persons in and out of government having maximum security clearance, the leak, like a forest fire, was inevitable, and he is about as guilty as an Act of God.

Friday, June 14, 2013





Friday,  9:00 AM.  59 degrees F, wind NNE, light.  The sky is clear, the barometer is trending up at 30.16 in. and the humidity is 70%. on a scale of one to tenn, this morning has to be a 9.9.
   The poplar trees are shedding their cottony seeds now, and the Lupines are just beginning to bloom.  The other day we say a solitary trumpeter swan on the lower bay at Ashland, the main flocks evidently flying over without stopping on their way north.  I always feel sorry for those who have dropped out of the flock; all on their own, without their family and friends,
   There is nothing more ordinary in the world of horticulture and gardening, or in the home landscape, than the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris.  It has charmed kings, emperors, poets and philosophers for many centuries, and we all still want one somewhere in our home landscape, if not precisely at the kitchen door.  Because they are so common, even though there are many hybrids, we tend to dismiss them.  "Familiarity breeds   contempt," it is true. But there is comfort in the common things in life and in nature, and there is nothing quite like the scent of the lilac wafting on an early summer morning's breeze.
   The bud scales are falling from the new growth of white, Colorado and other spruces.  Don't try to move or trim spruce when the bud scales loosen and fall off, nor for a week or two afterward, as the new needle growth is very tender and easily damaged, and a young tree can be badly disfigured.

Thursday, June 13, 2013




Thursday,  9:00 AM.  61 degrees F, wind NE, light to moderate.  The sky is clear, the barometer is up at 30.07 in. and the humidity is down to 69%.  It is a beautiful morning.  It warmed up enough yesterday afternoon to drive back from Spooner with the top down on the convertible, and it felt mighty good.  
   We spotted a huge truckload of wood chips travelling east on Hwy 2 yesterday, destination the Xcel Energy power plant in Ashland, where it was dumped directly into a furnace to generate power.  The plant has burned woodchips and coal for over thirty years, but only one of three boilers now uses wood, as transportation costs and market forces make it less profitable to burn wood waste.
   I continue to try to make sense out of the NSA leaks and scandal, but haven't reached my own conclusions as yet.  If something is judged so secret that it cannot be discussed, how can it be understood?
   And here closer to home, protesters of the GTEC mine intimidated officials, did some vandalism and theft and generally caused a ruckus over approved exploratory drilling.  I don't consider that an incident of civil disobedience in support of a higher moral law, but probably others do.  And there's the crux of the dilemma; unless we all have the same moral compass, how can we determine what is moral for society as a whole? We cannot.
  The government wants to protect us so badly that it seeks to take our guns away so that we cannot protect ourselves.  That is  perverted logic at best,  and I for one have a hard time believing the government is really that interested in protecting me, rather than its own interests, which are so secret that I don't know what they are.
   And the secret FISA court sounds to me like little more than a modern day version of the infamous Elizabethan England Star Chamber court, where subjects were tried in secret, without witnesses or council, and given arbitrary sentences including indeterminate  imprisonment in the Tower of London, beheading and disemboweling.  We probably aren't quite there yet, although the President has boasted of his "kill list," and it is pretty much accepted that assassinations and torture and secret foreign prisons all exist.
   And when the head of the spy agency tells the Congress he is being "as least untruthful" as as he can, it is an open invitation for us to suspect whatever our fertile imaginations can conjure up.
  I'm beginning to feel like we are actors in some perverted Shakespearean play; "Forsooth!  There be skullduggery afoot!"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013




Wednesday,  56 degrees F, wind NE, calm to very light.  The sky is mostly clear with sone haze around the edges.  The barometer is steady at 29.87in.  The humidity is 83%.  The wet weather is producing a bumper crop of mosquitos.
   I recently posted a photo of a wild choke cherry tree in bloom.  Pictured today is another wild cherry species, the pin cherry, Prunus pensylvanica.  The choke cherry has flowers and fruit in umbels, i.e.,  a clump of flower stalks all arising from one point. The pin cherry bears flowers and fruits in racemes, i.e., an infloresence with stalked flowers borne on a common axis.  That makes the trees in bloom appear quite different from each other, even though the individual, small flowers and fruits are quite similar.
   The orchards are all in full bloom now, as are the flowering crabapples which are often planted as borders to facilitate pollination.  The sight of all these colorful trees in bloom can be quite amazing.
   As regards my comments yesterday on Thoreau and civil disobedience, I have been listening to political commentators rather closely and the only person I have heard mention the topic is Senator Rand Paul, and he did not mention Thoreau by name.  As for me I will read his treatise again and reserve judgement in the matter until more facts are out, but I view the entire matter with grave concern.
  Just as germain to the topic of civil disobedience are Ralph Waldo Emerson's views, including the following:
   "An immoral law makes it a man's duty to break it, at every hazard.  For virtue is the very self of every man.  It is therefore a principle of law that an immoral contract is void, and that an immoral statute is void.  For, as laws do not make right, and are simply declaratory of a right which already existed, it is not to be presumed that they can so stultify themselves as to command justice."