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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.

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