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Saturday, June 24, 2017

THIMBLEBERRY IS BLOOMING




THIMBLEBERRY BUSH...



...MAPLE-LIKE LEAF...


...LARGE, SCENTED FLOWER...

...EDIBLE BERRY (UW Green Bay Herbarium photo))


RASPBERRIES AND BLACKBERRIES HAVE THORNS...

...HAVE MANY FLOWERS, AND COMPOUND LEAVES
Saturday, 8:00 AM.  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 56 on the back porch. Wind WNW, very breezy.  The sky is cloudy with some overcast, the humidity 83%.  The barometer is rising slowly, now at 29.68".  Mixed skies, highs in the 60-s to 70's and chances of rain are predicted for the next ten days.

   Thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, in the Rose Family, is closely related to the raspberries and blackberries.  The species has an odd geographical distribution: around the Great Lakes and in  the western United States, Alaska and Canada and south to northern South America.  
   Thimbleberry is so called since when the ripe composit fruit is pulled from its stem it is hollow, resembling a sewing thimble.  The shrub is large, spreads by stolons and grows in part shade to full sun in woods and on woods edges, and along roads and railways.  The leaves are lobed and look like sugar maple leaves.  The stems have no spines or prickles, unusual for a Rubus species.
   The species name translates from the Latin as "small flowered," but the flowers are relatively large.  I suspect this misnomer relates to the fact that the shrubs are few flowered. The flowers are pleasantly lemon-scented. The fruit is edible and makes good jams and jellies, but is soft and does not pack and ship well commercially.  Some folks do not like the taste of the fruit, but I think it fine. 
   Thimbleberry is a valuable plant for native landscape restoration and can be obtained from specialty nurseries.  Use it with care, as it can easily take over.  I have recorded only a few bloom dates for this species: 6/19/15; and, 6/27/14.  This year is probably right on time.
OFF THE CUFF
   Holywood and the leftist media have gone off the rails with their denigration, and worse, of the President and the Presidency.  Mock assassinations and so-called humorous death threats are no longer funny, and would never have been tolerated during the Obama presidency.  Can you imagine a so-called comedian getting away with depicting the beheading of President Obama? Or his assassination on stage? It is time, particularly after the attempted (and nearly successful) assassination of Republican senators, for it to all cease.
   Such overt calls for harm to the President and others must stop right now, and the way to stop them is for the Secret Service to take it seriously, and start knocking on some doors in the middle of the night.

Friday, June 23, 2017

WHITE PINE POLLEN

POLLEN CONES ARE BURSTING...
...WITH COUNTLESS BILLIONS OF POLLEN GRAINS CLOUDING THE ATMOSPHERE
WHILE THE GARDEN PROGRESSES FROM SPRING TO SUMMER

 Friday, 8:00 AM.  59 degrees F at both the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind NW, light with occasional stronger gusts.  The sky is crystal clear, the humidity 68%.  The barometer is rising, now at 29.58".  The weather prediction for the next ten days calls for highs in the 60's to 70's, with mixed skies and chances of rain.  It looks like the cool, damp spring is continuing into a cool, damp summer.
   The annual release of  pine pollen from male cones is here, clouding the atmosphere with golden yellow dust.  The preponderance of the pollen is from white pines, but red and jack pines add to the onslaught.
   When the west wind blows strongly it triggers  an event of truly Biblical proportions, the pine trees from thousands of forested acres releasing untold billions of pollen grains. If the wind is calm and we get some rain conditions are ameliorated somewhat, but in any case I am sneezing.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

MOCCASIN FLOWER AND WINTERGREEN





MOCCASIN FLOWER, A NATIVE ORCHID
WINTERGREEN: AROMATIC EVERGREEN LEAVES AND EDIBLE RED BERRY.

Thursday, 8:30 AM.  66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 62 on the back porch.  Wind WNW, mostly calm with very light gusts.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 79%.  The barometer is steady, at 29.65".  Mixed skies, highs in the mid-sixties to seventy with chances of rain are predicted for the next ten days.
 The moccasin flower, Cyprepedium acaule, in the Lily Family, is an orchid native to much of Canada and most of the eastern half of the U S.  Its habitat is boreal and deciduous forest floors and edges.  This is one of several found near the Onion River parking area.
  Moccasin flower is not truly rare or endangered, but it  is not common, and a real treat to see in bloom.   The greatest threat to this orchid is gardeners digging it up to transplant in their gardens, a process the plants seldom survive.  Unless their habitat is in immediate danger of being completely destroyed, they and most other wild plants should be left alone and in place.  The plant has two stemless basal leaves (acaule, Latin, without a stem), with strong parallel venation.  It is pollinated by bees which are attracted by its fragrance.  Like other orchids, Cyprepedium relies on a symbiosis with a soil fungus to germinate seeds and  complete its life cycle.
   Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, in the Heath Family (Ericaceae) is growing in association with the moccasin flower.  It is also known as teaberry, as the dried leaves and stems make a good tea. The berries are also edible and are eaten by birds, and the plant is good winter browse for whitetail deer. It is native under oaks and conifers in northeastern North America and the Appalachian Mountains.
   A number of other wildflowers, no longer flowering, were also present.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HARRISON'S YELLOW ROSE, "THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS"





HARRISON'S YELLOW ROSE, DOWNTOWN BAYFIELD, HWY.13...
HARRISON'S YELLOW ROSE, CORNER OF 6TH AND WILSON...



..."THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS"


Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 56 on the back porch,  Wind variable, calm.  The sky is clear, the humidity 84%.  The barometer is taking a nosedive, now at 29.93".  Today will have highs around 60, tomorrow in the mid-seventies.  It will then cool off considerably, with mixed skies, and a chance of rain on Saturday.
   Everything that hasn't bloomed earlier is blooming now and it is hard to keep up with it all, but we will try to do so in subsequent posts.
   There is a large rose bush on the corner of 6th and Wilson that I am quite certain is the old fashioned “Harrison’s Yellow Rose,” which has been grown for almost two centuries and is still available. There are a number of these venerable old roses blooming around Bayfield.  It is only a spring bloomer, but when in flower is covered with semi-double, fragrant flowers. It is thorny and spreads, so must be used with caution, but is a worthwhile plant in a sunny location (mine has succumbed to heavy shade). This is the rose that was carried across the country by settlers moving west, and has thus become also known also as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and "The Oregon Trail Rose." It was a chance hybrid occurring around 1830 in the garden of a Mr. Harrison of New York City. It was grown and marketed by Prince's Nursery on Long Island.
   The song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” is thus associated with this rose. The “Yellow Rose” of the song, however, was a young mulatto (hence the "yellow") woman. Named either Molly Morgan or Emily Wade, she is credited in folklore as a heroine of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, in which the Texas militia under Sam Houston destroyed the Mexican army of the tyrant Santa Anna, with virtually no Texas casualties, thus attaining Texas independence from Mexico.
   Molly (or Emily) purportedly  seduced the Mexican general on the afternoon of the battle, facilitating the Texan surprise attack. Soon after the battle, the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (composer unknown) became popular and has remained so as a Texas folk song. In 1955 it was arranged and played by Mitch Miller and his orchestra and became a national hit song, even eclipsing Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock.”
   Texas became an independent republic in 1836, and voluntarily joined the Union in 1845. The legend and the song say a lot about Texas and Texans.  The Battle of San Jacinto was considered payback for the massacre at the Alamo, a visit to which cannot fail to stir an American's soul, as the battle was at the time a struggle for freedom from tyranny, a one-sided, obviously futile fight, which volunteers joined,  knowing they would surely die.  Iconic figures of American history did die there, among them Davey Crocket and Jim Bowie.

           
            THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS 
             (Mitch Miller rendition, 1955)
    1) There's a yellow rose in Texas, That I am going to see,
    Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.
    She cried so when I left her It like to broke my heart,
    And if I ever find her, We nevermore will part.
    [Chorus]
    She's the sweetest little rosebud ;That Texas ever knew, Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew;You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee, But the YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Is the only girl for me.
    2) Where the Rio Grande is flowing, The starry skies are bright,
    She walks along the river In the quiet summer night:
    I know that she remembers, When we parted long ago,
    I promise to return again, And not to leave her so.
     [Chorus]
    3) Oh now I'm going to find her, For my heart is full of woe,
    And we'll sing the songs together, That we sung so long ago
    We'll play the banjo gaily, And we'll sing the songs of yore,
    And the Yellow Rose of Texas Shall be mine forevermore.
     [Chorus]
THE ALAMO, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (Google photo)
     
THE FLAG OF TEXAS

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BUNCHBERRY IS BLOOMING

BUNCHBERRY, AKA DWARF CORNEL, FLOWER AND LEAVES...
...EDIBLE BERRIES RIPEN IN JULY.  NOTE THE VEINED, TOOTHLESS, OPPOSITE LEAVES

HUGE PATCH OF BUNCHBERRY ON BLOOM ROAD
Tuesday, 8:00 AM.  62 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind WSW, light.  The humidity is 70%.  The sky is clearing and it should be a nice day.  The barometer is rising, now at 29.88". Mixed skies and highs in the mid-sixties to 70 degrees are predicted for the balance of the week, with chances of rain on the weekend.
   Bunchberry, AKA dwarf cornel, Cornus canadensis, in the Dogwood Family, is a circumpolar plant of damp coniferous forests. It is a woody sub-shrub that grows less than a foot tall and spreads by stolens into large mats.
   In the right habitat it makes a fine ground cover.  Its white flowers are much like the flowering dogwood of the South, but smaller, and  the edible red berries are very similar. Fall leaf color is purple to red.  Cornus species berries are edible; and one, Cornus mas, cornelean cherry, an Asiatic shrub, has berries very good for jams and jellies.
   There is a very large colony of bunchberry growing along a side road off of Highway K in Bayfield County.  This would be a good plant for more  nurseries to grow.
   This dwarf doogwood always reminds me of the wonderful flowering dogwood of the eastern and southern US, Cornus florida. It is almost a miniature of that beautiful tree.

Monday, June 19, 2017

HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY


LARGE HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY IN THE BACK YARD

... PANICLES OF COMPOUND FLOWERS... 

... PERSISTENT, EDIBLE FRUIT.  NOTE THE THREE-LOBED LEAVES
 Monday, 8:30 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock, 57 on the back porch.  Wind ESE, moderately breezy.  The sky is overcast with some clouds, the humidity 87%.  The barometer is steady at present, at 29.77".  The week head is predicted to be on the cool side with highs in the mid-60's, with mixed skies and weather.
  The highbush cranberry, Viburnum americanum (AKA trilobum) is not a cranberry at all, but a member of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae). The true cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is a member of the Heath Family (Ericaceae), and is a resident of acid bogs in northern North America. 
The common name refers to the similarities in appearance of the shrub and it's berries to true cranberries, and the respective hight of the two shrubs,  The name cranberry of course refers to  the fact that cranes inhabit marshes and may eat the berries.
   To make nomenclature even more confusing, many authorities consider highbush cranberry a variety of the Eurasian species, and have named it Viburnum opulous var. americanum.  It is a visually ubiquitous species in the northern native landscape when in bloom, and once one recognizes it, one will see it everywhere, on woods edges, in the woods understory, roadsides, etc.  The clusters of red fruit also stand out, particularly in the winter landscape.
   Highbush cranberry is a large shrub native to much of southern Canada, New England and the Lake States.  The compound flowers are large, with an outer ring of showy white,  sterile ray flowers.  The misnamed "cranberry" fruits ripen deep cherry red in October and can remain on the shrub all winter, until the next spring's flowers appear.  The berries are edible but very astringent, thus the "cranberry" description.  Although too tart to eat out of hand, they are excellent in preserves.  They also provide  late winter food for birds. Cranberries and their juice are important in herbal and standard medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections, due to their high acidity.
   Highbush cranberry, also called American cranberry, is an excellent shrub for landscape use, particularly in the larger yard and for naturalizing.  It does not spread as aggressively as many shrubs, has excellent floral interest and fall leaf color, and abundant, highly decorative fruit that attracts birds in late winter.
   My reeorded blooming dates for highbush cranberry are: 6/12/15; 6/12/15; 6/29/14; 5/26/12.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

BAYFIELD EMERGENCY SERVICES OPEN HOUSE

ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE

SEVERAL PUMPERS
AMBULNCE
DITTO

FIRE HALL AND GARAGE
Sunday, 9:00 AM.  61 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind NNE, breezy with stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 91%.  It is raining again after better than a half inch fell last night, and it looks like it will be a drippy day.  The barometer is beginning to rise, but the week ahead is predicted to have mixed skies with chances of rain, and high temperatures in the mid-60's.  A cool and damp spring is turning into a cool and damp early summer, which has pretty much guaranteed the success of the big rock garden job we planted a month ago.
   Yesterday we attended the annual Bafield Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service open house. We took a close look at all the equipment, which was polished to perfection, talked with volunteer firemen and EMTs, and ate gourmet firehouse food prepared by, who else, the firemen.
   Bayfield's firemen and EMTs are an all volunteer force, highly trained and on call 24/7.
They raise money to supplement the city equipment budget with an annual raffle and other events.  Area fire departments and ambulance services cooperate in combating major fires and in other emergencies, and and a helicopter service is on call for emergency flights to Duluth hospitals.
   We have lived in communities with both paid and volunteer emergency services, and find them about equal in effectiveness.  It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain volunteer services  because of declining rural and small town populations, and one way to compensate for that factor is for communities to pay a standby and per-emergency stipend, which helps young people with seasonal or low income regular jobs to stay in the community, and is still far less of a tax burden than hiring full time personnel.
   The city of Ashland has a large enough population to support full time emergency services, but surrounding communities and the Indian reservations must rely on volunteers.
  A not-so-subtle threat to volunteerism in general is over-the-top licensing and education requirements by state and federal agencies that can make it nearly impossible to recruit and train volunteers.  I am told that volunteer or deputized citizen help is no longer possible for small police departments for exactly that reason.
   The perfect should never become the enemy of the good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LUPINES

LUPINES ON HWY. J...
...DISPLAY THEIR FULL COLOR PALETTE...

....DITTO

Saturday, 8:30 AM.  61 degrees F at the ferry dock, 61 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm, the humidity 87%.  The sky is cloud covered and overcast, but the sun is knocking at the door.  The barometer has bottomed out, at 29.57" and steady.  The weather for the week ahead is predicted to be cool (highs around 60) and rainy.
   The continuing road construction on Hwy 12 south of Bayfield necessitates a long detour on Hwy. J, but presents an opportunity to see some exceptional patches of lupines, which should be blooming for several more weeks, thanks to the cool, damp weather ahead.
  Lupines do not keep in a vase worth a darn, so they are best left to bloom undisturbed, and for others to enjoy as well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

GIRDLING ROOTS

A GIRDLING ROOT...

ABOUT FIVE FIVE FEET FROM THE TRUNK...

OF THIS FIFTEEN YEAR OLD 'AUTUMN BLAZE' MAPLE...

...A HYBRID MAPLE NOTED FOR ITS FALL COLOR
Friday, 8:00 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm with very light gusts.  The sky is clear with some haze, the humidity 88%.  The barometer is falling gently, predicting a rainy weekend.  High temperatures today will be in the mid seventies, then will drop to highs in the low sixties for the weekend. The prediction for next week is for cool temperatures, with mixed skies and chances of rain.
   Girdling roots can occur on any plant, and can be very damaging depending upon their location.  They are the result of a lateral root or roots "taking a wrong turn" and wrapping around another root or a portion of the trunk or stem of the plant.  The diversion from lateral is most often caused by being kept in a pot too long, or some injury, or perhaps hitting a rock or other obstruction.
   Roughing up the twisted roots of a plant that has been kept in a pot too long,  or scarring them with a sharp knife, is a typical procedure when planting or transplanting everything from annuals to large trees, and the prevention of girdling roots is the main reason for removing wire baskets from large trees when they come from the nursery.
   Girdling roots can greatly damage or even kill trees, sometimes years after transplanting.  In this case the girdling root will probably not really damage the tree, but its strangling effect on the larger root is quite obvious, and it is a good example of the problem.  If this girdling root were in a spot where I considered it might be really harmful I would remove it with a hammer and sharp chisel.  If left too long, a girdling root will graft to its victim and be impossible to remove without doing damage.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PAGODA DOGWOOD IS BLOOMING

ALTERNATE BRANCHING HABIT OF PAGODA DOGWOOD


PAGODA DOGWOOD FLOWER UMBELS

Thursday, 8:30 AM.  51 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind N, calm at present.  The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 93%.  The barometer is dropping gently, now at 29.73", predicting rain and cooler weather for the weekend and into the next week.  Today and tomorrow should be nice, with highs in the mid-seventies.
   The pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, in the Dogwood Family, is blooming now.  It is an unusual shrub in the landscape, its strongly alternate  branching habit giving it a rather distinctive Oriental appearance.  It is also the only species of Cornus that has alternate leaves and branches.    Native to deciduous and mixed woodlands of eastern North America but rare in the South, it is quite beautiful in the landscape but I find it finicky to transplant and establish, and it has a tendency to develop a branch blight that can be disfiguring, if not fatal.  Use it, but with the anticipation that it may be problematic.
OFF THE CUFF
Defining the Term "Resistance"
   Our neighboring community to the south, Washburn, Wisconsin, is an ultra-liberal community that often stages political protests that I find upsetting, and has political signs that I consider over-the-top and distasteful, but that's  all their right to do so.  
   However, in the wake of the shooting of Republican congressmen and staffers in Washington yesterday, I became incensed enough to complain to the City Administrator and the Chamber of Commerce that I no longer felt welcome in their community and would no longer shop there until some signs came down (we spend at least $6,000 a year at the IGA and several restaurants).  I got a big run around and I am sure things will not change, but so be it.
   One home owner, right on Hwy. 13, has continually erected vile effigies of the Governor and the President, although they have recently been replaced by a very prominent sign that says "Resist".
   Nothing wrong with that? I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It equates resistance to fictional misdeeds and political policies with the resistance movements in Europe by patriots willing to die in their opposition to the Nazis during WWII.  
   When I was in High School in the early 50's, after the war, I became friends with a boy who had recently immigrated from Austria.  His family had been a member of the resistance, at great peril to their lives.  His father, a rather meek little man with thick glasses, had constructed a short wave radio with which he informed the Allies of German troop movements in the mountains on the Swiss border in the Ost Tyrol.  They hid the radio in the hayloft of their barn.  The Germans often came looking for it.  Had they found it, the whole family would have been summarily shot,  
   That was "resistance."  What the left now calls resistance is only childish, but very damaging, obstructionism.   Quite unsettling, after seeing our congressional representatives lie bleeding, of all places, on a baseball field.  
   Let's take down the signs, and reduce the rhetoric.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SMOUNTAIN MAPLE IS BLOOMING



MOUNTAIN MAPLE, SPRING FLOWERS...

...AUTUMN LEAF COLOR...

...DITTO...

...DITTO





.,SPIKE OF TINY YELLOW FLOWERS...



Wednesday, 9:00 AM.  53 degrees F at the ferry dock, 55 on the back proch, the descrepancy the result of the  ENE wind, calm with light gusts, bringing cold air off the lake. The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 88%.  The barometer is falling, predicting mixed skies with rain and thunderstorms for the balance of the week.  We had a short but fierce rainstorm yesterday afternoon. Peonies and lilies are just beginning to bloom in the garden, along with the tall iris.
   One of my favorite, and underused, native shrubs is mountain maple, Acer spicatum, in the Maple Family.  It is blossoming right on time.
   It is a tree of  northeastern North America, from far northern Canada to the Lake States and New England,  and south at elevation in the Appalachian Mountains.  It is an understory shrub or small tree to twenty feet or so, growing in the rich soils of moist woods along stream beds and rocky outcroppings.
   It has the opposite leaves and branches typical of maples, and a three-lobed, toothed leaf.  It bears interesting yellow flower spikes in spring, followed by colorful, red-winged seeds.  The fall leaf color is a brilliant red to orange, which  lights up the fall woods like a jack-o-lantern.
   It is little used in landscaping and is not often available from nurseries, which is truly a shame, as it is a very interesting and attractive plant to use in the the native or naturalized landscape.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL IS BLOOMING

                             

FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL...

...GROWING AS A GROUND COVER IN A LOCAL WOODS
BUDDY ADDED FOR SCALE

Tuesday, 9:15 AM.  62 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch; seldom are both the same reading,  Wind NE, mostly calm with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 68%.  The barometer is steady for now, at 30.00".  Today's high temperatures will be around 60, then will rise to the mid-seventies tomorrow, with a falling barometer, mixed skies and chances of rain for the balance of the week;  but, this is a very fine morning.
   False Solomon's seal is blooming.  My recorded blooming dates are: 6/09/16; 5/27/15; 6/14/14; 6/20/13; 6/05/12; 6/11/11; 5/26/10; 6/17/09; 6/07/08.  First bloom can vary by at least several weeks, depending upon whether it is an early or late spring.
   False Solomon's seal, Smilacina racemosa, in the Lily Family, is a widespread plant native to every state in the US except Hawaii.  Its creamy white flowers are, as the species name implies, borne in terminal racemes (they have a rather pungent, earthy odor), and are followed by edible berries that turn from a spotted orange to bright red when fully ripe in September.  The berries have a rather pleasant taste and I think would make good preserves (seems to me I had some a few years back), and for the first time I found plants  last year in great enough numbers in a large colony that it would be feasible to do so (I have eaten them with no ill effect, but don't you  do so without further investigation). Bears like them as well.   En mass they are nearly as beautiful and effective as a woods full of trillium.  This patch is located in the woods at the top of Old Military Road.
   The true Solomon's seals,  several species in the genus Polygonatum,  have flowers and berries in pairs along the stem at each leaf node.
   I walk up Old Military Road several mornings each week.  The  colony of false Solomon's seal is at least a quarter of an acre in size, and I never noticed it until last spring.  It is amazing the things we often don't see in our own back yard, and how rich our every day environment really is, if we only open our eyes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

THUNDERHEAD

THUNDERHEAD  SATURDAY EVENING
...AT SUNSET...
...AT DUSK
 Monday, 7:45 AM.  67 degrees F at the ferry dock, 64 on the back porch.  Wind NNW, calm with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 77%.  The barometer is rising, now at 29.82".  The week ahead will have high temperatures in the 60's to mid-70's, with mixed skies and chances of thunderstorms.
   Saturday's weather, as previously reported, was quite threatening, but the wind died down in the late afternoon, and as the temperature dropped and the sky cleared, this high, lazy thunderhead drifted over Madeline Island.  As evening approached it changed from white to dusky orange, a rather dramatic transformation.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

HAWTHORNS AND THOUGHT CRIMES

WASHINGTON HAWTHORN...

...PANICLE OF FLOWERS

'PAUL'S SCARLET' HAWTHORN...

...ROSE-LIKE FLOWERS
Sunday, 9:00 AM,  69 degrees F at the ferry dock, 67 on the back porch.  Wind variable, calm.  The sky is mostly cloudy, the humidity 61%.  The barometer is dropping, now at 29.73."  A dthunderstorm is predicdted for today along with highs in the 70's.  Next week will have highs in the 60's and 70's and mixed skies with chances of thunderstorms.  Yesterday was very hot, humid and windy, the atmosphere filled with blowing dust and pollen, which reflected greenish on the lake waters. To me it was a truly threatening tableaux, reminiscent of Nebraska tornado weather,
 Hawthorns are blooming, right about on time.  My recorded bloom times are: 6/20/15; 6/18/13; 6/25/12; 6/13/11; 6/08/10. The late spring is morphing into an on-time summer.
 Hawthorns (Crataegus species, in the Rose Family) are interesting and useful small trees, in nature found on the edge of woods and in fence rows.  Many are very floriferous and have attractive foliage and habit and can be used to good effect in the landscape.  They flower after  crabapples, so they provide a continuation of bloom.  Like crabapples, they bear attractive, small, apple-like fruit that can be quite decorative and are valuable wildlife food (edible but bland and meally). 
   Unfortunately, they have some drawbacks.  Most are extremely thorny, some downright dangerously so.  As a young man digging hawthorns by hand in the nursery I hated them, as there was no way to handle them without ending up looking like I had had and encounter with a wildcat. Nowadays equipment takes care of most of the digging, but the thorns of many species and varieties pose a danger to maintenance workers, pedestrians and children.  Also, most hawthorns have a very wide branching habit, making them unfit as street trees.
   Pictured are two hawthorns which have no or few thorns, beautiful flowers, and a good landscape habit.  The white-flowered hawthorn is Crataegus phanopyrum, the Washington thorn, which has glossy green leaves that are reddish in color when emerging, and red to maroon in the fall.  It is resistant to fireblight, a disease which can disfigure and even kill hawthorns, crabapples, apples and other members of the rose family.  It is also the last of the hawthorns to bloom, the flowers lasting as long as two weeks.  Some people find the scent of hawthorn flowers very malodorous, although I don't find it objectionable.
   The 'Paul's Scarlet' hawthorn is a selection of the English hawthorn, Crataegus laevigita.  Its double petalled flowers are very beautiful, looking very much like roses.  It also has an upright habit, making it quite usable in the landscape.  Unfortunately, this hawthorn, which was once very popular, is usually very susceptible to fireblight.  The one pictured, located in a Bayfield park, has not been infected with fireblight.  Unfortunately, I do not know if this individual tree has a natural immunity, or has simply not been infected.
   Some hawthorns are very good for landscape use, some bad.  And then there are some, like the cockspur hawthorn, with its 3," sharp thorns, which although beautiful on the edge of a woods, is just plain ugly to be around.
   Hawthorns: call them the good, the bad and the ugly.
OFF THE CUFF
   The conditions of George Orwell's classic  novel, 1984, about the oppression of the dictatorial state, are fast developing in America, albeit a few decades later than predicted.   We are now well into the era of the "Thought Crime."
  Two cases in point: leftist Senator Bernie Sanders, while interrogating a candidate for a sub-cabinet post, assailed him for his Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation.  Now, Christians in general believe this to one degree or another, depending upon their denomination, but it is overall a basic tenet of the faith.  During a heated question and answer period Sanders stated that one could not be a fair and good civil servant while holding such a belief.  The poor man was indeed accused of a thought crime, and the media went on to judge him guilty.  So I guess it's no Christians in the government anymore if Bernie has his way, despite the fact that traditional Jews consider themselves God's chosen people, and Muslims believe infidels fair game.
   Second case: ex FBI Director Comey, also testifying before a Senate committee, stated that he leaked information about the President and the Administration because he thought that the president might lie.  So the President has been convicted  in the media of perjury, without a trial or any evidence whatsoever, on the basis of what someone, himself of very questionable character,  thought.
   We are nothing without our thoughts, good bad or indifferent.  When others; the media,  the opposition party, or the dictatorial state, control or punish us for our thoughts, we struggle to exist.
   The next step in this progression will be the "Thought Police."  And ultimately,  "re-education" in the torture chamber.