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Friday, June 30, 2017



Friday, 8:30 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock, 51 on the back porch.  Wind NW, light with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is overcast and it rained some again last night. The humidity is 89% and the barometer is steady, at 29.8".  The week ahead is predicted to have highs in the mid 60's to 70, with clearing skies and drier conditions.
   As summer progresses and the weather warms there are more oranges,  reds and yellows  in natures palette, among them orange hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum, in the Sunflower Family.  It  has orange to yellow flowers that grow on about a 6" stalk from a flattened rosette of fuzzy leaves.  It is very pretty along the roadside or in an unkempt lawn.  It can be considered a lawn and garden weed I suppose, but it is really only abundant in nutrient deficient, sandy soil.  There are about a dozen different introduced species, this one common in the north.  The ancient Greeks gave the genus its name, as they thought hawks fed on the plants to aid their eyesight.  The genus name is Greek for hawk, and the species name refers to vision.
   Many of the hawkweeds (there are many species) were used in the Middle Ages for diseases of the lungs, such as whooping cough, and for other ailments.
   My recorded blooming dates for orange hawkweed are: 6/22/15; 6/23/14; 6/25/11; 6/22/09.  This year it seems they are blooming right on time.
   Many of our roadside "wildflowers" are immigrants from Europe and Asia that hitched a ride to our shores along with agricultural seeds.  Should they be granted permanent resident status, issued a green card, or be granted full citizenship?  You decide; for myself, I find them mostly innocuous, and much too numerous and tenacious to eradicate. The ecological purists will continue their futile battles, despite all the confusion and costs.
   Orange and red are also the flashing colors of the red winged blackbirds nesting and proclaiming their territory in the marsh at the beach.  Get too close and you will get dive bombed.

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