Dear readers: I inadvertently posted right after Town Mouse had put up a new post on Colorado wildflowers - it happens with co-bloggers now and then I guess - so please do read her post which you can scroll to right after this one. Silver lining - It's interesting to compare the drama of Colorado with the quiet pleasures of rural Minnesota. - CM.
We just got back from a visit to Wood Rat's family in the gently undulating countryside of central Minnesota. Thanks to the generosity of Rat's family, we stayed at a wonderful lakeside house nestled in the woods.
One sunny morning, armored with mosquito spray and sunscreen, I took a walk nearby. Just as English hedgerows are full of flowers, so were the edges of these fields of corn - a bumper crop is expected this year because of all the rain. Rat's brother accompanied me on the first part of the walk and told me a few names - others maybe readers can help with.
So, hot on the heels of Town Mouse's wonderful post on Colorado wild flowers, here are a few mystery items from Minnesota. Some of these may be weeds or garden escapees - I don't know.
I guess it wouldn't be so bad to move to another wilderness area; learning the local flora and fauna is much like picking up a new language, and the pleasure of enjoying nature is the same.
Goldenrod is everywhere in abundance:
And milkweed -
Complete with monarch butterflies!
There were many of these little yellow butterflies too.
And other bugs maybe less popular
Perhaps popular enough with these swallows or martins - not sure which - that gathered on the wires.
We also saw strange flying cicada things - squat and ugly on the ground but with yellow and brown wings in flight. I didn't catch a good photo of them.
A very striking and widespread shrub is the sumac, which is in the Rhus family, like poison oak and poison ivy.
I read that the purple-red spikes are ground up for spice in the middle east, and have many traditional uses.
I was never quite sure which plant was poison ivy. I think this is it?
I walked past this small pond, fringed with bullrushes.
A wide area nearby was also totally covered with bullrushes. Here's a closeup:
Another frequent flower was this yellow daisy:
Here's another yellow flower that was growing in very moist spots. It reminded me of our seep monkey flower.
It was so green and lush there - ferns mixed with flowers in moist areas:
And fields of mowed hay between the cornfields:
I don't know what this is - it reminds me of a local weed here. But I just loved the shape of the flower.
I saw various mystery flowers that were pink. Here's one:
And here's another. This one occurred in drifts along the roadside:
Here's another pink flower:
There were quite a few white flowers. Here are some pretty daisies:
And here's a bushy one:
Then it was back to the pretty woodland lane leading to the lakeside house.
The trees were tremendous and varied. Rat's brother said they have black oak, white oak, red oak, and pin oak. Here is one of those, I know not which.
Here are the leaves:
There are also Jack pines, elms, ash, birch and aspen, which Rat's brother called "popple" - a name I understand can be a local name for either poplar or aspen. Here is a nice clump of birch trees:
And a "popple":
It was just gorgeous. Would you like to move there?
Remember, though, these two words: Mosquitoes. Winter. Winter is very cold and lasts seven long months. And I'm still itching where the mozzies found chinks in my spray-on armor!