First Red-winged blackbird of spring

I saw a lone red-winged blackbird in Forest Park this morning, in the cattails by Jefferson Lake. He is early. Perhaps there are others with him- will need to watch this next week. We are in that uncomfortable neither winter-nor-spring period when snow gives way to freezing rain, to rain, to 70 degree days, back to 10-degree days. But there are daffodil and tulip bulbs peeking out of the ground, and our witch-hazel is blooming, almost. And a Carolina wren has been around lately.

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Arboretum, January 6, 2019

Last year this time the temperature was in the single digits. Today it was 60 degrees and the wildflowers on the south-facing bluff at the arboretum were coming up under the leaves, insects were hatching.

Spent witch hazel blossoms by Mary Isabelle’s grave (Hamamelis virginiana)
Beech forest (Fagus grandifolia)
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Full Moon, 12/22/2018 (day after solstice)

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Thanksgiving and Forest Park Eagle

Time is flying by- it’s true what they say, it goes faster when you get older. Thanksgiving at Liz and Chuck’s house was memorable, not least because Chuck shot a deer on Thanksgiving morning, of all times, and so Dennis and Dent helped to butcher it while Liz and I prepared the usual feast. Now they have a rooster named Ted who just happened upon their house and has set up shop with them. He crows in the mornings so it’s good they are early risers.

I hate the news and all our national dysfunction but can’t keep away from it. So to counteract the angst we take walks in the park; I say “we”, Dennis goes with me but he does not suffer from a news affliction like I do, he mostly stays away from it, reading instead more soul-satisfying stuff like The Psychoanalysis of Fire by Gaston Bachelard. So we keep each other informed.

Our holidays are quiet. The office is even quiet now, most folks having gone to join family, or out to buy presents. We just stay home, have a friend or two over, walk in the woods, eat chili or spaghetti or whatever we feel like fixing. But to all, a blessed holiday with family and friends!

This is the eagle who has been frequenting Forest Park. I have seen him 2-3 times a week, in the mornings, sitting in this cottonwood tree at the base of Art Hill.
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Full moon, November 2018

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Fall beauty-

Ah- sweet respite from the news. We took a walk at the arboretum today. I do so love the fall smells and colors, and the wind blew all the hateful news out of my head for awhile. We saw a pileated woodpecker, buzzards (whom I thought would’ve migrated back already), finches, sparrows. In our back yard are finches, nuthatches, little woodpeckers, those stripey-headed sparrows, goldfinches and warblers migrating through. We even had 2 black swallowtail caterpillars in October, eating the parsley that grew back after the last batch of their kind had eaten it, but they disappeared- we think the paper wasps who have a nest in the garage door recruited them to feed their queen larvae through the winter. Who needs spooky Halloween movies when you can just look at the life cycle of insects. 

Solomon’s seal
Beauty Berry
Baptisia seed pods
Cricket on Rattlesnake Master
Beech bud
Beech seed pod
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Full Moon, October 24, 2018

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