Natural History Notes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wild Plum

They are unholy who are born
To love wild plum at night,
Who once have passed it on a road
Glimmering and white.

It is as though the darkness had
Speech of silver words,
Or as though a cloud of stars
Perched like ghostly birds.

They are unpitied from their birth
And homeless in men's sight,
Who love, better than the earth,
Wild plum at night.

Orrick Johns, in The New Poetry: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Verse in English. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1923

(OK, truthful admission here, the photo was taken last Saturday in the daytime; the night-time effect is compliments of Adobe. But my admiration for the poem, and for the effect of wild plum in the moonlight, is unchanged. And the scent! the poet didn't mention the scent!
If any flowers remain tomorrow after the winds of tonight's cold front blow through, and if it isn't cloudy and rainy, I may try for a night-time photograph. Too bad I didn't think of it sooner, during the last few balmy clear full-moon nights.)

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

rain coming???

Sunday morning — another clear, breezy day, heading for almost 80°. But the weather-guy now says we might get showers tomorrow or the next day, and Wednesday when the cold front comes in, he has upped the chances to 50%. Also lowered the forecast temperature to 50° or even the forties for daytime, with a couple of nights in the mid-thirties. Maybe I won't take the plants back out yet after all. Crossing fingers for rain! So far we have had a grand total of an inch and a half for the whole year.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

more chiefs than indians

Wearing my hat as one of the publicity committee photographers, I accompanied a city Parks/Rec-sponsored walk at Cross Timbers park. For the city, the staffer for such activities (I forget her name). For the public, four Brownies and their troop leader. For the naturalists, Dorothy Thetford, Dave Rowley, Marilyn Blanton, Joe Bain, Joanna Fellows and her husband, me, and I think a couple more I have forgotten. [edit - Sharon Barr, Tracy Durmick from city, and the woman who joined us midway.]

We saw several redbuds, just starting to bloom. The mexican plums are glorious! And the scent — aaaaahh! Also a real infestation of privet, which we pointed out and explained too. For herbaceous wildflowers, there were Antennaria (pussytoes) up near the lake.

Since I was last at the park, they have added a wonderful steep, dirt section up to the Lake Forest lake. You can hike one-way now from Hickory Creek Road to Lake Forest Park and the dog park, off of Ryan Road. I especially am glad they have a section of one-person-wide dirt trail, as opposed to the gravel "road" of the main trail.

We all got pretty good exercise; the total distance was something between 1.5 and 1.7 miles. Just about the longest the little girls were up to. Me, too. Really got to get in better shape!

So, a nice morning. Cloudy, temperature in the 70s, pretty breezy. Good company, and! two more hours for my service record. (Plus another hour, conservatively figured, for labelling, exporting, getting disc to Dorothy, etc. Dorothy called to say how much she liked the one I managed to send her online.)

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Friday, March 06, 2009

in like a lion ...

Well, the first couple of nights of March were fairly lion-ish, and since then we have also had some fairly ferocious winds, but the temperature has become positively lamb-ly. Although it is rapidly growing up to a full-sized sheep, all hot and smelly. 87° yesterday was more spring than most people wanted. We are promised a cold front next week, and I sincerely hope it is a 40° front, and not a 20° arctic special.

The daffodils have mostly done their thing. The early ones got frost-nipped, and the later ones were fairly rapidly shriveled up by the hot dry wind. No rain to speak of for weeks, sigh. The redbuds are beginning, and the Chickasaw plum thicket at the Ridge is a billow of off-white specks.

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