City of [Sandhill] Cranes

wheeling out above the neighbor’s elm . . . 

I walked out into the usual construction noise, but threading through Next Door’s pneumatic nailers and skilsaws came a new sound: softer, sorta familiar, and somehow very, very important. A rolling, repetitive, ratcheting trill . . . a cross between a toad and a fanbelt? Continue reading “City of [Sandhill] Cranes”

DIY Invasive Plant Decor


Last week, my family hosted a simcha—a festive life-cycle event—and fed 160 well-wishers inside a Social Hall not known for its beauty.

“You’ll need something on the tables,” warned a friend the week before.
“Where are the centerpieces?” asked the man who arranged the tables. Continue reading “DIY Invasive Plant Decor”

Native Puzzler

I saw the puzzle at a used book sale. My kids are old, I am old, I don’t work at a school anymore, but I really, really wanted that preschool puzzle.

First, I showed it to my Middle Schooler. “Please tell me not to buy this gorgeous puzzle from 1975.” 

“Put it back,” he said, putting it back.

Then, I texted a photo to my friend Taunia, and added the same (disingenuous) demand: “Please tell me not to buy this gorgeous puzzle from 1975.”

And Taunia answered, “How could you NOT!?” Continue reading “Native Puzzler”

Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye

buckeye capsule
Bottlebrush buckeye capsule

“Bottlebrush buckeye!” I yelled on the sidewalk, but not super loud, so I wouldn’t embarrass the middle-schooler with me. 

“Hmm,” said the middle-schooler. “I thought it was a ball in a sack.”

We were both right. All buckeye seeds hang in a ball in a sack.  Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye”

Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds

lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata)

Lyre-leaf sage. Isn’t it a pretty name? And a pretty flower? But this is another of those “weeds” people poison and mow and pluck out of precious lawn grass. Lyre-leaf sage is native, it spreads by seed, it can make a lovely groundcover (a good native alternative to Ajuga / Bugle), and I just this minute learned it is an excellent nectar plant for hummingbirds. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds”