Buckeye lashes

Let me explain.

When I posted a photo of buckeye capsules at Music Row, I mentioned that they would dry and split, and that the outer hull would look like a buck’s upper and lower eyelid. The seed inside would be the eye: the Buck-Eye.
Nancy, who has known me since 6th grade, wrote, “I want to see the eyelids when they open!” 

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September + elm

Today I learned not to start a sidewalk conversation with “Is this your tree?”

Because the nice lady who was walking towards her tree, and who I’ve seen in the neighborhood for over 25 years, but who I’ve never spoken to until now, answered my question with an alarmed, “WHY? WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT?”

From which the conversation could not recover. My lack of social skills and her lack of hearing proved to be unbeatable obstacles.

Nothing is wrong with it,” I said, and then said again, louder.

Continue reading “September + elm”

Secret Sidewalk pollinator garden

The Secret Sidewalk in our neighborhood is no secret, but its pollinator garden might be.

Tucked along half of a single block is an “Accidental Pollinator Garden:” a glorious border of native wildflowers. It’s a pleasure to walk past. But though beautiful for humans, it is a lifesaver for animals. It is habitat. Nectar and pollen feed countless bees, butterflies, and other invertebrates, while birds and small mammals eat the seeds.
Compare this bounty to one of the manicured, mown, blown, “treated”, mosquito-Joe-d, 100% turfgrass lawns nearby.

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The Wrong Acorns

[or, “How are Acorns Like Pizza?”]

On the sidewalk was a mystery. The evidence? The wrong acorns.

Neighborhood Black oaks are raining acorns onto the sidewalk. Normal, right? But each acorn has been bitten by a squirrel—just a mouthful taken from the top—and then discarded. For years I’ve wondered at this: not just at the extravagance of the waste, but at the species of acorn. It was the wrong one.

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Lunch guest

[kitchen table show ‘n’ tell]

Today during Lovingly Prepared Lunch #168 (in the Age of Coronavirus), a chubby caterpillar was discovered crawling up my kid’s T-shirt.

And my kid, who discovered it (“What is THAT?”) then suggested I clear the table *before* the next Lovingly Prepared Lunch.

At every meal, I scoot acorns and plants and whatnot out of the way, to make room for Blue Willow china, so I figured we were okay supping among seasonal treasures. But we all have our limits. His limit was a larva during Baked tofu.

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Backyard Bats

Image 6-15-20 at 5.11 PM
photo from @Stonecrop.Review on Instagram, link below

I’ve got a short piece about backyard bats in the “Sky” issue of Stonecrop Review: “a journal of urban nature writing, art & photography.” The essay is called “Same Bat Time.”

And dayeinu—this would have been enough—but Holly McKelvy, one of the editors, made artwork for my essay and matched the tone perfectly perfect. Continue reading “Backyard Bats”

Carpenter bee board

Google “Carpenter bees,” and the Internet will assume you forgot to type “how to kill.” It will provide endless hits on endless ways to poison, trap, starve, drown, squish, and otherwise kill Carpenter bees.

Confession: I’ve tried them all.

That was BEFORE naturalist training, and before years of looking around at the goings-on in my own yard. Continue reading “Carpenter bee board”

Eat the Exotics: vine honeysuckle

There were mean dogs near the vine honeysuckle, so I grabbed an order To-Go.

Honeysuckle vine is invasive. It’s an undisputed thug. It forms dense canopies that smother, shade, strangle, and poison our native habitat. It’s a top-tier offender at local Weed Wrangles.

I love it.

I love the scent. Especially at dusk when cool air trickles through the yard and floats the fragrance with it.
I love the taste. To pull a bloom and lick the nectar is to lick the spring. Continue reading “Eat the Exotics: vine honeysuckle”